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Microsoft’s Expanded Mapping Deal With HERE To Help It Meet IoT Challenges

Microsoft and HERE go back a long way. But the future is beyond mapping and the two are moving forward on exploring the role of location in powering predictive analytics for a broad range of uses.

The extension of Microsoft’s long-term client agreement with digital mapping platform HERE goes beyond the usual alliances for location marketing services, and instead is intended to pave the way for both companies to connect a broad range of data to meet the demands of the Internet of Things era.

Under the terms of the new agreement, Microsoft will be able to use HERE’s data and services for connected cars, “with a view to improving in-car productivity,” a representative for HERE tells GeoMarketing.

For example, as Microsoft says in a blog post, mapping, traffic, and weather data could be combined with the driver’s schedule and to-do lists for personalized planning and routing. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In terms of the possible scenarios, Microsoft and HERE could be able to use predictive analytics to tell a driver where the best parking could be found before they arrive at a destination.

But the deal goes beyond connected cars and is meant to buttress Microsoft’s other platforms, including the value of its own Bing Maps for advertisers and consumers. The bigger focus is on making Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana more competitive against Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s tools in that area as well.

“Bringing the highest quality maps and geographical services to our consumers and developers is of paramount importance to Microsoft,” said Jordi Ribas, Corporate Vice President, Bing Program Management, Microsoft, in a statement.

For example, earlier this year, Microsoft began employing location technology in a partnership with Starbucks. That project involved Microsoft Outlook’s email and allowed users to embed a Starbucks extension in its dashboard to automatically set up meetings at the nearest Starbucks.

After that, Microsoft purchased virtual assistant software provider Genee to provide it with greater artificial intelligence and IoT capabilities along side its prior acquisition of Microsoft’s acquisition of Italian software provider Solair.

Interestingly, as Apple, Google, and Amazon primarily aim their services at consumers first, Microsoft appears to be wisely concentrating on business and corporate uses (after all, Outlook is still a favorite of most corporations).

To that end, Microsoft’s  $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn already represents a clear ability to connect professionals and places.

The potential of other Microsoft properties can also be brought to bear on these kinds of “personalized” meetings arrangements. Just think of the ways Microsoft’s search engine Bing could see mutual benefits through its store locator and discovery system.

With that in mind, the deeper alliance with HERE has Microsoft appealing to developers of IoT tools since location intelligence is such an integral part of powering those services.

“HERE continues to be an industry leader and geospatial innovator and by expanding our long-standing partnership with HERE, we will continue to bring benefits to our customers,” Microsoft’s Ribas added.