As 2017 arrives, it seems like car interiors — especially those found inside luxury models — are looking more and more like classy offices instead of common cabins. Therefore, is it really surprising that Skype is finally going to arrive in the automotive world. Who else better to pioneer this venture? None other than Volvo, still one of the leading manufacturers when it comes to technology, safety, and luxury. Skype won’t be arriving until the new 90 Series range of cars is released, and it’s actually going to be Microsoft’s Skype for Business app making an entrance — not strictly the entire Skype suite. This latest connectivity enhancement is designed for those who want to stay productive, even when behind the wheel.
I know what you’re thinking: “Great, just another way for people to get distracted while driving.” I was inclined to think that way as well, but after seeing how it’s going to work, I don’t think it will be a distraction at all.
Skype for Business App
Why won’t Skype for Business prove itself a distraction? Well, like it or not, if you’re part of the business world, then you’ve already had conference calls in the car on your phone. You end up constantly checking the time, and when it’s time to hop on that call, you have most-likely fumbled or dropped your phone, and then forgotten the pin code to join. The worst part? Your attention is all focused around your phone, not the road.
The Skype for Business App is actually meant to take away all these hassles. Motorists in the 90 Series vehicles will be able to view upcoming meetings and their participants, and then join the call with a click via the large central display found in the car. No phone fumbling, no pins to enter, and no hassle. Just a click, and you’re on the conference call.
Adding an app like this makes sense, considering the dawn of autonomous vehicles is on the horizon. When humans let the robots take over the streets, driving will become a thing of the past. In that case, the car will truly be a mobile office. So, no wonder there has been a surge of business-oriented apps on the market lately. Automakers want to make sure the next battleground for applications will be waged in cars, not on cell phones.
Volvo adding Skype to its arsenal is a smart move, and will surely help set the brand apart in the upcoming year. But, Volvo has also talked to Microsoft about potentially using Cortana.
Volvo is Discussing Cortana Inclusion, Too
The purpose of Cortana will be simple: add voice recognition and contextual insights to help predict the needs of drivers. There will be a cloud-based infrastructure for the service that backs up all the requisite data.
This is also meant to be one of those flexible in-car productivity tools. Helping keep things running smooth in the cabin, and making your business life more convenient in the car, effectively reducing the time spent in the office.
While autonomous vehicles aren’t out yet, Cortana and Skype for Business will still make the lives of those driving easier. One click, and you’ll have hands-free access to that important business meeting. Whenever it is Cortana is made available (since Volvo is essentially just in the process of getting permission at this point) it will provide a whole new level of in-car convenience that we’ve never seen before.