Microsoft Corp is looking forward to teaming up with Taiwanese partners as part of its plans to develop “connected cars” that recognize voice commands, a company executive said yesterday.
Samuel Shen (申元慶), chief operating officer at the Microsoft Asia-Pacific Research and Development Group, said the Redmond, Washington-based firm has developed a prototype of a connected car using the “Cortana” voice-recognition virtual assistant of the Windows 10 operating system.
The Cortana-connected prototype also has its windscreen integrated with a navigation system, allowing the virtual assistant to show the location of the driver’s nearby preferred locations on the windscreen or make restaurant reservations, he said.
“We have not launched similar products due to the high cost, but we hope to have further discussions with Taiwanese partners to jointly explore future possibilities,” Shen said during his opening keynote speech at the TechDays Taiwan developer conference in Taipei.
He did not mention the names of any potential partners, nor did he set up a timetable to develop Cortana-based connected cars.
Microsoft demonstrated its “Windows in the Car” concept in April last year — extending the functionality of a Windows Phone directly into a built-in car display — as its answer to Apple Inc’s “CarPlay.”
TechDays is an annual Microsoft industry event for software development, software architecture and IT solutions in Taiwan. This year’s conference attracted more than 3,000 IT professionals from nearly 1,000 firms.
The event includes sessions about the intelligent cloud platform, the Internet of Things suite with Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, Windows servers and the commercial applications of the Windows 10 operating system.
Microsoft said that more than 85 percent of the Fortune 500 companies have at least one Microsoft enterprise cloud service.
STEPPING UP: The firm has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week and to halt all but essential overseas business travel from next month Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) has implemented a remote work policy for employees not on production lines in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, the world’s largest contract chipmaker said yesterday. This is the first time in the Hsinchu-based company’s history that it has launched a large-scale remote work policy, joining global technology companies, such as Apple Inc and Google, that encourage employees to work from home. The chipmaker has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week, it said. As the number of virus infections continues to climb worldwide, TSMC has urged employees to halt unnecessary
A two-hour drive south of Amsterdam in Veldhoven, workers decked out head-to-toe in protective gear toil in vast assembly halls. Before entering the inner sanctuary of the facilities, they meticulously layer on masks, gloves and special socks. A single speck of dust or a hair can have devastating effects on production. The result of all this painstaking process is an environment that is 10,000 times more purified than outside. As COVID-19 grips the world, it might just be the safest place to work right now. The teams belong to ASML Holding NV, which holds a de facto monopoly on the industry of
DBS Bank Ltd yesterday hacked its GDP growth forecast for Taiwan this year to 0.9 percent, down from its estimate of 2.3 percent two months earlier, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing financial market volatility. The bank’s latest forecast was even lower than London-based IHS Markit Ltd’s estimate of 1 percent, while other research institutes’ projections range from 1.6 percent to 2.6 percent. Taiwan’s economic momentum is being negatively affected by the pandemic, DBS said. The rapid spread of the disease from Asia to Europe and the US has dampened the bank’s previous expectation of a “V-shaped” global rebound in the
DOWNSIDE RISKS: Firms have a ‘very low’ chance of boosting investment returns in the next two years, making it hard for them to improve their capitalization, an analyst said Taiwanese life insurers wanting to improve their capital structure face strong headwinds this year, given prolonged low interest rates and economic impacts derived from trade protectionism and the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評) said on Friday. The local life insurance sector also still has high asset risks and such risks are susceptible to market volatility, the local arm of Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings said. Since last year, major financial holding companies — including CTBC Financial Holding Co (中信金控), Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) and Shin Kong Financial Holding Co (新光金控) — have announced plans to raise fresh capital to