BMW has been connecting driver and vehicle for more than 40 years lately under the name ConnectedDrive. Now, with the launch of BMW Connected, BMW is bringing out an all-encompassing app that provides a seamless services experience covering all aspects of personal mobility. Using a flexible platform called the Open Mobility Cloud as a basis, BMW Connected seamlessly integrates the vehicle into the user’s digital life via multiple touchpoints, such as an iPhone or Apple Watch. The first version of BMW Connected focuses first and foremost on journey management for the vehicle, featuring digital products and services designed to simplify the day-to day planning of driving routes and appointments. The aim of BMW Connected always being to get the user to their destination on time and stress-free.
BMW Connected as a personal digital assistant.
Once the user has set up a ConnectedDrive account and completed a short registration process, they can create their BMW Connected customer profile quickly and easily within the new app. From this moment, BMW Connected – which is initially being made available for Apple iPhone users – scans for any mobility-related information, such as the addresses and arrival times contained in calendar entries, and notifies the driver of the ideal departure time for arriving at their destination punctually on the basis of real-time traffic information. BMW Connected is also handy for transferring places and points of interest from other apps, storing them as a destination together with the desired arrival time, and then effortlessly importing them to the BMW in-car navigation system, allowing users to start guidance in the car with just one click. In the case of hybrid and BMW i models, relevant data such as the remaining range or battery charge can be retrieved remotely and factored into journey planning.
Putting an end to arriving late.
To ensure you arrive on time BMW Connected provides “time to leave” notifications, these are sent to the user’s smartphone or Apple Watch to let them know when they have to set off in order to arrive on time. To do this, the expected driving time is regularly compared with the prevailing traffic situation and this real time traffic information is provided where ever you are, so you can be notified of potential delays before entering your BMW to make sure you can still arrive on time.
The “Personal Learned Destinations” function recognises the places and locations that the user drives to regularly and automatically stores them as favourite destinations, which can be accessed with a single click whenever required. This is supplemented by BMW Connected’s ability to also recognise personal mobility patterns, such as the daily drive home from work and collecting your children from school on the way.
For example, if unusual traffic conditions would cause the user to arrive home late, for instance, BMW Connected takes action by alerting the user and suggesting the earlier departure time it has calculated for arriving home at the usual time. These functions together provide an easy and convenient way of planning the schedule for the day.
Destination entry in the navigation system with just one click.
The time-consuming manual input of destination addresses in the navigation system is set to become a thing of the past. Assuming that the destination address and desired arrival time have been set outside the vehicle using BMW Connected, the link between iPhone and car means this data is imported when the user climbs aboard. It is then promptly transferred to the BMW navigation system, allowing route guidance to be started to the suggested destination with just one click to accept. Once the journey has begun, a pre-worded SMS message containing the current arrival time can be sent straight from the vehicle to selected contacts, such as the people attending a meeting. A few clicks on the iDrive Controller is all it takes.
Why drive when you can walk?
Where users park their car is often not the journey’s end point. Cue “Last Mile Navigation”, which shows them the best way to get to their final destination on their mobile device, ensuring door to door guidance. Besides all this, the familiar BMW Remote Services have also been incorporated into BMW Connected, allowing a variety of functions – such as interior ventilation to be activated, vehicle locking and unlocking, and flashing the headlights to help locate the car – to be controlled remotely from a smartphone. The vehicle’s current location completes the information available to the user.
The basis for BMW Connected.
At the root of the BMW Connected concept is a flexible service architecture – the Open Mobility Cloud. This platform builds on Microsoft Azure and processes data and information from all sorts of different sources. With machine learning and data analysis capabilities also in its arsenal, it provides the basis for personalisation and context orientation of the BMW Connected services.
What the future holds for BMW Connected.
BMW Connected and the functions it comprises are subject to ongoing development and are constantly being adapted to customer requirements.
At the same time, the functions of existing BMW ConnectedDrive apps, such as MyBMW Remote and BMW Connected Classic, are being gradually transitioned to BMW Connected. The customer experience of every aspect of mobility is also being continuously expanded and improved, including smart home monitoring and control and integration into other relevant digital ecosystems.
Later this year users will also be able to access BMW Connected via an Alexa skill for Amazon Echo, enabling them to get vehicle status like remaining range and execute remote commands like ‘door lock’, all through voice interaction. The skill integration into Amazon Echo and Alexa-enabled devices demonstrates BMW’s leading role in the area of digitalization. BMW is one of the first automobile companies to release a costumer product supporting voice services and access to vehicle information through Alexa.
The flexible architecture of BMW Connected furthermore facilitates the implementation of new functions and services more of which will be presented in the autumn.
Once launched, BMW Connected will be available as a free download from the Apple App Store, and can be used in BMW vehicles with the BMW “ConnectedDrive Services” activated, a feature which became standard on all new BMW’s in January 2016. In total there are approximately 400,000 BMW’s capable of using this service on the road in the UK.