12 Jan

IBM Heats Up Smart Vehicle Market with BMW Partnership

WRITTEN BY Rachel Gunter FEATURED IN Company News, Insights, & Analysis

Why IBM’s move with BMW should worry Ford

IBM (IBM) and BMW are collaborating to develop cars capable of not only driving themselves, but also adapting to the preferences of drivers to ensure comfort and safety on the road. The partnership between IBM and BMW is based on IBM’s cognitive computer technology, Watson. BMW engineers will work with their counterparts at the Watson Internet of Things global headquarters in Munich, Germany, to develop cognitive technologies that will improve driver assistant functions in BMW cars of the future.

For IBM, the deal with BMW is aimed at boosting its Strategic Imperatives segment, in which revenue expanded 16% in 3Q16 to $8 billion. IBM posted total revenue of $19.2 billion for the quarter, down 0.3% from a year earlier.

IBM Heats Up Smart Vehicle Market with BMW Partnership

Intelligent interface in BMW cars

Their work will focus on optimizing Watson to power intelligent conversational interface in BMW cars. The efforts should result in cars that can learn the needs and habits of passengers. Additionally, cars would be enabled to respond to drivers’ speech commands, while also being able to gather weather, traffic, and other data from them.

The IBM-BMW partnership has escalated competition in the connected vehicle space. To enable conversational interface in its vehicles, Ford Motor (F) has turned to Amazon’s (AMZN) Alexa, while its rival General Motors (GM) is using IBM’s Watson. Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz is using Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google Assistant.

Jostling for a slice of smart vehicle market

Traditional automakers and technology companies are racing to book a space in the smart vehicle market, which is expected to see explosive growth in the coming years. Besides IBM, other technology giants vying for a share of the market are BlackBerry (BBRY), Intel (INTC), and Qualcomm (QCOM).

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