The customer experience at BMW - especially when taking delivery at the factory in Europe - is a unique one, soon to be made more unique by the inclusion of Microsoft's Surface, a multi-touch screen capable of some rather impressive maneuvers. BMW is the first carmaker in the world to implement the technology in a commercial environment, in its Product Navigator - though it's not yet headed to the cars themselves.
Instead, BMW will use the Surface displays to help customers design and customize their cars. Multi-touch capability enables users to zoom in, rotate, flip and pan through a range of materials intuitively, much like one would manipulate objects in the real world, except within the confines of a computer display screen.
In addition to adding an element of fun to the design process, it allows easy collaboration between two or more people at the same time. By setting samples of some colors or materials on the screen, the image displayed will immediate change to reflect that choice. The whole time, pictures and video of the car being desinged are displayed on a paired, vertical video screen.
Once the car is configured as desired, the specifications and images can be printed out for later use in the buying process.
By Nelson Ireson