Tech giant Microsoft said that it will invest an undisclosed sum into Singapore-based ride-hailing company Grab, as part of a strategic partnership.
The two companies will also collaborate on technology projects in areas such as big data and artificial intelligence, while Grab will now use a number of Microsoft products, including the Azure cloud computing service, according to a joint statement.
“We’re fascinated with the companies that are emerging from Southeast Asia,” Peggy Johnson, executive vice president at Microsoft, told CNBC in an interview. “It’s been amazing to watch what they have done with technology, in the way that they’ve applied it to solving problems for their customers.”
Microsoft and Grab declined to disclose the amount of the strategic investment.
Grab President Ming Maa explained that Grab will use the investment from Microsoft to improve user safety and experience.
Big data, AI and machine learning
- To help improve passenger and driver safety and security, Grab will work with Microsoft to explore new authentication mechanisms such as mobile facial recognition with built-in AI for drivers and customers who opt in, as a replacement for checking IDs, that help match both driver and passenger identities to the reservation.
- Grab will explore utilizing Microsoft Azure’s data analytics and fraud detection services to better predict and prevent fraudulent transactions on Grab’s platform.
- The companies plan to leverage Microsoft’s natural language processing capabilities to provide customers with contextualized real-time translations and create an AI chatbot so Grab users can engage in interactive experiences.
- Microsoft’s machine learning and AI capabilities will be used to power Grab’s advanced “recommendation engine” that analyzes user data and behavior to provide personalized services and content recommendations through the Grab application.
- Grab also plans to work with Microsoft to explore image recognition and computer vision technologies that will improve the user and driver pickup experience. For example, passengers will be able to take a photo of their current location and have it translated into an actual address for the driver.
- To improve map creation and quality, Grab plans to tap into the power of Microsoft’s machine learning capabilities.
Other areas of collaboration
- Microsoft Outlook integration. Grab will provide on-demand transportation booking options to Outlook users so they can seamlessly book rides directly in the application and be alerted with calendar reminders.
- Microsoft Kaizala. Grab will pilot Microsoft’s Kaizala, a mobile app and service for large group communications and work management, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Grab’s Customer Service teams.
- In-car solutions. The companies will collaborate on the deployment of in-car entertainment and productivity solutions across Southeast Asia.
- Rewards integration. Microsoft will explore integrating Microsoft Rewards Gift Cards into the Grab Rewards loyalty program.
Nominate Malaysia’s Best Marketers
Do you know a Bold & Brave marketer? Give us their names, because we want to celebrate them.
Held for the first time in Malaysia, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Awards is here to reward the best in the business of marketing.
This award is to identify talent, transparency, tenacity and a take-charge attitude of deserving marketers. An eminent panel of industry leaders will decide on the winners.
There are 30 categories up for grabs at this year’s awards:
- Best Marketer in B2B Marketing
- Best Marketer in SME Marketing
- Best Marketer in Millennial Marketing
- Best Marketer in Data & Technology Marketing
- Rising Marketing Star – Financial Services
- Rising Marketing Star – Telco ….. and more!
All entries across all 30 categories for the inaugural year is FREE.
Send in your nominations before the closing deadline of October 19th.
The 7th Malaysian CMO Conference & Awards
Date: 16th November 2018
Venue: The Grand Ballroom, Sime Darby Convention Centre, KL.
For further details on the awards visit: www.marketingmagazine.com.my/cmo2018/awards