Auto Service World
Feature   March 10, 2016   by Steve Pawlett

Growing The Connected Car Community

A number of automakers and industry suppliers, led by
Toyota Motor Corporation, are choosing to adopt Ford’s SmartDeviceLink software to give consumers more choice in how they connect and control their smartphone apps on the road.
SmartDeviceLink is the open-source software on which the Ford Sync AppLink platform is built. It provides consumers an easy way to access their favourite smartphone apps using voice commands. Automotive suppliers QNX Software
Systems and UIEvolution are also adopting the technology. Ottawa-based QNX Software Systems is a BlackBerry subsidiary and offers a comprehensive portfolio of infotainment, telematics, safety, and acoustics solutions deployed in more than 60 million vehicles worldwide.
By adopting this Ford technology, automakers and suppliers are establishing an industry standard that will result in an increase in the number of apps available for in-vehicle use. With common industry software established, developers can then focus on creating the best experience on one platform. Automakers Honda, Mazda, Subaru, and PSA Peugeot Citroen are now considering adding the software.
This is a huge step for the auto industry. The true benefit of a common smartphone app interface is that it creates an industry standard which will ensure a great customer experience while allowing different companies the freedom
to differentiate their individual brands.
SmartDeviceLink-equipped vehicles enable drivers to manage popular smartphone apps using display screens, buttons, and/or voice recognition commands. Popular music apps such as Spotify and iHeartRadio, information apps including AccuWeather and MLB, retail apps such as Domino’s, and a growing list of apps from around the world are already available for Ford AppLink users.
Those apps become more readily available in vehicles equipped with SmartDeviceLink because developers have access to higher volumes of vehicles and new capabilities. For automakers and suppliers, SmartDeviceLink adoption broadens the choice for customers in how they connect and control their smartphones while on the move. Adoption also supports increased quality and security of the software as multiple parties can collaborate on improvements.
The Ford SYNC, AppLink is currently available on more than five million Ford vehicles globally, and the technology is expected to reach 28 million more vehicles by 2020.
More than 40 automotive manufacturers use QNX Software Systems, including Ford, which employs the operating system for Sync 3. With QNX’s plans to integrate SmartDeviceLink into its QNX CAR platform for infotainment, which already supports a wide variety of OEM systems, this should help to rapidly expand the interface to millions of vehicles around the world.
By making SmartDeviceLink software available to the open-source community, Ford is providing the industry a way to maintain differentiated, brand-specific entertainment and connectivity systems that deliver on customer expectations for smartphone app integration – regardless of smartphone. SmartDeviceLink on non-Ford vehicles will allow Spotify, Glympse, iHeartRadio, and many other smartphone apps to be easily accessed by drivers. This type of cooperation by key players is a very good thing for the industry. Expect to see more of this in the future. nJN

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