Microsoft has teamed up with Harman to bring Office 365 to the infotainment system of a car.
"Harman, the premier connected technologies company for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, announced a connected car collaboration with Microsoft Corp. at CES 2016," wrote Harman in an official press release. Geared towards increasing productivity in the car, the two companies "will integrate key elements of Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite capabilities into HARMAN infotainment systems." For users, this means having hands-on Office capabilities on a touchscreen while the car is in park, or using a number of hands-free features with Microsoft's Cortana while driving. The voice-activated commands can cover anything from "scheduling meetings, hearing and responding to emails, automatically joining conference calls without having to manually input the phone number and passcode, and seamlessly managing events and tasks throughout the day."
While all the craze recently has been investing in research for autonomous cars, Microsoft's partnership with Harman represents another form of technological integration in the auto industry. Currently, the biggest competitor also going down this road is Apple's CarPlay. Indeed, even tools for hands-free Cortana use sounds a bit like in-car Siri tools. But Microsoft and Harman are planning ahead, with functionality being developed for features like "Skype calls and conferences... on the road with autonomous vehicles." So far, neither company has set a ship date on any of the Microsoft-loaded infotainment systems, or mentioned specifically which manufacturers would be implementing the tech into their vehicles in the future.
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