By Vincent Hennigan, Sync Specialist
A Consumer Reports article took a shot at Ford Motor Company by saying the MyFord Touch systems STINK. Come on CR, you can’t make technology go away!
I look at this issue from a whole different perspective. I think the real issue is learning, adapting and using new technology in vehicles. Some drivers say new technologies, such as Bluetooth streaming music, voice-activated navigation systems or adaptive cruise controls are too complicated. Some say it is too distracting. Others are used to carrying and using a smartphone and they think vehicle technologies are too slow and don’t offer enough options.
Let’s just generally say older drivers are more comfortable with the “old school” of driving. They like few controls, they prefer buttons and knobs that you can actually turn, push or click, and they love simplicity. And, let’s just generally say drivers under the age of 25 feel comfortable listening to their own music, using voice commands to find the closest pizza at the best price and hearing an assortment of chirps and beeps that remind them to stay within the white lines.
I am one of new type of automotive salespeople. I dive into every new piece of technology I can find. I read about, I use it, I compare it to other systems, and I teach others how to use it. Just the other day I had a former Lexus owner challenge me. They said they understood and used their Lexus hands-free infotainment system and loved it. They had traded that car in to get a new Ford Edge. My job was to give them a personal technology consultation and help them learn and adapt to the MyFord Touch. After the presentation the customer was excited to see how much more they could get from the MyFord Touch system. I can’t count the number of drivers, in the 60- to 75-year old age range, that can’t believe how “cool” it is to have the MyFord Touch system. Many of them can’t wait to impress their grandkids with the technologies in their new vehicle.
Most of it is mindset… I don’t present the MyFord Touch system as cumbersome, complicated and difficult to understand. I present the ease of use, the variety of commands it can handle and the safest way to get the most out of your car. In other words, my mission is to explain technology, show how to use it, demonstrate how to integrate it into your learning mode, and help you create your own fantastic driving experience.
As I mentioned, I’m one of a new type of automotive salespeople. Most high-line auto companies, such as Mercedes, BMW, Lexus and, yes, Ford, have created dedicated employees whose jobs entail teaching, showing and demonstrating all of the technology in their vehicles. These product specialists don’t differ so much from the Best Buy Geek Squad or the folks at the Apple Store’s Genius Bar.
So the folks at Consumer Reports should look around and notice the trends in all of the world’s market places. You can use your smartphone to turn your lights on when you’re away from home, you can program your thermostats, you can give your refrigerator voice commands – and people are requesting and paying for these conveniences. I’m sure the salespeople at Best Buy just don’t sell you a 60-inch liquid plasma television and expect the consumer to figure it out for themselves. They probably offer some assistance in getting familiar with the set up and the use of the TV. The same is happening at most auto dealers. However, it seems that the folks at Consumer Reports didn’t get that personal technology overview. Maybe they didn’t take the time to understand and use the MyFord Touch system better. If they would like to set an appointment, I would show them how to use MyFord Touch. I would be able to answer their questions and help them get more out of the system.
Oh, and on the topic of this technology being dangerous because it distracts drivers. These new systems have been tested to find ways to make it was easy to use and as to be as capable as possible. Lack of understanding of these tools can be dangerous. So it’s recommended that drivers learn how to use their vehicles as safely as possible. The best place to learn about your vehicle is when you are parked in the driveway because being familiar with the tools and being comfortable with using them is what makes for safer driving on the road. Once again, lack of knowledge can be dangerous. Misuse of technology can be dangerous, so learning and adapting technology into your driving can improve your performance.
Yes, there are some who want simplicity. So you have to concede that if you want to fight technology and cling to a simpler past, well, then the world might just keep marching ahead of you. Or, you can get in the driver’s seat, push the “voice” button and say “let’s go!”
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I work everyday as a technology consultant to help vehicle owners who are wanting to get the most out of their in-vehicle technology. I am a former news reporter, graphic designer and photographer who has spent more than 8 years in the automotive industry learning about the developments and advancements. This blog is read by people around the world who want to become more “tech savvy” while enjoying their drive time to work, home, school and play.