Microsoft has announced a strategic partnership with ride-sharing service Grab to push big data and AI innovations. As part of the deal, Grab will use Azure as it's preferred cloud platform, with plans to scale its capabilities.
“This partnership signals a deep collaboration with Microsoft on an array of technology projects, including big data and artificial intelligence, that will transform the delivery of everyday services and mobility solutions in Southeast Asia,” said Ming Maa, president of Grab. “As a global technology leader, Microsoft's investment into Grab highlights our position as the leading homegrown technology player in the region. We look forward to collaborating with Microsoft in the pursuit of enhancing on-demand transportation and seamless online-to-offline experiences for users.”
Grab currently operates in 235 cities across eight southeast Asian countries, and also offers a digital wallet. According to Microsoft, the Grab is the top mobile-to-offline platform in the region
Much of the work will be on increasing the efficiency and capacity of the platform, but the partnership could also spur new features. The pair is working on mobile facial recognition for drivers and customers to increase safety.
Solutions are also in the works to make it easier for drivers to find their clients. One example is the use of AI to send customer's address to a driver after they take a picture of their location.
However, much of the value for Grab will be internal. Azure will help to improve things like analytics, fraud detection, and more. For Microsoft, it's a chance to show its capabilities in the industry.
“Our partnership with Grab opens up new opportunities to innovate in both a rapidly evolving industry and growth region,” said Peggy Johnson, executive vice president at Microsoft. “We're excited to team up to transform the customer experience as well as enhance the delivery of digital services for the millions of users who rely on Grab for safe and affordable transport, food and package delivery, mobile payments, and financial services.”