MILAN, Italy – Ford today at Milan Design Week showcased the SYNC AppLink system and the all-new EcoSport compact SUV that will be among the first Ford vehicles in Europe to offer the voice-activated system.
Ford is collaborating directly with the leading music streaming service Spotify to bring its music service into the car through SYNC AppLink, which enables drivers to voice-control apps, and also will partner in Europe with smartphone app service providers Kaliki Audio Newsstand, Glympse and Aha.
“Advances in smartphone connectivity are already shaping Ford’s vehicle designs through features such as AppLink,” said Ford Global Trend and Futuring Manager Sheryl Connelly. “Keeping one-step ahead of technological and social trends helps us develop cars that integrate with customer lifestyles.”
Equipped with SYNC AppLink, the new Ford EcoSport will enable customers to voice-control smartphone apps from the driver’s seat as part of the Ford SYNC connectivity system. Spotify provides on-demand access to a catalogue of more than 20 million songs globally. Further Ford partnerships include:
Kaliki Audio Newsstand, which provides audible playback of newspaper and magazine articles with radio-talent voices and is expanding to offer European language content from news sources such as Agence France-Presse and entertainment titles such as Public and Première
Glympse, which allows Ford drivers to share their location and estimated time of arrival with friends and family, all in real-time on a dynamic map, directly from their vehicle using simple voice commands
Aha, which delivers more than 30,000 stations of audio entertainment and information to the car, allowing drivers to safely access web-based music, news, Facebook and Twitter, personalised restaurant recommendations and hotels, weather reports and more
Ford also is making history as the first auto manufacturer to take part in the internationally renowned furniture design fair, Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan. The Ford Design Lounge will host a “Democratisation of Design and Technology” panel debate and display unique designs inspired by Ford styling.
The three unique Ford Design studies on display in Milan – a chair, lamp and watch – are inspired by aspects of Ford’s unique design DNA, such as the trapezoid silhouette that shapes the Ford grille, interior surfacing details and LED light technology. Connelly will moderate the panel discussion, which also will include Ford of Europe Design Director Martin Smith, Sony Mobile Senior Designer Thomas Waldner, and Bocconi University Professor of Strategy Carlo Alberto Carnevale Maffè.
“There’s always a huge amount of interest in Salone del Mobile within Ford’s design department and many of our designers go there each year in search of inspiration,” Smith said. “We are turning things on their head by showing how automotive design can influence the way furniture looks and feels.”