REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 31, 2011 — The emergence of in-vehicle infotainment systems has experienced a dramatic shift this decade, going from neutral to full speed ahead. According to a case study published this week by Microsoft Corp., the appeal of Ford’s SYNC automotive infotainment platform is significant. To date, SYNC has been installed in over 3 million vehicles, making it the fastest selling infotainment unit in the United States.
The tremendous advancements in automotive infotainment systems have eliminated the farfetched notion of car and driver communicating by voice. SYNC has made it possible to more closely connect drivers and passengers to the world around them; these features have catapulted Ford from last to first with regard to customer satisfaction for in-vehicle infotainment systems, according to Gary Jablonski, manager, Infotainment Product Development Team, Ford Motor. Highly satisfied drivers have, in turn, translated to tremendous sales for Ford vehicles equipped with the SYNC platform (as referenced by the case study: 80 percent of potential customers report it improves their opinion of Ford, while 70 percent are more likely to consider purchasing a SYNC-equipped vehicle).
To add to the recent appeal of the Ford SYNC, Microsoft’s Steven Bridgeland took part in several broadcast interviews at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), one of which was streamed across the Internet as part of Ford’s 24-hour Virtual Technology Summit on the Ford Electric Facebook page. Another interview, hosted by Alison Haislip, a regular on G4’s “Attack of the Show”, was broadcasted throughout CES at both Ford’s and its suppliers’ booths. In both interviews, Steven talked about Microsoft’s partnership with Ford, the rich and immersive capabilities of the Windows Embedded Automotive 7 platform and general trends within the automotive infotainment industry.
The Windows Embedded Automotive 7 platform, recently announced at SAE Convergence 2010, has tuned up the in-car experience — quickly adding to the increased value Ford has witnessed in over 20 of its models currently on the market. Today, SYNC-enabled Ford vehicles provide drivers with Bluetooth connectivity, access to music libraries on their portable media devices and a slew of other applications that contribute to an enhanced driving experience.
This partnership has raised the bar for automotive infotainment systems, as consumers continue to invest in models featuring the platform installed in center consoles. As a result SYNC, along with other enhancements made to equipment, has raised vehicle transaction prices on average by $4,100 over the past two years, according to an interview from Automotive News with Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas.
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