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How Technology Has Helped Turn Cars Into Mobile Offices
When you really think about it, a car is probably the best mobile computer you could want. With loads of space for data storage, wireless antennas and numerous processors and LCD screens, you are essentially driving a giant data centre around with you when in your car.
 
For those of you who thought we’d gone through the looking glass when DVD players starting appearing in cars, we could be about to witness an even greater period of technical innovation. As we spend more and more time in our vehicles than ever before, cars have been forced to adapt to the need of drivers to access emails, browse the internet when out of the office and support off-site employees.
 
While a lot of these functions will only be accessible for a driver when the car is at a standstill, it still takes away the need to be in the office or by a computer to remain connected to the office. We can expect safety to play a huge role in this new evolution of cars, but that shouldn’t stop many of these early ideas coming to fruition.
 
Surfing in your car
 
While many manufacturers have brought this to life through a basic 3G connection with their cars, we’re now seeing newer models entering the market that have adapted a 4G data feed to allow drivers to connect at speeds of greater than 5Mbps. This has turned cars from being merely a tin can on wheels, getting you from A to B in various levels of comfort, into a roving hotspot capable of handling the basic office requirements.


 






















Whether this is being used by a passenger to Skype from their tablet or for the driver to access their smartphones in order to view emails or schedule appointments, there are a number of other reasons having a fast connection in the car is helping bring in a new age of vehicular processing.
 
What’s clear is that 4G is just the start of the connected car future. Before we know it, your car will soon be able to connect to the roads, other vehicles, and a central car traffic control centre over a wireless signal. But for the time being, this is a huge step in the right direction.
 
From data-intense apps such as 3D maps and two-way video calling, to surround-sound video and even gaming on Xbox’s or PS4’s, this new age of mobile connectivity is showing little signs of slowing down. And that’s before we even talk about the ability to turn on the heating in the office, or the lights in certain rooms.
 
Microsoft 365 Enter the Party
 
It hasn’t taken long for Microsoft to see the potential of this move to more mobile offices, signing a deal with audio giants Harman that will see its productivity suite integrated into the company’s in-car systems.
 
Using Cortana, Microsoft’s “personal assistant” software, the move will allow drivers to access most of O365’s tools using hands-free, the majority of which are then only able to be used when the vehicle is in park – because, remember: safety first, innovative technology second.
 

 


















While this won’t give drivers the chance to tuck into an Excel spreadsheet or start a report using Word while cruising down the M25, it will instead be aimed at providing the driver with a way of organising work while in their car, allowing them to schedule appointments, communicate with colleagues, set-up meetings, respond to emails and join conference calls.
 
Moreover, Harman will deliver over-the-air updates so that the most current version of Office 365 will be available on the car's dashboard.
 
The Potential
Companies have seen how IoT technologies can change their workplace with interactive and shifting screens, tables and speech-enabled gadgets, and it was only going to be a matter of time before someone thought about the potential of turning our cars into fully functional offices.


 

















As we continue to work towards driver-less or self-driving cars, thought has already begun on how the time previously spent driving can be used productively. Cars will be able to become natural extensions of an office, with interactive windows, responsive controls and the all-important swivelling chairs potentially set to become part of a car’s interior.
 
There are a number of questions that need to be answered before these current dreams become a reality, most obviously how to power a mobile office/car in a world of greener requirements in the motoring industry.
 
So while you might not be holding board meetings in your car as soon as next week, we might not be too far away from mobile offices becoming a reality.
 
Click here for more information about Microsoft Office 365.