As someone who had all but given up trying to communicate with in-car voice platforms, and reports circulating that point to in-car voice systems as being highly distracting, I had high hopes for seeing Siri, Google Voice, Alexa evolve. This is due to the continuous learning across millions and millions of interactions, which in-car systems have no hope of matching.

Until now, safe access to Siri and Google in the car has been limited to cars equipped with Car Play or Android Auto and operate separately of the vehicle functions.

BMW's announcement and implementation of Alexa for selected 2018 onwards vehicles is very interesting. It not only brings voice recognition that works, it takes the last small step to engage the car, driver and passengers in a fully connected way, safer than engaging with touch screen.

A usable voice platform integrated into the vehicle promises to allow safe operation of more vehicle functions.

The BMW implementation of Alexa activates display panels and responses formatted for the environment and consistent with the BMW/Brand look and feel. As an OEM this is huge, retaining control of the highly valued real estate of the dashboard. This is as opposed to Apple and Google who "take over" the display and likely why integration to vehicle functions has been very limited.

BMW has also implemented a data privacy proxy on the BMW side, a nice touch with GDPR and other EU privacy laws in place, but also presumably allows BMW to see the data around interactions, which downstream could be incredibly valuable.

Hitachi and Clarion in the past have used Google voice for in-car platforms to great effect, but with much less in-car integration.

With the Alexa brand on this, it will be interesting to see if this proves to be a compelling differentiator for BMW, especially since Alexa has much greater integration into our lifestyle than a discrete or phone-based platform today.

I have long said the automobile is the ultimate IoT device, operating at the edge, with advanced functions, especially with new ADAS and Autonomous operations. The move to voice operation opens up a whole new world of opportunities, in areas of supply chain, smart city and OmniChannel marketing.

For me, this continues to show that data and our digital enriched lifestyles are full of exciting possibilities and is a great example of how high value brands can leverage each other’s IP to drive something greater and stronger (1+1=3) without encroaching on one another's businesses.

As we can see, everything is accelerating, and the ability to react faster and anticipate better is essential. Turning big ideas into sustainable solutions is at the heart of co-creation, our practical approach to business challenges that take advantage of the amazing opportunities in the digital era.