Exclusive Interview and First Look: BMW’s All-New BMW Connected Mobility App

By Jonathan Spira on 31 March 2016
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The app will automatically start the car's navigation with the desired destination.

The app will automatically start the car’s navigation with the desired destination.

BMW of North America announced a new complete new BMW Connected app at the Microsoft Build developer conference Thursday. The new app is intended to go beyond typical vehicle functionality and integrate (and ingratiate) itself into the driver’s schedule and daily routine.

Frequent Business Traveler sat down with Randy Cavaiani, director of partner and product marketing at BMW, to discuss the implications of BMW Connected as well as what the future may hold for it.

BMW Connected (look for “BMW Connected North America” in the Apple app store) is designed to unobtrusively keep track of people’s daily schedules and routines, check traffic for planned and possible drives in the background, alert users to any significant amounts of traffic that would require an earlier departure, and provide last-mile walking instructions once parked.

The app, is the Bavarian automaker’s first volley into creating a tool that it hopes will make each journey “much better, both inside the vehicle and outside it,” Cavaiani told me.

At launch, it will support three key functions, namely journey management, smart communications, and remote services (such as accessing vehicle information or remotely locking the vehicle).

The app will learn the user’s habits and utilize what it learns to improve productivity and keep the user on time for events and meetings. It can access calendar events and will automatically start the car’s navigation system with the desired destination once the car is turned on and the device is connected. The platform currently supports Apple iPhones, and Android support is slated for later in 2016.

“The contextual piece of the platform is now all about delivering those experiences on several dimensions including the user’s environment, such as home, work, or the gym, and the type of devices the user has, including a smart phone, a smart watch, and eventually home automation tools,” Cavaiani said.

Passengers who use the BMW Connected app should, at least in theory, never be late for a meeting or a date, providing this does what it promises. The app, after monitoring traffic and incidents in the background well in advance of the required departure time, will tell users when to leave in order to arrive on time. It will start to predict the next place passenger are going and see if drive times are typical or abnormal, Cavaiani said. Delays and changes will cause the app to issue a smart notification on the iPhone or Apple Watch, he added.

BMW plans to eventually add support multimodal travel such as public transportation and biking, according to Cavaiani, as well as support for BMW’s DriveNow car-sharing program.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)