Technology

Here's What Made Microsoft Invest In Ride-hailing Giant Grab

The five-year collaboration will transform the delivery of digital services and mobility in the Southeast Asia
Here's What Made Microsoft Invest In Ride-hailing Giant Grab
Image credit: Microsoft
Entrepreneur Staff
Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia-Pacific
3 min read

Looks like Singapore Grab is in no mood to stop. The ride-hailing giant witnessed a good year in terms of bagging investments from big names of the business world. Recently, tech giant Microsoft announced a strategic partnership with Grab that will transform the delivery of digital services and mobility in the  Southeast Asia region by leveraging former’s expertise in machine learning and other artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

Transform Delivery and Mobility Solutions

As a first step in the broad collaboration between the two companies, Grab will adopt Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud platform and Microsoft will make a strategic investment in Grab.

“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 in a press release.

He further added that as a global technology leader, the investment into Grab highlights Microsoft’s 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,” Maa added.

As the top mobile online-to-offline platform in Southeast Asia, Grab operates in 235 cities across eight Southeast Asian countries, and Grab’s digital wallet, GrabPay, is the leading player in Southeast Asia.

Through this partnership, Grab will tap into Microsoft’s intelligent cloud and AI capabilities to scale Grab’s platform efficiently and increase its capacity and capabilities. Through this five year collaboration the companies will explore a number of innovative deep technology projects that will enhance and transform the Grab experience for  users, driver-partners, merchants and agents. Some of the special innovation projects include:

  • To help improve passenger and driver safety and security, Grab will work with Microsoft to explore 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.

  • Grab will explore utilizing Microsoft Azure’s data analytics and fraud detection services to better predict and prevent fraudulent transactions on Grab’s platform.

  • The companies plan to leverage Microsoft’s natural language processing capabilities to provide customers with contextualized real-time translations and create an AI chatbot so Grab users can engage in interactive experiences.

  • Microsoft’s machine learning and AI capabilities will be used to power Grab’s advanced “recommendation engine” that analyzes user data and behavior to provide personalized services and content recommendations through the Grab application.

Opening Doors to New Opportunities

Peggy Johnson, executive vice president at Microsoft emphasized that the partnership with Grab opens up new opportunities for the company to innovate in both a rapidly evolving industry and growth region.

“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,” he said.

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