Ford Motor, an American multinational automaker
has announced a new technology to enable connectivity features normally only available on new modem-equipped vehicles. Using a simple device called SmartLink, the company is aiming to add connected features to 2010-2016 model Ford and Lincoln
vehicles that are not equipped with built-in modems.
The device plugs into the OBD II port below the steering wheel, and can be accessed via the user’s smartphone and an app to remotely start a car or lock and unlock its doors. Furthermore, it also comes with a wifi capability for up to eight devices in their car, and provides access to vehicle health, safety alerts and vehicle location services such as geo-fencing a certain area. The technology also claims to enable customers to schedule their appointments with dealers.
“Ford SmartLink will surprise and delight owners of recent model-year vehicles by adding some of today’s most popular connectivity features. Offering it through our dealerships is another way to keep us connected with our customers and earn their loyalty,” said Stephen Odell, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford Motor.
With more than two years of research and development invested, the Ford SmartLink team of engineers, in collaboration with Delphi Automotive
and Verizon Telematics
, have ensured the technology will work seamlessly with Ford and Lincoln vehicles.
NOTE: Earlier this month, Delphi Automotive announced the acquisition of Movimento to leverage big data for product enhancements and service cost savings to its customers.
“From security to performance, we’ve conducted extensive testing and made a number of improvements to ensure Ford SmartLink enhances the customer experience for our owners,” said Raj Nair, Executive Vice President, Global Product Development, and chief technical officer at Ford Motor.
“We are thrilled to offer this level of convenience and connectivity to our existing customers, extending the value of their vehicles and giving them just one more reason to love their Ford and Lincoln vehicles,” Nair added.
Brett Wheatley, Executive Director, Customer Service Division, Ford Motor (North America) announced SmartLink would be available for purchase from the beginning of this summer at Ford and Lincoln dealerships. He further revealed that it would be made be available to buy online too. The company has not provided any pricing information yet.
Connectivity while driving has become an inescapable need in this age of digitization. While mobile hotspots and LTE dongles have become a lookout factor in cars today, one cannot be content with the varying speeds most of the time. On the other hand, automakers like BMW, Cadillac, Toyata (and many others) have launched cars with built-in wifi connectivity, but the older models lag behind in the race.
Ford is trying to fill this gap with SmartLink, but again the services are limited to certain models. This can be regarded as a smart move on the company’s part, but what remains to be seen is how the other older models join the “connected” league in the near future.