Next time you Skype your boss, do it from your BMW.
Skype for Business users can now place or join conference calls from the driver's seat - so long as they own a BMW. Drivers will use the mounted display and their voice to navigate BMW's iDrive menu system and make calls. Skype calls will still be placed through your smartphone via a bluetooth connection, but the functionality is not quite yet live, as it will roll out in autumn 2017.
BMW was among the first car makers to offer Office 365 services in its vehicles, and now, with this latest feature, which will go live first in the UK, France, and Germany, drivers can essentially hold Skype meetings in their BMW through the car's built-in entertainment system. You can get notifications for meetings and dial-in without having to manually enter the conference number.
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BMW will also allow integration with calendars, contacts, and to-do lists from Microsoft’s Exchange service. Keep in mind BMW also revealed earlier this year that it plans to integrate Microsoft’s Cortana, as part of Microsoft’s Connected Vehicle vision, so that drivers can access the digital assistant through their dashboard screen and see their to-do lists, reminders, news, and more.
Here's what Microsoft had to say about the partnership:
"By adopting Microsoft’s Office suite of productivity tools, including Microsoft Exchange and Skype for Business, BMW will give its drivers a new way to securely and safely extend their daily digital lives across their homes, their cars and workplaces."
BMW clearly wants its customers to have their hands on the wheel when driving, but it's also catering to workaholics who are constantly on the go but need to stay connected to their office. Skype for Business users definitely fit that bill, as their version of Skype lets them add up to 250 people to online meetings as well as manage employee accounts.