Product Launch and Fireside Chat Dieter May (BMW) | Disrupt SF (Day 2)
4:45PM Sep 6, 2018
natural language understanding
With that, let's get the show on the road. I'd like a warm welcome from you guys for our next guest please welcome to the stage from BMW. Dieter may and your moderator. Frederick Lardinois. Big round of applause
Good morning, morning, Dieter, you came all the way from Germany, you must be tired.
Yeah, a bit jet lagged, but it's fine. too excited for what is going to come now.
All right. Very good. We're, we're excited too.
be over the last few years, BMW has put a real focus on connectivity and its cars. And over the last few months, that basically meant digital assistance. You announced Alexa just a few weeks ago, well, you announced, a year ago, but it's been out now. And why is that? Why this focus on digital assistants?
We believe there is, first of all, a new way of interacting with digital service coming up, it's about paradigm shift. But in addition, I mean to integrate third party assistance also means for us to have access to a huge amount of so called skills and opening up basically ecosystems to our customers, which they would not have access to otherwise in the car.
It's not often that we hear car companies talk about software ecosystems, it's a bit of a shift.
Yeah, actually. Yeah, I think software is one of the main investment areas in our company, whether it's for connectivity, connected car digital services, but also in this in the classic IT and obviously for autonomous driving, it becomes very, very important.
Absolutely. Well, you've shown Alexa, you're probably going to do Cortana, I think, I know you're not the biggest fan of Google Assistant. But we can talk about that another time. Today you've got something new for us.
We have a we have actually connected Google systems in the home. So I mean, things change over time.
two years ago when I talked and he was not a big fan of Android Auto. So
Different story, right? But yeah, today you've got something new that you want to show us. Yeah, what is that?
So I'm happy to be here today. So good morning everybody. I think it's really something big for us as a company and hopefully for our customers as well so thanks Frederick, for introducing me and before really launching what we have planned is basically to give you some background information.
so BMW envision the connected car future already years ago, and we started connecting our vehicles way before this becomes became one of the really hot topics in the tech industry.
I started around four years ago with the BMW group. And we are focusing basically on building consumer centric customer centric digital services.
They allow us using connectivity to create really new experiences to differentiate our our cars, digital experiences become more and more purchase driver for our vehicles.
And we also build a new business around that. And above all, we also digitally connect the BMW group customers and BMW group and this is as you know, really essential for moving forward on the digital transformation we are on. Understanding and digitally interacting with our customers is of utmost importance.
We can develop better products flexibly adjust to customer needs and provide a better experience. And so we are connecting basically the digital life of our customers with our cars and bringing experiences they are used to on their smartphones or other digital devices seamlessly in into our BMW ecosystem.
Our fleet is already today basically 100% connected and if you think about the user base we are talking about we are close to 4 million customers who have signed up for our popular BMW connected experiences over the last eight quarters and this year we also made a major rehaul rehaul of our operating system in the car. We call it operating system 7.0 and it's a major update of our in car software platform.
This in car software platform allows now really to provide contextual digital experiences. It's a modern, sleek design and we can personalize our experiences in a much different way than before. So it's tailored to address individual customer needs.
But this was the background today we want to celebrate something else something new and for us, it's a world a true world premiere.
Hey, BMW, who are you?
I am your personal assistant. I am here for you. Would you like to learn more about me? I can control various functions for you.
So these were the first public words spoken by BMW intelligent personal assistant
and BMW is intelligent assistant will revolutionize what we call the ultimate driving machine and the way you interact with it
pre order of our personal systems will begin with a new three series in two months month. And starting in March 2019, our customers will experience the first set of features.
With this they will be part of a journey of intelligent, voice centric and customer oriented multimodal in car experiences, there will be part of that journey.
And BMW personal assistant gets to know you over time with each of your voice commands. And by using your car. It gets better every single day.
So what is it all about?
First of all, it's a much more natural and easier way to interact with your BMW and related digital experiences. It's not about voice commands, our personal assistant is intelligent and continuously learns and grows, we see our personal assistant as a digital character who live side by side with you and who can talk to you.
And by the way, our personal assistant lives in the cloud using the latest and scalable technology.
Just imagine him being a real expert about your car, who knows nearly everything about it, he can control it for you, and he can teach you how to best make use of it. If something requires your attention, he will let you know. So he's proactive. He's also your assistant and support you to make the most out of your time in the car while on the go. It's the perfect companion who helps you to be productive or to be entertained.
But there's one more topic our personal assistant is also compatible and can connect to existing BMW Consumer Services, but also to third party assistance, such as Amazon's Alexa. It basically gives you access to your BMW ecosystem, but also to the fast growing ecosystems of voice assistants
important is that also is functionality will continuously grow new functions and features will be available for our customers via remote software upgrade without a stop at the dealership.
The possibilities are just endless. If you think about innovation, and this is just the beginning of a journey, which is super exciting, and where we want to take our customers with us.
Our personal assistant is a new way to interact with your car to digital personnel you can chat with and even give you this own name. For instance, Charlie. Hey, Charlie, what are your favorite colors?
Blue and White? I am from the Bay Area.
Well, besides some fun of chit chatting and the personalization. Let's take a look what else he can do for you.
Your personal assistant is a car expert and a coach for you. That is always with you. If you need his support. Just ask him.
Hey, BMW. How are you today?
Fine. Thanks for asking. I do have one thing though. A new service alert Do you want to hear more?
And do you know what I can even ask him to help me arrange dealer appointment
so our personal assistant knows helpful features and in the future, he can also practically introduce you to relevant features and functionalities. Let me give you an example. When you're driving outside the city at night. The personal assistant could suggest to you the safety enhancing BMW high beam assist and you can immediately ordered through our in car store.
He also knows you he can control many things in your BMW because we know is the customers routines and habits. Imagine you are on your way home after you have had a stressful day. Just a Hey, BMW, I'm tired and he will start your personal relaxation program playing your preferred music. He will adjust the interior settings depending on your car's capabilities such as seating, or your favorite ambient light
and our personal assistant knows your car
he will take take care of your car while it is waiting for you in a parking spot. For example, He will reach out to you through BMW connected when you forgot to close the windows or when your theft alarm goes off. So he almost knows everything
the personal system knows you understand your needs and Israel BMW expert. He can control many features and teaches you what you need to know all this makes the most out of your driving experience with the BMW
but in addition to the car expert. He's also your perfect co driver to assist you when needed.
Hey, BMW drive me home.
Let's go home is the best place anyway.
Apart from taking your home. He will also find your spots along the route. But let me share personal experience as a father of three year old daughter
when you're on a long drive. And Carla, my little girl gets hungry. I can ask the personal assistant to find her favorite restaurant along the route. He will make suggestions I select and he will take me there. But he will also support me during my business day on my way he knows that have a call with Tom scheduled for 9am. Once I've confirmed you will automatically dial up a Skype call. So let's try how that would look like.
How are things?
Oh, pretty well. Pretty good. Actually. I met at TechCrunch Disrupt life on stage talking about our brand new personal assistant. By the way, what's your favorite feature?
First of all, I'd really like that I can simply talk to get a lot of things done while driving.
And also it's super exciting that the BMW personal assistant will get frequent updates over the air with new capabilities. Well, and then, of course, I'm very much looking forward to the future to some of the exciting things we plan for instance, when you can not only search a restaurant, but you're able to right away book a table.
Okay, thank you, Tom.
No problem. See you later.
So this is just the beginning of an exciting journey.
In order to incorporate third party ecosystems, we made sure that the personal assistant is also compatible with your favorite digital assistant at home. And we integrate Amazon's Alexa to start with and be sure more to come. Stay tuned.
Talking about partners. Also very important for us is obviously the technology around it. We are using Microsoft state of the art Azure Cloud Platform, their cognitive services and their conversational form. And we incorporate basically artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to create our own personal assistant,
the BMW intelligent personal assistant, just talk to him.
You can even give him his own
a BMW, change the activation word and the journey begins
is always by your side and will always learn new things.
Just try out the following
a BMW, I'm called
whenever you have a question about your vehicle. Whenever you need a BMW, how do I fit the child seat?
There's so much to do.
Every minute is valuable.
He creates room for the things that you love,
time to be free
time for what is really important, sheer driving pleasure,
So if you have any further questions during the day, feel free to ask I will be around today.
And otherwise, I think we are going to have a few questions and answers right now.
I have a few questions for you. Yeah, thank you.
Nice to meet you. See, you see,
you can applaud for that. Yeah,
thank you, Dieter,
for its control is nothing new. You know, my old 2004 car could listen to me, it was really crappy. But it was able to understand a few things. Why do this now
So for us, modern technology allows now real natural language understanding, which is a totally different game than just having pure voice commands, like sending a destination to a navigation system. So it's much more natural interaction. And that fits really well with our approach of providing consumer centric services, because we believe it really will drive engagement in the car. And we better understand what our customers want and need. And that allows us to develop better products at the end of the day.
Why are you building your own assistant, though,
I think our assistant needs to have the capability to operate the car at the end of the day. And that is why we believe for safety data integrity reasons, etc. We need to manage that customer interface.
But overall, we have a two pronged approach as, as I've presented. So basically, for BMW ecosystem related topics, plus the car car operation, we have, basically our technology stack and our personal assistant. But then we are also able to dispatch and depending on the type of question to third party assistance, which gives you access to your skills you're used to at home and give you the full range of capabilities.
There's still a bit of overlap between the two though, right, I can say, hey, Charlie, what's the weather where I can also say, Alexa, what's the weather or, you know
yeah, I mean, obviously, we we do that, not the car way, but the internet way, which means we are providing a first set of experiences starting November, basically, with pre ordering. But the important thing is that our system lives and continuously improves. And obviously, there's a transition period as well. We're basically installed on board experiences, and then the of body experiences, or the cloud experiences that will coexist. And then over time, depending on usage, etc, we will need to make the call how to cure rate that in the best possible way. So that will be a transition period till you go to cloud only, potentially,
I you saying that part of the assistant now runs in the car, the BMW system runs as far
as there is also natural language understanding capabilities on board in the car. But obviously, we're dispatching order to the cloud for our own activities. And we need to maintain a certain capability in the car. Because I mean, there is even in today's world situations where you don't have full connectivity,
why did the what's the business use? What's the business case here for you, because this must have cost a bit of money in some resources to build your own assistant on Google and Amazon are doing that, and they're big,
yeah, obviously, there's a different ideas behind the first one is
we think it's differentiation element. And you need to provide something like that in a premium environment. So that that's a must, at the end of the day to sell in different shades, of course, later on. Second thing is it allows us really to drive consumer engagement and build our customer base our user base and directly engage with them. And then obviously, we have a pure financial business case behind this well, so it's part of a bigger infotainment package, which we're selling. And there's a three pronged approach. And it's part of the professional package where you have the functionality and then you can and that's the new way we are also going to drive our business, then you can through the in car or the Web Store, then basically activate additional functional packages over the time,
one day the car industry will get away from all those packages. And I don't need to leather to use my Alexa.
Lisa's will be simpler
for this, you've decided to actually let me go back there, you mentioned that this is a way to differentiate your BMW from from other car manufacturers, what makes this assistant specifically BMW, how does it represent the brand
so we will strongly invest going forward in in the language understanding a BMW typical voice. I mean, it's a brand element, like the interior of the design will be much more important going forward, how you interact within the within the car. So this is really important and it and and then hopefully we we can also differ differentiate through functionalities who learning mechanisms through the best integration of third party assistance. I think there's numerous ways and we are just at the beginning of that journey
stairway in which the assistant reacts to you that specifically BMW that just, you know,
yeah, I mean, I think
it's like the the third party assistance I mean, the way you interact with them becomes much more natural, then we will be emotional reactions. And and one thing we are already having under development is if somebody asked about a red light in the dashboard, I mean, the way you ask about it will probably trigger different reaction I mean, whether it's stressed stressed out, then you will be probably linked to the concierge service and to a real human being or if it's it's a real informative question. I mean, you will get another tonality. So these are the things which make basic the interaction much more a much nicer over over time.
So those who are considered people, the actual humans, they will only deal with stressed out BMW drivers.
Yeah, very special requests. I mean, we can't answer in digital.
I've noticed that you talked about the assistant as a he that the voice was kind of female what's, what's the deal with that?
Yeah, we're not bipolar or so. So. So it's just, I mean, comes from the German from German language. I mean, we call it the assistant and that's why it's basically the he but in many other languages, I mean, it's a female voice and it's your personal assistant. That's how we want to call it
fair enough. Last question. You're working with Microsoft?
Why why Microsoft? Why not go with held honor?
I mean, we know we have a dual approach here. And we are maintaining that approach. So like you see, with the Alexa integration, we have a close cooperation with Amazon. But we we basically decided a few years back on Microsoft Azure platform where we built on our cloud services, open mobility cloud platform on and so it's a natural way to expand basically our platform through the personal assistant functionality and leveraging basically Microsoft technology in artificial intelligence, machine learning, dialogue, management and all these things.
All right. Well, Charlie said home is the best place anyways,
That's where we're going because our time is up. Thank you.