Volvo has announced that Microsoft’s Skype for Business will be added to its 90 Series models: the XC90, V90, and S90. This marks the first time an automaker has implanted the software in a vehicle.
Though we’d have to survey people who consistently take conference calls in their cars to validate Volvo’s claims, the premium brand said Skype for Business is the most intuitive and safe way to conduct a meeting while sitting in traffic.
“We’ve all been there. Sitting in the car trying to join a conference call. You either fumble with or drop your phone while trying to connect, or you forget the long pin code to join. It’s not the best way to start an important call in the car. On top of all that your attention is not where it should be – on the road,” said Anders Tylman-Mikiewic, vice president of consumer connectivity services, at Volvo Car Group.
This sounds a bit like the setup for a bad infomercial, but Volvo wagers this scenario will strike a chord with its buyers. In upcoming 90 Series models, people will be able to view upcoming meetings and join with a single click on Volvo’s infotainment display.
“With the dawn of autonomous cars, we see a future where flexible in-car productivity tools will enable people to reduce time spent in the office,” added Tylman-Mikiwicz. “This is just the beginning of a completely new way of looking at how we spend time in the car.”
When our attention doesn’t need to be on the road, video chatting and full-scale in-car productivity will require the right connectivity tools. We just aren’t there yet.
Apart from Skype, Volvo and Microsoft are exploring the use of Cortana, the tech company’s personal assistant (akin to Apple’s Siri), to add improved voice recognition to Volvo cars. It will be interesting to see how Volvo maintains its edge as one of the safest automakers in the world, while improving in-car technology. If done right, the two goals should go hand in hand.