Microsoft has formed a strategic partnership with Singapore-based ride-hailing firm Grab. It’s a five-year agreement, under which both the companies will collaborate on several technology projects related to big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and mobility solutions.
Grab provides on-demand transportation, mobile payments, and online-to-offline services in Southeast Asia. Being a leading provider of these services, Grab serves customers in around 235 cities across eight Southeast Asian countries. Its digital wallet, called GrabPay, is a top mobile wallet payment solution in the region.
As a part of the partnership, Microsoft will make significant investment in Grab over the next five years. The companies didn’t reveal the deal value.
Whereas, Grab will adopt Azure as its preferred cloud platform to leverage the cloud and AI capabilities of Microsoft. The aim of partnership is to use intelligent services and transform the way Grab delivers digital services and mobility in the region.
Together, the companies will work on several technology projects to improve the experience for users, driver-partners, merchants and agents.
“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.”
New authentication mechanisms like AI-powered mobile facial recognition will be developed to replace checking IDs for drivers and passengers. Azure’s data analytics and fraud detection services can be used to predict and prevent fraudulent transactions on Grab’s platform.
To improve interactive experiences for customers, the companies will develop AI chatbots using Microsoft’s natural language processing services. The partnership will also explore image recognition, computer vision, and more AI capabilities. This will advance the recommendation engine for customers, improve driver pickup experience, and enhance the map creation and quality.
Additionally, Grab will allow Outlook users to book rides right from the application. To make things better for its Customer Service Teams, Grab will pilot Microsoft’s Kaizala, which is a mobile app for large group communications and work management.
“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.”