New Ford SYNC AppLink gives drivers a personal navigator

Ford SyncApp from TeleNav

With a new SyncApp, Ford now offers drivers a personal navigator that connects their vehicle and smartphone to make finding your way a lot easier.

Ford announced Jan. 9, 2012 at the Consumer Electronics Show that it has selected Scout® by Telenav, Inc.™ as the personalized navigation service to work with Ford SYNC® AppLink™.

“No two drivers are the same – and even for a single driver, no two trips are exactly the same. We chose Scout for SYNC AppLink because we share Telenav’s vision to provide a more personalized navigation experience for each driver,” said Doug VanDagens, global director of Ford Connected Services.

Available on select Ford Motor Company models, SYNC AppLink is a program that allows drivers to access various smartphone apps using voice commands and buttons on their steering wheel. Scout, also announced at the 2012 International CES, is a new daily personal navigator from Telenav that is available on mobile phones (initially on the iPhone), online at www.scout.me, and soon for Ford SYNC AppLink.

“Scout is a daily personal navigator that effectively eliminates the need to re-enter information every time you switch from a computer to your phone, or from a phone to your car,” said Dariusz Paczuski, vice president of marketing for Telenav. Continue reading

“Early adopters” of iPhone 4S report iOS 5 works well with Ford’s Sync

So far the new Apple iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S are working with the Ford Sync system.

“Early adopters” of iPhone 4S with Apple iOS 5 report the system works well with Ford’s Sync system.

Since June 2010 SyncMyRide forums have been lighting up with questions from users. So far the news is good. Some Apple iOS 3 users reported that their system didn’t work well with Sync systems. Many felt that Ford should “upgrade” their software to solve the issues, but as it turned out, it was Apple who could improve on their phone’s system.

Beta users of Apple iOS 5 and iPhone 4S models  have so far reported that everything works fine. However, there is a large contingent of users who are concerned that they still don’t have the ability to have text messages “read” and converted to voice by the Sync system. Also, a lot of users expect the Sync system to identify Bluetooth audio by artist name and by song title.

Many Sync users who have connected their iPhone or iPod via USB cord to the Sync system like how they can use the “Voice” button to call out commands (“Play Artist U2” or “Play Song Let It Be”). This functionality isn’t there at all or it comes and goes for some. So many users expected the iPhone OS 5 release to address this issue. I’m guessing that it will take more programming by Ford and Microsoft to fix this issue. Continue reading

Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel!

Ford's Sync helps you keep your eye on the road.

Rock legends The Doors had a top hit with the 1970 song, Roadhouse Blues, with the lyrics “keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel.” Little did they know that this would become the rallying cry for development of automobile telematics in the beginning of this century.

With the on-going development of Ford’s hands-free infotainment system, drivers can now get more out of their vehicles. But it does require some getting used to. And, learning something new takes the average person “out of their comfort zone” and forces them to adapt and learn some new things. So often, with the Ford Sync system, users wonder why the message screen says Phone Redial and “where did the music go that I was listening to?”

The thing to remember is that by having a phone “paired” to the Ford Sync system it just means that the cell phone is connected wirelessly to the vehicle’s dashboard. Some Ford Sync systems use a LED screen at the top center of their dash, just above the CD and radio controls (such as the Fusion, Mustang, Escape, Expedition and the F-Series trucks). Some systems use a voice activated touch screen navigation system (such as the Fusion, Mustang, Taurus, Escape, Expedition and the F-Series trucks). Newer models, (such as the Edge and the Explorer) use the MyFord Touch with a touch screen voice activated screen in the top center of the dash, plus 4.2” screens in the driver’s dashboard cluster with steering wheel controls. The Fiesta and Focus use a slightly different MyFord system. Continue reading

Ford Sync says “Bring in the Droids!”

Ford's Sync allows Droid users to stream Pandora and saved music while driving

As we all wait for Apple to release the iPhone 5, many of us have renewed our cell phone contracts and have decided to get a Blackberry, an HTC, an LG or a Samsung Android-based smartphone – and Ford’s Sync  system works well with them.

Sync, the hands-free infotainment system from Ford, is well into its fourth year of production. As cell phones evolve into smart phones, there have been some challenges using a more sophisticated phone with your vehicle’s systems.  One of the challenges is that sometimes a cell phone company will “save” your phone contacts from your old phone and “transfer” them to your new Android phone. Even though we see just one name in our phone system, Sync sees the “old” number as well as the “new” number that has been transferred. This means for some Sync users that when you ask the system to “call” a contact using Sync, it sometimes can’t complete the task because of phone directory confusion.

You might consider trying a “clean” pairing. If you have already paired your Android-based phone to Sync, this means you should delete Sync from your Bluetooth device list on your phone. Go to the Sync menu on your vehicle, select System Setting, select Bluetooth Devices, and then Delete Device.

Begin the pairing process anew with Sync. In the Phone Menu, go to “Add Bluetooth Device,” and tell the system “OK.”  The Sync system will generate a six-digit PIN number. However, use Seek button (the double arrow control) on the steering wheel, or turn the radio tuning knob until your display says “Special PIN.” Then hit OK and the PIN 0000 appears. Then go to your phone’s Settings Folder, go to the Manage Connectivity area and be sure your Bluetooth setting is turned on. Be sure the phone is “Discoverable” and then have it search for new devices. When your phone finds Sync, then select Sync, and it will prompt you to enter the four-digit PIN 0000. Continue reading

New, improved Ford Sync support with more user-friendly website!

The original syncmyride.com web screen, now the site is called support.ford.com

The original syncmyride.com web screen, now the site is called support.ford.com

Ford now has 24/7 support to improve the customer’s experience with the SYNC system – with a rebuilt user-friendly website now called support.ford.com

The critics lash out at Ford for creating too much technology at a rate that’s much too fast. The reality is more like the constant development is just keeping up with the public appetite. Also, bringing so much new and important technology to the vehicle does require a new emphasis on consumer education and support. It’s funny, computer companies never provided this kind of support when as they rolled out new operating systems and new devices over the years.

Now when someone visits support.ford.com (formerly called  www.syncmyride.com)  they are greeted with a user’s perspective of a MyFord Touch system with the words “Sync. Say the word. Available voice-activated technology personalized by the people who use it.” You can choose to review it from the Ford or the Lincoln perspective. Or, if you are already registered, you can go ahead and log in.

For the researchers, this is the biggest plus. You can review almost every function – you can see it and hear it being used so that you can get a feel for it. Continue reading

VHR Sync App allows vehicle Self-Diagnosis

Vehicle Health Report

Car not running right? Ford’s VHR gets up-to-minute info e-mailed to you.

Since 2010, new Ford owners have had a really cool app, built right in their dashboard, which allows them to perform self-diagnostics on their vehicle it’s like having a doctor in the dashboard.

This no-charge program is called Vehicle Health Report and its true, the doctor really does make “house calls.”Since 2009 Ford has been adding into its Sync hands-free telematics system a couple of programs that don’t get much recognition. The 911 Assist and Vehicle Health Report programs require a 2010 or newer Ford with the correct “hardware” and the Sync system.

The one app will automatically dial 911 on a paired phone through the Sync system if your car is in an accident and the airbags deploy.With your phone on and paired to the system, the Sync system calls the nearest 911 operator and relays latitude, longitude and elevation coordinates (thus giving the EMTs a GPS clue as to where you are) and allows you to speak to the 911 operator. With the introduction of the 2015 models, some Fords will also relay to the 911 operator the type of vehicle you are in and how fast you were going at impact.

The Vehicle Health Report app requires a little groundwork before you get the most benefit. When a customer opens a complimentary Sync My Ride account at www.syncmyride.com. A smiliar (and linked) website for internet support is support.ford.com they can specify their preferred dealer, what type of driving conditions they typically experience and more. After users register at syncmyride.com and activate VHR, they can conveniently generate reports using simple voice commands in the vehicle for display on syncmyride.com.

When the user initiates VHR, SYNC collects the vehicle’s mileage and diagnostic data from the major electronic systems and transfers the data to Ford using the customer’s Bluetooth-paired and connected mobile phone or you can have it sent to your preferred e-mail account.

A comprehensive report is generated from vehicle data and includes system information and recommended actions for any displayed vehicle warning indicators, open recalls, Ford scheduled maintenance, and unserviced maintenance and wear items from previous dealer visits.

Users can select to receive a text message or e-mail when their report is ready on syncmyride.com. They can print the report, e-mail it to others or, in one click, be at their preferred dealer’s Web site with their health report information waiting to schedule service online. Depending on the user’s preference settings, SYNC can also deliver a text message alert to the user’s cell phone if a severe issue exists with one of the SYNC-monitored systems.

The VHR system translates complicated codes and descriptions into easy-to-understand language for users and provides recommended actions specific to vehicle’s operating condition and service history.

It also gives users background information on what specific warning indicators mean and details beyond a light. This helps them learn more about their car and provides additional security and peace of mind with their ownership experience.

Even if the SYNC-monitored vehicle systems are “all green,” VHR provides valuable information about systems operation, maintenance and more.

Users also have the option to set up SYNC to automatically remind them to run a VHR when it’s time to perform scheduled maintenance. You can also set the oil change reminder depending on the mileage range you choose, right in the vehicle!

Through a single button click and a voice command, users can also reproduce their VHR in about a minute. Whatever the vehicle was experiencing at the time will be reported in the file. So now, if you pull into the service department and tell the advisor that you were having trouble, you will have a written report that states those things they need to follow up on. Usually, the advisor will ask “what kind of trouble?” and then it’s your turn to do an improvised description. Ford seems to be the only manufacturer out there with a program such as  Vehicle Health Report. More than a phone app, this program works where and when you need it. The profile information is easily transferred to Ford’s online appointment system to schedule service directly with the preferred dealership.

When I did a report I also got 14 coupons on brakes, tires, oil changes and more. And, I also found out that I had a credit from my Owners Advantage Rewards program. How cool is that?

This is a customer rewards program that most Ford dealers participate in. It gives a credit back for parts and service bought at the dealer. Seems that taking good care of your vehicle is a whole lot easier, thanks to Ford. Once again, with the introduction of some 2015 Ford and Lincoln models, the availability and usage of these two apps may change. However, you would still need the Sync system to use, have a internet account linked to an e-mail, a paired phone, and the App active for these two apps to work.

For those with Sync in their vehicles, see your account at www.syncmyride.com or at support.ford.com or owner.ford.com

Ford Sync: I’ll tell you where to go…

SYNC, Ford’s hands-free communication system, is making it very easy to help you get some where. It just takes a a little education, some set-up and you will have a world of information at your fingertips.

The SYNC system was first released in early 2007. The first systems primarily handled making and receiving phone calls. The next generation in 2009 brought in the 911-Assist and Vehicle Health Report features. By 2010, Ford models had the Traffic, Direction and Information feature. Initially 2010 and 2011 models allow the owner to set up a complimentary account on support.ford.com. With this three-year subscription (which requires annual renewals) the owner can get voice-activated turn-by-turn navigation, weather reports, business search, sports scores, traffic information and a host of other features. Vehicles with the older system may need a hardware upgrade to access these features (just ask the your Service Department for details). Continue reading