Microsoft and Kymeta show off connected cars

Microsoft connected car
A prototype vehicle designed for disaster response is outfitted with Kymeta’s KyWay flat-panel satellite antenna. (Microsoft / Kymeta Photo)

REDMOND, Wash. — The vehicles sitting in the parking lot here at the headquarters of Kymeta Corp., a flat-panel antenna startup backed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, are a car fan’s dream. But Microsoft’s Scott Montgomery says you have to look under the hood. And under the roof.

“The vehicles themselves are literally just four wheels and an engine to get the platform where we need it to go,” Montgomery, who’s a senior industry solution manager at Redmond-based Microsoft, told GeekWire.

“What I always tell folks is, forget about the cars,” he said. “It’s really not about the cars. It’s about everything that sits within the cars, and also what sits within the cloud.”

The platform is a combination of hardware, software and cloud computing connections that can turn a sport-utility vehicle into a mobile communications hub for police officers, firefighters or disaster response teams, complete with industrial-strength data servers and satellite links.

Kymeta, Microsoft and other vendors organized today’s parking-lot demo to show journalists, officials and VIPs how their platforms can work together to address future worst-case scenarios, such as the West Coast earthquake threat known as the Really Big One.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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