New App makes your car “geo-aware”

With the Sync system and its AppLink compatibility, drivers can now get real-time alerts that will help them find deals and specials with ease from the app ROXIMITY.

With the Sync system and its AppLink compatibility, drivers can now get real-time alerts based on your vehicle being “geo-aware.”

It’s possible with the release of ROXIMITY, a real-time, location-aware alert service that lets users know of surrounding deals and specials. ROXIMITY was the winner of the Ford SYNC® App Developer Challenge at the 2011 TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon with its new app for iOS devices. The app is compatible with SYNC AppLink, Ford’s hands-free, voice-controlled mobile connectivity technology. This is found on newer Fords, such as Escape, Fiesta, Edge, Escape and others.

“The launch of ROXIMITY is truly exciting for us, since it was the SYNC in-car experience that sparked the team to go from idea to reality,” said Doug VanDagens, global director of Ford Connected Services. “Finding and supporting startups like ROXIMITY is what will keep Ford at the forefront of in-car connectivity innovations. With ROXIMITY we become the first automaker to offer a personalized daily deal location service.”

The list of apps supported by AppLink has now grown to thirteen. Ford also counts MOG, Pandora, TuneIn, Slacker, and iHeartRadio among the music-oriented apps it supports. Other selections include Scout navigation, NPR News, and OpenBeak for Twitter, the IMS Health’s Allergy App (which gives drivers allergy updates) and now ROXIMITY. With SYNC AppLink compatibility, ROXIMITY provides a convenient way to improve a consumer’s time behind the wheel while running errands. When drivers connect their phone to SYNC via USB and activate AppLink, they can simply use their voice to ask ROXIMITY for any special deals nearby within designated retail categories, including restaurants, home services, spas and salons, and men’s or women’s clothing.

ROXIMITY enables registered users to input individual preferences and interests. Then, as users drive, walk or bike past a restaurant or store that might have a deal or special they would find appealing, a push notification is sent to their phone informing them of what they are near.

“While driving, users can simply say, ‘lunch deals,’ and their favorite lunch options will be read out loud,” says Danny Newman, co-founder and CEO of ROXIMITY. “There’s nothing like ROXIMITY. Other deal services offer coupons for the entire metropolitan area or for things that are not relevant to you. ROXIMITY is personalized and will provide you what you want, when you want it.”

ROXIMITY was given access by Ford to the company’s SYNC AppLink application programming interface (API) so the team could integrate its new idea to be compatible with the in-vehicle connectivity system.

Click here to see a video of the creators of ROXIMITY.

In 2011, ROXIMITY was nothing more than a seed of an idea scribbled in a notebook. When Newman and his partners Austin Gayer and Joe Mease showed up at the TechCrunch Hackathon, they knew they wanted to develop that idea. They saw Ford was title sponsor of the event and looking for the next big idea, and everything just clicked. ROXIMITY is the first app to have AppLink compatibility at its initial launch.

“It’s great to be a part of ROXIMITY from the beginning,” says Stefan Bankowski, Ford SYNC AppLink engineer. “When they pitched the idea, we knew this had the potential to be a driver’s best friend. Adding voice control to check for deals and specials adds a layer of convenience to driving, and allows drivers to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

“Ford is always looking to collaborate with innovators,” Bankowski adds. “With the fast pace of development in the tech industry, we know great ideas are out there, we just need to find them and provide access to our SYNC platform, just like we did with ROXIMITY.”

ROXIMITY is a free app and service that lets users choose from multiple settings to indicate the type of deal notifications they would like to receive. Users can then set text or push notification preferences for their deal alerts on a smartphone or even a “feature” phone.

As users interact with the app over time, the ROXIMITY platform learns their interests and patterns and becomes more aware of the offers the user will find appealing. Users have the ability to limit the number of deals ROXIMITY reports per day or week.

When connected through SYNC AppLink, drivers can activate ROXIMITY to verbally relay deals at their request while driving. SYNC AppLink integration enables drivers to use simple voice commands to access a list of deals nearby or in specific retail categories. The voice commands and features include: “Find nearby deals” commands the app to search for all deals, regardless of category, in a predefined search radius set within the app preferences.  “List deal categories” reminds you of all retail categories, including: Restaurants, Spa and Salon, Health and Fitness, Men’s Clothing, Women’s Clothing, Food and Grocery, Bars and Clubs, Treats, Home Services, Auto Services, Entertainment, Sports Events, Concerts, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Late Night.  “Call Retailer” directly dials the retailer, using hands-free SYNC, allowing you to easily take advantage of the deal, such as ordering a pizza

With ROXIMITY, users can find and redeem hundreds of thousands of offers nationwide from favorite places such as Banana Republic, Express, GameStop, Gap, H&M, PacSun, Pottery Barn, Qdoba, The Body Shop, Williams-Sonoma and more. ROXIMITY is now available for download in the App Store for iOS devices and users can register for the service here. A version for Android devices is in development.

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