Singapore-headquartered Grab will adopt Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, with the tech giant also making a strategic investment in the company.
The partnership will see Grab leverage the Azure platform to deepen machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, in an effort to scale amid company expansion plans.
"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.
"As a global technology leader, Microsoft’s investment into Grab highlights our 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."
Grab operates in 235 cities across eight Southeast Asian countries, with the company's digital wallet, GrabPay, a significant player in the region.
Grab has been on a significant expansion drive recently, seeing a partnership model as the best growth model for Southeast Asia.
In June, Grab launched a new innovation arm, Grab Ventures, aimed at uncovering disruptive companies and regional talent in Southeast Asia, as well as Velocity, an accelerator programme for growth-stage start-ups.
Originally starting as a ride-hailing app, the company has evolved into an innovative online-to-offline (O2O) mobile platform, launching several complimentary services across the region, most recently, GrabFood and GrabCycle.
“Our partnership with Grab opens up new opportunities to innovate in both a rapidly evolving industry and growth region,” said Peggy Johnson, executive vice president at Microsoft.
“We are 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."
Grab also plans on piloting Microsoft’s Kaizala, a mobile app and service for large group communications and work management, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Grab’s customer service teams.
Microsoft’s machine learning and AI capabilities will also be used to power Grab’s advanced ‘recommendation engine’ that analyses user data and behaviour to provide personalised services and content recommendations through the Grab application.
There are also plans for Grab to work with Microsoft to explore image recognition and computer vision technologies that will improve the user and driver pickup experience.
Such a service would allow passengers to take a photo of their current location and have it translated into an actual address for the driver.