Grab strikes cloud partnership deal with Microsoft across Southeast Asia

Joanna Estrada
October 11, 2018

Under the five-year deal, the companies will collaborate on technologies including big data, artificial intelligence and connected auto platforms.

Singapore-headquartered Grab has taken its ride-hailing business to 235 cities in eight countries in Southeast Asia in the past six years.

Southeast Asia, home to some 640 million people, is shaping up as a battleground for global technology giants such as Alibaba, Tencent Holdings Ltd, JD.com, Alphabet Inc's Google and SoftBank, particularly in ride-hailing, online payments and e-commerce.

The partnership is created to transform the delivery of digital services and mobility in the region, using Microsoft's expertise in machine learning and other artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

Under the terms of the agreement, Grab will move to Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud platform.

Microsoft Corp will invest an unspecified amount in Grab as the ride-hailing giant adopts the United States company's Azure as its preferred platform for cloud services.

As a part of the partnership, Microsoft will make significant investment in Grab over the next five years.

Microsoft executive vice-president Peggy Johnson said: "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". "Tapping into the power of Microsoft's intelligent cloud and AI capabilities, the companies will engage on a number of innovation technology projects to transform the experience for customers".

Data about the behavior will be analyzed by Microsoft's AI so that the system could provide services and content recommendations accordingly.

In-car solutions. The companies will collaborate on the deployment of in-car entertainment and productivity solutions across Southeast Asia.

Grab's ride-hailing service will also be integrated into Microsoft Outlook, meaning that Outlook users can book rides and receive calendar alerts directly in the application.

Specifically, Grab will work with Microsoft to develop new ways to verify drivers and passengers using artificial intelligence and facial recognition.

After that, the plans get larger, as it anticipates the use of machine learning and photo recognition to allow passengers share their region with a driver with the aid of taking a photograph of their surroundings that the device acknowledges and converts into an address.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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