Ford managed to change the perception of the car and make the blue oval sing with SYNC, a connectivity gateway for all devices inside the car. SYNC allowed drivers to safely operate their favorite gadgets in the vehicle using voice control. After an initial release in 2007, SYNC quickly evolved to become an infotainment platform.
To maintain its lead in infotainment, Ford continues to innovate at an ever-increasing pace. In order to enable third-party developers to create applications for its customers, Ford created a mechanism whereby mobile applications running on smartphones can interact safely with the vehicle through SYNC.
AppLink was born. AppLink is the application-programming interface (API) that a mobile application uses to register and call to access the various SYNC peripherals (buttons, displays, audio). EB implemented AppLink’s functional specification using an open communication protocol designed in collaboration with Ford. AppLink provides Ford partners—Pandora, Stitcher, and OpenBeak—with the ability to develop SYNC-enabled applications.
SYNC added buzz to Ford products from the get-go, and EB was instrumental in that endeavor. Alan Mulally, Ford CEO, emphasized in his keynote at the 2010 CES that the SYNC technology has been critical in the sale of Ford vehicles. In surveys, 32% of buyers said that SYNC was important or critical in their decision to buy a Ford vehicle. Ford now ranks as the fifth most innovative company in mobile technology.