Microsoft has signed a five-year agreement with ride-hailing, mobile payments and online-to-offline services platform Grab, which will see both companies collaborate on big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and mobility solutions projects.
As part of the agreement, Microsoft will also make a strategic investment in Grab, with the latter claiming the partnership would attempt to transform the delivery of digital services and mobility in Southeast Asia.
Grad, which is operational in in eight Southeast Asian countries and whose digital wallet, GrabPay, is the leading player in Southeast Asia, will aim to leverage Microsoft's machine learning and AI capabilities, and will adopt Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud platform.
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Grab president Ming Maa said: "As a global technology leader, Microsoft's investment into Grab highlights our position as the leading homegrown technology player in [Southeast Asia].
"This partnership signals a deep collaboration with Microsoft on an array of technology projects, including big data and AI, that will transform the delivery of everyday services and mobility solutions in Southeast Asia."
Among the projects both companies will collaborate on will be an initiative to help improve passenger and driver safety and security, with Grab working with Microsoft to explore new authentication mechanisms such as mobile facial recognition; Grab utilizing Microsoft Azure's data analytics and fraud detection services; and a plan to leverage Microsoft's natural language processing (NLP) capabilities to provide customers with contextualized real-time translations.
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."
Among a host of other joint projects, Grab will pilot Kaizala, Microsoft's mobile app and service for large group communications and work management.