Doubtlessly, the influence of the two Silicon Valley giants, Apple and Google has been felt beyond telecom devices and the internet. Regarding in-car infotainment for instance, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have been thus far proven unbeatable by automotive firms -- but not so with Ford.
In collaboration with Toyota, the US-based automaker believes it can fight back. Even though some people have laughed off the move, Don Butler, Ford’s Executive Director responsible for their "Connected Vehicle and Services Division" can’t imagine ceding ground to Apple and Google. Speaking recently at an automotive conference, Butler says that Ford has the necessary “capability and the expertise within the vehicle”.
Fired up by a report from SBD, a global analytics company, Ford seeks to leverage customer loyalty. The report indicated that customers who are satisfied with their in-car infotainment features are 5.7% more likely to remain loyal to their brand.
Perhaps, this move couldn’t have come at a better time. Grappling with plummeting customer ratings, Ford can bounce back and give the much coveted positive digital experience to the younger generations.
Butler further says that Ford would be pleased to partner with cities to bolster traffic flow. Ford Smart Mobility is Ford’s new subsidiary that offers solutions to problems like congestion in cities. Butler agrees that different areas have different cultures and unique problems. That means Ford Smart Mobility must understand new areas properly in order to offer tailored solutions.
A number of communities were curious to know when they could start collaborative partnerships on these issues. But Butler failed to give definitive timelines. Still, even with scanty details, speculation is rife that Austin will be Ford’s first stop. Indeed, the company has been piloting a project in the city, to see whether travellers can effectively ride share and still stick with their schedules.
If the project succeeds and Ford's in-car infotainment technology muscles out some of Silicon's giants, the company will have stamped out authority in an area believed beyond their realm.
Image source: flickr.com