Microsoft and Kymeta show off ‘always connected’ SUVs, combining cloud, IoT and satellite technology

(Microsoft Photo)

Microsoft and Kymeta have teamed up to build “always connected” patrol and tactical vehicles designed to help law enforcement agencies and first responders communicate in the field.

Microsoft built a pair of demo Chevy SUVs outfitted with Kymeta’s KyWay satellite terminal — the white panel on top of the car in the photo — as well as integration with Microsoft’s Azure Cloud services, Windows and other hardware and software. The alliance turns these vehicles into data centers on wheels, essentially, able to facilitate communications no matter how remote a location and quickly upload images and video to the cloud.

“Microsoft’s Azure cloud-based services can be locally replicated in a deployed environment such as a patrol vehicle, firehouse or command post, and can significantly enhance the capabilities of first responders and defense users, especially when using drones, robots, and IoT devices. Combined with Microsoft Artificial Intelligence tools, this forms the intelligent edge, enabled by Microsoft and Kymeta,” said Scott Montgomery, senior industry solution manager, Microsoft. “This is a huge leap forward provided by the combined Microsoft-Kymeta solution, using Kymeta’s advanced flat-panel satellite antenna technology to enable reliable mobile communications, in a way that has never been done before.”

Microsoft and Kymeta will show off the demo cars at a defense industry conference in Tampa next week and a connectivity event in Charlotte.

For Microsoft, this alliance is another example of the company’s emphasis on the “intelligent edge,” the practice of devices running in the field without a persistent dependence on the cloud, and its continuing focus on the next generation of the Internet of Things. Kymeta builds satellite communications devices, and in the last few months has introduced a portable connection device and one designed for vehicles on the move.

Microsoft and Kymeta are both based in Redmond, Wash. Kymeta spun out from Intellectual Ventures in 2012 with backing from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and other high-profile investors. The company raised $73.5 million a little over a year ago, bringing its total funding to nearly $200 million, to continue developing its satellite technology.

Separate from the connected-car project with Microsoft, Kymeta also announced a deal with Florida-based CopaSAT to be a distribution partner helping the U.S. Department of Defense install and integrate Kymeta products into their operations.

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