LAS VEGAS — Nov. 1, 2005 — Today at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft Corp. and Stargate Mobile participated in Ford Motor Co.’s announcement of the mobile office system featured in a “General Contractor” F-250 Super Duty truck. Ford previewed the unique mobile technology expected to be offered as a dealer-installed accessory through the Genuine Ford Accessories program beginning in 2006.
“Before the office environment that many of us work in today, you knew you had arrived when you worked your way up to the corner office with a door,” said Patty Dilger, director of the Automotive and Industrial Equipment Industry Vertical at Microsoft. “With the F-Series Super Duty, we’ve arrived at the ultimate option for today’s worker on the move — a four-door office that corners well. For the contractor or business owner who travels to multiple work sites, the functionality and connectivity of the easy-to-use Ford mobile office system dramatically improves productivity while on a job site.”
The mobile office system features the Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional operating system functionality with the Microsoft Office Suite including Microsoft Office Outlook®, Microsoft Office Word, Microsoft Office Excel® and Microsoft Office PowerPoint®. Other mobile office system features include global positioning satellite (GPS), wireless broadband, printer, credit card scanner and digital-camera-equipped mobile computer that will allow a contractor to bid jobs, order and purchase parts and materials, and process payments.
“The Ford mobile office system is a small, lightweight computer that can be docked inside the vehicle and used away from the traditional office,” said John Cooper, president of Stargate Mobile. “The computer’s rugged, portable design also allows the user to take the unit anywhere on the job site for the ultimate in mobility.”
The Ford mobile office system uses technology that is readily available and user-friendly, yet uniquely packaged and tested to meet the demands of the “Built Ford Tough” trucks. The Stargate Mobile computer is mounted on the transmission tunnel hump within easy reach of the driver. Once the computer is securely mounted in its vehicle cradle, it is powered by the truck’s battery.
“Innovative hardware and software solutions continue to drive useful new scenarios for the automotive community,” Dilger said. “We’re leveraging the technology people are already familiar with to meet consumers’ evolving view of their vehicles’ capabilities and purpose. We’re helping people achieve peak performance, and software is the key to empowering people to lead efficient mobile lifestyles.”
The driver can remove the touch-screen computer and take it with him or her just as with an ordinary laptop. Furthermore, with the slate form factor, they aren’t hampered by the unnecessary weight of a keyboard, unless that is desired. The lightweight, versatile design is constructed to withstand typical use on a job site, including the occasional drop onto a dirt parking lot. It features a screen that is visible in sunlight so that several workers can huddle around for an impromptu meeting to view blueprints or track online orders.
In addition, the mobile computer can connect online via its broadband wireless cellular card, giving the user full access to the Internet and their office networks using Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003 capabilities, including Outlook for e-mail, Streets & Trips 2006 for real-time mapping and Internet Explorer for Web browsing.
While on the road, the Ford mobile office system can be used as a high-end GPS navigation system providing voice and visually prompted turn-by-turn directions so drivers can keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Microsoft Streets & Trips 2006 can optimize driving routes between multiple locations, while road construction updates are pulled down via the Internet. The Ford mobile office system is also an entertainment unit to play MP3 files or listen to Internet radio over the vehicle’s stereo system.
When parked, the Ford mobile office system provides for all the necessary tools to keep working when away from the office.
“Whether you are using the Microsoft Office Suite for keeping up with e-mail; synchronizing contacts and calendars; creating or editing documents, spreadsheets or presentations; or using Internet Explorer to surf the World Wide Web, the mobile office system is the portal that keeps you connected,” Dilger said. “The long-term commitment by Microsoft and its partners to the automotive industry continues to provide new ways to harness the power of software so automakers can improve how they manufacture and market new vehicles, and consumers can more safely and reliably make life work in the car.”
About Microsoft in Automotive
Microsoft has been working with the automotive industry for more than a decade. In manufacturing, Microsoft Automotive and Industrial Equipment Vertical works with industry-leading partners to develop solutions based on Microsoft technologies that enable original equipment manufacturers, suppliers and customers to improve efficiency, effectiveness and knowledge across the business. Through business applications, .NET technologies and enterprise platform support, manufacturers are able to accelerate time to market, collaborate globally with engineers, reduce costs by leveraging the power of the Internet, and increase visibility into their production and supply chain processes.
From an in-vehicle technology perspective, Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit works collaboratively with the auto industry to deliver a wide range of in-car communication, navigation and infotainment experiences. Microsoft technology is on the road today in 28 preinstalled and dealer option or aftermarket devices from 18 world-class automakers and suppliers including Acura, BMW, Volvo, Fiat, Subaru, Honda, Hyundai, DaimlerChrysler, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Alpine and Pioneer.
MSN® Autos, launched in October 1995, is one of the world’s largest networks of automotive buying and ownership services, visited by more than 12 million consumers each month. From product reviews and surround video features to new- and used-car pricing, MSN Autos helps consumers find the car they love, at a price they can afford. With details on more than 10,000 vehicle makes and models, and 70,000 used vehicles, visitors can research and compare, identify local dealers, and receive instructions for post-purchase service and maintenance. MSN Autos has a network of more than 7,500 affiliated dealers nationwide.
More information can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/automotive.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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