CES 2016 has just kicked off and while many unveilings will center around consumer electronics like appliances, smart home products, and the occasional mobile device, not everything shown off will be hardware or hardware alone. As of today, HARMAN International which specializes in making infotainment systems for the automotive industry has announced a new partnership with Microsoft to bring productivity to the connected car. While the partnership between the two companies will see new mobile offerings available in the way of software, it will also see a handful of different functions become integrated with upcoming HARMAN systems that come from Microsoft’s Office 365 software.
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The idea of this partnership is to allow and assist drivers in continuing to be productive without compromising safety of the driver or others on the road with them. While many of us can probably say that we’ve been distracted at one point or another by our mobile devices while behind the wheel, this new partnership aims to help drivers who may already utilize Office 365 interact with productivity tasks and keep from being distracted so they can operate the vehicle safer. This is also a first time partnership for Microsoft in the connected car space, although this isn’t the first run with connected car technology that Microsoft has had.
Back at the end of June last year, Microsoft announced they would be playing a bigger role in the connected car market by powering the space with innovative cloud technologies. Earlier still, they also announced in March of 2015 that they would be working closer with Ford in the connected car market. Even Ford’s partnership that began last year was not the first between the auto company and the Redmond-based software giant, which displays that this new partnership with HARMAN is not Microsoft’s first rodeo. HARMAN have picked up a seasoned veteran in the connected car space when it comes to the software technology side of things. With this new technology available, drivers will be able to complete tasks like replying to emails after hearing them read out through the audio, as well as schedule meetings, joining conference calls, and mangaging tasks throughout the day.