Conference Call in Your Car: Volvo, Microsoft to Put Skype in Autos

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Volvo and Microsoft have struck a deal to put Skype conference call functionality inside select Volvo cars in an arrangement that Volvo says makes it the "first carmaker to launch such an in-car productivity tool."

The Skype for Business technology will be integrated into the large center dashboard display on new Volvo 90 Series cars, allowing drivers to view upcoming meetings and join calls with one click, Volvo stated in a press release today. The desktop version of Skype for Business allows for video conference calls. A Volvo spokesman said the automaker's version does not include video capability.

The deal is another example of how automakers are striking up partnerships with technology providers as they prepare for a future of autonomous driving.

"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. With the addition of Skype for Business all that goes away," Anders Tylman-Mikiewicz, VP-consumer connectivity services at Volvo Car Group, said in a statement.

Volvo also stated that its partnership with Microsoft also includes exploring future integrations with Cortana, Microsoft's intelligent personal assistant. The release did not spell out details other than to say that the intent is to add "seamless voice recognition and contextual insights to support peoples' daily lives by actively predicting their needs."

Ben Canning, director of product management for Sype for Business at Microsoft, stated: "Volvo Cars is leading the way in its recognition that the nature of work is increasingly mobile. People need to be productive from anywhere – including their cars."

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