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BMW switches on Connected

It’s on: BMW’s new Connected application is now live in Europe and will put ‘an end to arriving late’, according to the German car-maker.

Cloud-based data-sharing application turns BMWs into wheeled smartphones

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BMW logo4 Aug 2016

BMW has started rolling out its Connected digital mobility application to the first countries in Europe, connecting users’ smart devices to compatible BMW models via the internet.

ConnectedDrive will expand to offer a number of services in time, but for the launch, the system primarily focuses on ‘journey management’ using an Apple iPhone and a flexible platform called the Open Mobility Cloud to keep users on time for their various appointments.

The system combines information from the smartphone, vehicle information, behavioural monitoring and the latest road and traffic information to make being late a thing of the past, according to the German car-maker.

Once installed, the Connected application scans information regarding appointments in the user’s various calendars and scheduling tools, compares it to real-time traffic information and creates a travel plan.

“Time to leave” reminders are sent to the phone or smart watch depending on the prevailing traffic and weather conditions and once the user is in the car, the destination is automatically imported to the vehicle’s navigation system.

The driver is even given an option to send a text message to other attendees of the appointment or event, informing them of an arrival time.

Once the road trip is over, the Connected application continues to assist the user with Last Mile Navigation, which directs a pedestrian to the exact location of the destination on foot.

While BMW Australia is unable to forecast the roll-out of the Connected application locally, general manager of corporate communications Lenore Fletcher told GoAuto it was not a matter of if, but when.

“The majority of the innovations and applications that come out of our amazing head office in Munich do come to Australia, it really is just a matter of time,” she said.

“It’s dependant on the infrastructure and local regulations. As and when they become appropriate for the market, we will certainly bring them in.”

The Connected system has also incorporated the previously released Remote Services features, which allows activation of the vehicle’s climate control, locking and unlocking and headlight flashing functions when the owner is away from the vehicle.

In addition to the information stored in a users phone, the application uses location monitoring technology to identify regular trips in a user’s daily routine and automatically stores them as favourite Personal Learned Destinations.

Unlike other time management applications, BMW says the service is more like having a “mobility companion” or personal assistant to keep an eye on your various commitments and ensure you get to them on time.

BMW Group senior vice-president of Digital Services and Business Models Dieter May said Connected version one heralds a new era in which cars are heavily integrated into many aspects of daily life.

“Over the coming years, digitalisation is set to have a substantial impact on how we use our cars: digital services will emerge that connect us fully with our personal world, no matter whether we’re out on the road or at home,” he said.

“The car will be transformed into a smart device – intelligently connected, seamlessly integrated and perfectly tuned to the individual needs of each and every user. This is precisely what the first version of BMW Connected aspires to achieve.”

The system is based on Microsoft Azure data management software and will soon be rolled out to allow other device brands to support the Connected application, including Android devices.

In Europe, BMW Connected is now live in Germany, Austria, UK, Italy, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, Netherlands, Denmark, Czech Republic, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Republic of Ireland and Luxembourg, but other countries will be progressively added.

Beyond the initial features, BMW will develop the Connected service to offer more functions including connection to so-called ‘smart homes’ expanding the number of ways customers can use their time more efficiently.

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