Microsoft and Ford’s New Cloud Based Partnership
Microsoft and Ford have worked together in the past to bring us Sync: a revolutionary technology that shifted a long standing reliance on hardware-based in-dash content and brought in an era of being able to access a portable device for entertainment. The original Sync system was way before the age of the cloud, and it was basically used to access music on iPod devices and take calls through Bluetooth.
Sync was the first software-based system, meaning it could be upgraded and features could be added later on. Other companies tried to follow suit, and the second generation Sync MyFord Touch system fell short of expectations. For the newest version of Sync, Sync 3, Ford teamed up with QNX. Many saw this as Ford ditching Microsoft, but they recently announced that they are working together on the Ford Service Delivery Network powered my Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform.
This network is not going to rely just on Wi-Fi, and will include a built-in modem that can connect with the cloud and smartphone applications. This leverages the existing MyFord and MyLincoln smartphone apps.
Though Ford was the first to introduce this innovative technology with the original Sync, a lack of embedded connections in its cars has meant that Ford is already being left in the dust by automakers like Tesla who take advantage of over-the-air update capability. The new embedded modems will allow the new system to do exactly this.
The new capabilities of this Delivery Network will be in select vehicles by the end of the year, and will begin to be implemented in most vehicles by the end of next year. There is not yet a pricing structure, but the price of it is not subscription based and will be included in the price of the vehicle. However, additional features and new services that will be added in the future will most likely be a pay as you use or pay as you go sort of model.