By Theodore Opara
ARE we nearly there yet?”could become “Are we there already?” as harassed parents will soon be able to keep the kids amused by letting them stream and download movies, games and music on the road. Ford has partnered with Vodafone to bring 4G LTE connectivity to vehicles in Europe via the new FordPass Connect built-in modem and Wi Fi hotspot capability. Incorporating an external aerial, the Wi-Fi hotspot enables up to 10 devices to connect to the network at once. This will enable passengers to surf the internet with improved connectivity.
Together with FordPass Connect, the FordPass app will enable drivers to remotely lock and unlock their car doors from virtually anywhere in the world; and check information including fuel and oil levels, tyre pressure, battery life, the odometer, whether the alarm is sounding and the vehicle’s location on a map. The Live Traffic feature will offer drivers real-time updates and re route them away from congestion. “The future of mobility is enabled by connectivity, connectivity between you and the vehicle, between your smartphone and vehicle, and between the vehicle and its surroundings,” said Don Butler, executive director, Ford Connected Vehicle and Services.
Corporate resources “With FordPass Connect, our SYNC platform is transitioning from being device-centric to become cloud-connected. FordPass Connect with Wi-Fi powered by Vodafone lets kids watch movies, listen to music or even do homework while travelling; and people working from the road can easily access corporate resources from wherever they are.”
Across Europe, connectivity is more important than ever. In the UK, 33 percent of children under five now have their own tablet. From 2014 to 2015, the number of Europeans paying for streamed TV and film content increased by 400 percent, while streaming music is expected to surpass music downloads by next year.
Ford made the announcement at Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry. “Vodafone and Ford have worked together for over a decade. Now we are addressing drivers’ and passengers’ expectations of staying connected to the rest of their digital world while in their vehicles,” said Ivo Rook, director, Internet of Things, Vodafone. “The range of services that a robust, secure connection can bring to the consumer is growing every day, from information on the health of your car and alerts on traffic conditions to passengers streaming movies to enjoy on long journeys. Ford and Vodafone are creating more opportunities for customers to live a smarter and more connected life.”
The company will use Vodafone’s global SIM and Internet of Things platform to bring enhanced safety, security, diagnostic and infotainment services to Ford vehicles across Europe and ensure compliance with strict new EU regulations. Since 2012, Ford vehicles have offered Emergency Assistance through the SYNC connectivity system. In the event of an accident where the airbag has deployed or fuel shut off has occurred, this technology utilises a Bluetooth paired and connected mobile phone to help vehicle occupants initiate a direct call to Emergency Services in the correct language for the region, alerting first responders with the vehicle location.
Ford will now build on that capability by leveraging the built-in modem to provide eCall service which can automatically dial emergency services after an accident, communicating vehicle location and enabling emergency call takers to infer whether the driver is conscious or not.* Ford will continue to offer Emergency Assistance for vehicles not equipped with FordPass Connect.