The Southeast Asia online-ride hailing service Grab has jointly announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft Corp. The companies have entered a five-year agreement with Microsoft is set to make a strategic investment in Grab and get together for technology projects collaboration in big data, artificial intelligence, and mobility solutions.
Using Microsoft’s AI-focused capabilities, the partnership will also see the delivery of digital services and mobility in the region.
“This partnership is the beginning of a 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.
With Microsoft now backing the company, Grab is in a position of the homegrown technology player in the region.
“The partnership with Grab opens up new opportunities to innovate in the delivery of digital services for safe and affordable transport, food and package delivery, mobile payments, and financial services as well as to grow in the region,” said Peggy Johnson, executive vice president at Microsoft.
Adopting Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud platform, Grab will tap into Microsoft’s intelligent cloud and AI capabilities to scale the platform efficiently and increase its capacity and capabilities. Upcoming innovation projects with the collaboration include:
Big data, AI, and machine learning
- Grab is to work with Microsoft in exploring new authentication mechanisms such as mobile facial recognition with built-in AI for drivers and customers who opt-in, as a replacement for checking IDs that help match both driver and passenger identities to the reservation securely.
- Grab will utilise Microsoft Azure’s data analytics and fraud detection services to better predict and prevent fraudulent transactions on Grab’s platform.
- Both companies plan to leverage Microsoft’s natural language processing (NLP) capabilities to provide customers with contextualized real-time translations and create an AI chatbot for interactive experiences.
- Grab will use Microsoft’s machine learning and AI capabilities to power advanced “recommendation engine” analysing user data and behavior to provide personalized services and content recommendations through the Grab application.
- Grab plans to work with Microsoft to explore image recognition and computer vision technologies that will improve the user and driver pickup experience. For example, passengers will be able to take a photo of their current location and have it translated into an actual address for the driver.
- Grab plans to tap into the power of Microsoft’s machine learning capabilities to improve map creation and quality.
Other Microsoft services that Grab will also utilise for an enhanced experience are:
- Microsoft Outlook integration, in which Outlook users will have an on-demand transportation booking options to book rides directly in the application and be alerted with calendar reminders.
- Microsoft Kaizala, a mobile app, and service for large group communications and work management to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Grab’s Customer Service teams that Grab will be piloting.
- In-car solutions, for the deployment of in-car entertainment and productivity solutions across Southeast Asia.
- Rewards integration, that will integrate Microsoft Rewards Gift Cards into the Grab Rewards loyalty program.