Consumer Electronics Show Highlight: Ford SYNC AppLink Developer Program Launch

Today I spoke with a Development System Engineer from the Ford SYNC AppLink Team at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and he was extremely enthusiastic about their launch of their API which enables developers of Android and iOS mobile applications to use the SYNC AppLink SDK APIs so a developer may take advantage of SYNC through your mobile device.  The SYNC AppLink software development kit (SDK) the software engineer admitted that the library was relatively limited to roughly 50 API calls (estimate off the cuff), however, they are constantly looking to expand the SDK.  They are recommending utilizing the Voice Recognition API as an example.

As I explored the conversation with this System Engineer / Developer, I tossed a few ideas, and wanted to see the direction of the team.  I suggested expanding the SYNC technology to link the system to measuring tire air pressure, fuel, oil, and other liquids, as well as ‘by the book’ scheduled maintenance, air filtration quality, and so on.  Then the SYNC AppLink team would expose these functions through the SDK, so that mobile application developers can create applications from dashboards, which sync with the phone through Bluetooth automatically every time the user gets in the car, and has an up to date check of their whole car health and maintenance in or out of the vehicle.   There are endless opportunities, such as mobile notifications on low fuel, maintenance, and even may enter a reminder in a task list named after your car, e.g. need 60 thousand mile maintenance, and oil quality poor, must change oil.

There were some potential limitations such as the display of the SYNC system, the SYNC AppLink Development team try to steer clear from distracting the user by exposing the APIs which may allow the mobile development users to modify the graphical user interface, e.g. flashing menus, which may distract the user, and may cause an accident, which would potentially have liability concerns.  At most, they are looking to allow mobile application developers using the SYNC AppLink SDK to push smartphone pictures to an image frame, so you can see your phone pictures.  However, in my humble opinion, there may be significant opportunities, such as a sexier, and more accurate equalizer controls.  At last, we have the ability for SYNC AppLink SDK developers in the future to access information from your phone, such as calendar, stocks, tasks, and use the car sound system and SYNC microphone to add, hear, delete, and subtract any information from your mobile device.

I walked down the isle to another company, chargepoint, which manufactures charging stations, which are reasonably priced for stations at 5 to 10 thousand USD.  This is a system which is rugged and can endure outdoor conditions.  If we take the SYNC technology and integrate it into a Ford Hybrid & Electric Vehicle to analyze electric usage and be able to maximize your electrical charge.  Chargepoint happens to also have an the ability to have an affinity card.  That is for another post.  There are quite a few stories, and it is still early in the week.  Looking for the diamonds in the rough.

One note, although Ford went after Google Android and iOS first because of market share,  you can be sure, Windows Mobile 8 is not far behind.

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