Ola ties up with Microsoft for connected car platform
Bhavish Aggarwal & Satya Nadella

Homegrown cab-hailing firm Ola has partnered tech giant Microsoft to build a connected vehicle platform for car manufacturers worldwide, a company statement said.

As part of this strategic partnership, Microsoft will be a preferred cloud provider and the taxi-hailing company will use Microsoft Azure to power its existing connected car platform, Ola Play.

“This will transform driver and passenger experience with vehicle diagnostics, improved in-car productivity, advanced navigation, predictive maintenance of vehicles and more,” the statement added.

Besides, Ola Play customers will be able to use productivity tools such as Office 365 and Skype for Business as well as voice-assisted controls built using Microsoft Cognitive Services and Bot framework during their rides.

“Today’s car is quickly becoming the ultimate computing device and together with Ola, we’re focused on providing more intelligent, connected and productive experiences to our customers,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who is currently visiting India.

“The combination of Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and our artificial intelligence platform with Ola Play will deliver new customer experiences and business opportunities across the automotive ecosystem,” Nadella added.

Ola said the advanced telematics platform will transform the car into a high-performing, intelligent vehicle, and enable smarter navigation and predict breakdowns.

“With Ola Play, we have already set the tone for connected vehicles in India; together with Microsoft, we can make the new platform available to a larger, global audience,” Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of Ola, said.

Media reports had said in July that Microsoft was likely to invest $50-100 million for a minority stake in ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd-run Ola. And, as part of the deal, Ola could switch its cloud platform from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to Microsoft’s Azure.

Microsoft is locked in a fight for supremacy in India’s cloud market with Google, IBM and AWS, which enjoys a significant lead over others. In February, Microsoft and e-tailer Flipkart had announced a broad collaboration under which the latter agreed to use Azure as its exclusive cloud platform.

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