Windows Azure Drives Next-Gen Toyota Telematics

Post by: Larry Grothaus

Big news from the auto world today: your next car might be
greener thanks to the cloud. Microsoft and Toyota Motor Corp. have announced
that the Windows Azure Platform (Windows Azure and SQL
Azure) will be the foundation for a global cloud-computing platform that will
deliver combined telecommunications and informatics technologies (or
"telematics") in Toyota vehicles. This innovative cloud-based telematics
technology will be available with Toyota hybrid vehicles starting in 2012.

The Windows Azure Team Blog
has some details on the technology Toyota and Microsoft are building together,
but I wanted to focus on what this partnership means for Toyota and for car

Technology in the car has become indispensable. You might
already take for granted features like telephone connectivity, GPS functions,
MPG calculations, and entertainment systems; these and more advanced
technologies will continue to merge to give you increasingly sophisticated
information in your car. This fusing of such technologies in vehicles-next-gen
telematics-is at the heart of the new strategic partnership between Microsoft
and Toyota.

The Windows Azure Platform supplies the cloud power that
fuels this global effort, integrating green technologies. Toyota recognizes the
importance of cloud computing with Windows Azure as a means of providing new
levels of service to customers while saving money for Toyota.

In the press conference announcing the partnership,
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer welcomed Toyota to the growing list of Windows
Azure customers and discussed the benefits. Ballmer noted that Toyota chose the
Window Azure Platform to help the company reach new markets and achieve greater
scale and business value. Microsoft's cloud platform will allow Toyota to
deliver telematics applications and services in the 170 countries where Toyota
cars are sold. As Ballmer pointed out, such services were previously limited
only to locations where the automaker could build and maintain a datacenter.

On the topic of Toyota's business advantages related to
using the Windows Azure Platform, Ballmer explained that Toyota will have the
benefit of paying only for the computing power it uses. The cloud allows
customers like Toyota to quickly scale usage to support spikes in demand or to
expand into new markets quickly.

Microsoft and Toyota represent technology and automotive
leadership, respectively, and this strategic partnership brings exciting and
environmentally responsible innovation to connected consumers in the car. For
more information on the Microsoft and Toyota strategic partnership, see