- The all-new Focus is the first Ford vehicle built in ASEAN to feature Ford SYNC® connectivity platform, which will soon be widely available across the region
- The award-winning system provides customers the convenience and flexibility to bring digital media players and Bluetooth®-enabled mobile phones into the new Focus and operate the devices via voice commands and a steering-wheel mounted control
- SYNC can recognise up to 150 voice commands and cope with variations in accents and vocabulary, making it easier to access more content by voice
BANGKOK, Thailand, 26 Mar., 2012 – With mobile phone ownership hitting a saturation point in ASEAN, Ford is aiming to keep its customers connected while on the road by rolling out its global in-car connectivity system across the region. Ford SYNC® will be available on the all-new Ford Focus which goes to market later this year.
The award-winning, hands-free technology allows customers to connect almost any mobile phone or digital media player to their Focus via Bluetooth® and USB connection respectively. The driver is then able to make calls or play his or her favourite music via voice commands and a steering wheel-mounted control, all the time with eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
First introduced in North America, SYNC is now installed in more than 4 million Ford vehicles. With this industry-exclusive system launching across Europe and Asia this year, Ford projects an additional 9 million vehicles will be equipped with SYNC by 2015.
In ASEAN countries such as Thailand, where the number of mobile subscribers exceed the country’s population, SYNC offers a viable solution to those looking to be connected on the go.
“SYNC has been a transformational technology not only for Ford, but for the entire industry,” said Trevor Worthington, Ford’s product programs director, Product Development, Asia Pacific and Africa (APA). “SYNC has been integral to keeping pace with the consumer, delivering value through smart and convenient features that helps keep them connected to their digital lives in a safer, simpler and smarter way.”
Powered by Microsoft, Ford’s open platform approach to mobile device connectivity has helped SYNC stand out in the industry for its ease of use, allowing for continuous improvement of the user experience. Unlike embedded connectivity systems, SYNC does not allow access to the user’s stored contact information unless his or her phone is connected, hence ensuring a high level of privacy.
Using Bluetooth technology, SYNC can wirelessly connect up to eight different mobile phones to the all-new Focus through a process called pairing. Once paired, SYNC will automatically transfer all the names and numbers in the phone’s contact list to the in-vehicle system.
A microphone inside the cabin allows consumers to use their mobile phone hands-free while driving. Making a phone call is as simple as pushing a button and saying someone’s name. SYNC also enables Focus customers to continue their mobile phone conversation as they get into the car – without the need to hang up – as the system will instantly connect to the Bluetooth®-enabled phone once the car is started.
By seamlessly integrating with the mobile phone, SYNC includes the same features offered on the phone, including caller ID, call waiting, conference calling, a caller log, contact list, a signal strength icon and a phone battery charge icon – all conveniently shown on the new Focus’ centrally-located display screen.
SYNC can recognize the user’s ringtone on supported phones and play it when a call comes in. If unique ring tones have been selected to identify specific callers, SYNC will automatically play those too.
When connected to a compatible phone, SYNC can even retrieve text messages and read them aloud, including popular abbreviations and emoticons such as LOL (laugh out loud) and 😀 (big smile). Using voice activation, the driver can also send a reply from a predetermined list of 15 responses while on the move.
Other than making and receiving calls, SYNC gives the driver full hands-free control over portable media players and USB storage devices. Users can browse their music collection by genre, album, artist, playlist or song title using voice commands. SYNC can even put together a playlist of the music the driver is in the mood for with the “Play similar” command. The SYNC USB port also simultaneously charges the player as the music is being played.
Additionally, SYNC can wirelessly stream the user’s music collection on the mobile phone to the new Focus’ sound system via Bluetooth. All music played through SYNC is high-resolution digital quality.
Voice control improvements
ASEAN customers who are already familiar with the new Fiesta’s Bluetooth with Voice Control system will find that SYNC takes in-car connectivity to another level.
Other than being able to automatically transfer contact information from the mobile phone to the new Focus, SYNC can recognise up to 150 unique voice commands and cope with variations in accents and vocabulary. This allows users to take fewer steps and utilize more conversational commands to control SYNC features, making it easier to access more content by voice.
In ASEAN, SYNC will be available in UK English. Ford has been working with its voice technology partner and industry leader Nuance Communications to find a way to make voice recognition even easier and more intuitive for drivers to successfully use, especially first-timers.
Nuance’s natural text-to-speech technology is also behind “Samantha,” the female voice of SYNC, providing drivers with a more natural, conversational experience with their Ford vehicle. All of these refinements are designed to encourage drivers to take advantage of the hands-free capabilities of SYNC and keep their focus on driving.
“We know people want to stay connected in their vehicles, so Ford is continuing to deliver that connectivity for them responsibly and safely,” said Rod Phillips, SYNC engineering manager, APA. “We aim to make the voice-activated SYNC as easy to use as possible so that drivers can keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.”