PressClub Asia · Article.
My BMW App and MINI App. The new-generation apps for BMW and MINI customers now available in Singapore.
12.04.2021 Press Kit
• New services to support individual electromobility • Intuitive user experience and a new-look design
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Singapore. Ever since the introduction of the BMW i Remote app in 2013, followed by the BMW Connected app, BMW has offered its customers the option of effortless connectivity between their smartphone and vehicle. Today, a new-generation app is available to BMW and MINI customers in Singapore: the My BMW App and MINI App feature a new-look design, intuitive and simplified user experience, and new services to support individual electromobility.
By mid-2021, the smartphone apps will be available in 23 languages and more than 40 countries, including the USA, Canada, Brazil and Mexico, as well as additional markets in Southeast Asia. Underpinning the rapid expansion of the two apps’ content and its fast-paced rollout is a scalable and universal software architecture. This has been fully developed in-house by the BMW Group using Flutter, an open-source UI development kit from Google for the Dart programming language. The BMW Group’s Flutter/Dart development team is one of the world’s largest after Google’s, bringing together a total of 300 employees.
"With the new app generation, we are taking a further step in extending the digital customer experience around our vehicles and thus meeting the increased customer demand for digital services and functions," said Peter Henrich, Senior Vice President BMW Group Connected Company Customer. "With the My BMW App and the MINI App, we seamlessly integrate our vehicles into the digital lifestyle of our customers. Both apps offer a lot of useful content both for the daily use of the vehicle and in the personal interaction with us as a brand, which we are continuously expanding".
Stephan Durach, Senior Vice President BMW Group Connected Company Development, Technical Operations, adds: “My BMW App and the MINI App set the standard for usability, safety and reliability. User feedback and information on the behaviour of users of the previous generation of the app were critical to the development process. The two apps include popular and frequently used functions, and the new platform allows us to continuously add new functionality, adapted to our customers’ needs.”
Highlights of the two smartphone apps.
- The My BMW App and the MINI App are the new universal interfaces to BMW and MINI models. Both apps run on iOS and Android operating systems, and can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The apps display information on the status of the vehicle and, depending on the equipment, allows functions to be activated remotely (e.g. to locate the vehicle, lock and unlock the doors). In addition, BMW owners are also able to monitor the vehicle surroundings via the Remote 3D View accessible through the My BMW App.
- Destinations are easy to find via the integrated search function and can be sent directly from the app to the vehicle’s navigation system. It is also possible to transmit destinations from third-party apps. The map shows the current traffic situation, filling stations and charging stations, as well as parking options.
- The app offers additional features for electrified BMW and MINI vehicles, including an improved overview of the electric range, charging status, and charging history. With the Charging Plan, customers can immediately see important information such as the start time and duration at one glance, and enable of pre-conditioning (to cool the vehicle parked under the hot sun, for example) as well. They can also optimise the charging process by defining specific time slots for charging and set departure times. Searching for charging stations are also easier than ever before – drivers can find suitable charging facilities on the go by quickly adding or removing various search parameters (provider, compatibility, charge speed, etc.). Customers will also receive push notifications informing them of the current charging status.
- The My BMW App and MINI App offers easy access to the BMW Group ecosystem. It can be used to contact BMW and MINI Service Partners directly, and customers can keep an eye on their vehicle’s service requirements in the app. BMW and MINI Roadside Assistance can also be contacted via the app if there are any issues with the vehicle.
- BMW customers are informed of available Remote Software Upgrades via the My BMW App and can easily download these upgrades at home before transferring them to and installing them in the vehicle. With Remote Software Upgrades, the BMW Group offers customers with BMW Operating System 7.0 new and improved digital features on a regular basis and the ability to ensure that their vehicle software is always up to date.
- The BMW Digital Key, which turns an iPhone into a vehicle key, offers convenient set-up via the My BMW App in just a few steps (the necessary hardware needs to be available in the vehicle). The BMW can then be used without a physical key and this access can be shared with up to five other people. If desired, restricted rights, such as a reduced maximum speed, can also be applied when sending a key – perfect for novice drivers.
- Personalisation: The My BMW App makes it even easier for customers to log in to any current BMW model with their personal BMW ID. With this feature, individual preferences can be set in any current BMW vehicle quickly and automatically. Thanks to the My BMW App, logging in is now even easier – instead of manually entering a username and password, customers can simply scan a QR code to securely transfer their user settings. Users can also choose a profile picture via the app, which is now automatically transferred to the vehicle.
Customers are encouraged to make the switch early, before the current BMW Connected and MINI Connected apps cease operation from July 2021. Users who are already registered on the previous apps can use their existing login information, and they do not need to re-register themselves for signing in to the new My BMW App and MINI App.
In-house development makes consistent use of cutting-edge technologies and componentry from big tech players.
The My BMW App and MINI App are new developments that provide a technologically future-proof foundation. Their scalable universal architecture will support future requirements and is a crucial factor here, allowing new functions and customer requests to be implemented easily. This will additionally pave the way for constant advances, with multiple updates every year allowing functionality to be continually expanded. The modular approach to each app has other benefits, too; e.g. the app platform can be readily used for other BMW Group brands while also making it compatible with a broad spectrum of language and infrastructure variants, and vehicle and on-board network generations.
“The new app platform is built on three pillars: user friendliness, safety and reliability,” explains Dr. Nicolai Krämer, Vice President Offboard Platform BMW Group. “It provides a consistently designed set of functions spanning all brands on the basis of feedback and our customers’ usage behaviour. Targeted application of industry standards and their integration into the global software community allows us to focus on the core technical issues that bring about a worthwhile enhancement of our products and services.”
The software platform for the My BMW App and MINI App is known within the BMW Group by the name Mobile 2.0 App Core. Developed 100% in-house, it embraces the very latest technologies and features a broad technology stack, i.e. a data ecosystem with a variety of components from big tech players. Thanks to its Flutter framework – an open-source UI development kit created by Google – and crossplatform design written in the Dart language, the two apps support the iOS and Android operating systems using a single code base. At the same time, MS Azure from Microsoft was used to integrate a development environment with a full continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery/deployment (CD) pipeline in order to automate the apps’ ongoing development process. The apps’ backend for frontend architectural pattern for superior ease of use builds on platforms as a service (PaaS) that likewise originate from Microsoft. The term ‘backend for frontend’ means, for instance, that the apps’ functionality can be expanded or potential error sources eliminated without the customer having to download new versions of the apps after the modifications have been carried out. Cloudification also plays an essential role, because the apps basically offer all functions, these can be displayed dynamically cloud-controlled depending on the vehicle equipment and market characteristics. Many of the apps’ backend components, meanwhile, run on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud infrastructure.
“The BMW Group’s Flutter software development team is one of the largest in the world after Google’s own,” says Dr. Krämer. “As well as working on internal projects, our experts also offer software components externally as members of the Flutter community.”