Amazon’s Echo Bluetooth speaker is already an increasingly popular way to control a smart home over in the United States and now Ford is bringing the same functionality to its cars.
Ford is the first major car manufacturer to take the smart home seriously and it’s doing so with a little help from Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa.
By linking Alexa with Ford Sync, the company’s infotainment system, drivers will be able to bark commands at their car to control their smart home or Amazon Echo speaker.
For instance, while on the way home from work, a Ford driver could ask Alexa to open the garage door and turn on the oven, all without pressing a button or being in front of the house.
“Consumers increasingly want to stay connected to their homes while on the move,” says Don Butler, Ford executive director, Connected Vehicle and Services.
“Linking smart devices like Amazon Echo and Wink to vehicles via SYNC would fulfil that desire and allow consumers to connect with their vehicles even when they aren’t behind the wheel.”
It’s not just a one-way street either, as when inside the home Ford owners could ask the Amazon Echo speaker to start the car or for updates on range. They could also double check that the car is locked.
Existing Sync users won’t get access to the functionality via a software update however, as it requires Sync Connect functionality, which is only coming to newer models. Those newer models will benefit from other features as well, including smartphone control.
While Alexa is the main part of Ford’s plans to integrate the smart car with the smart home, the company is also working with Wink to control and automate their homes directly from their in-car dashboard.
For example, a driver nearing home could have the option to either press a button or say a command that opens the garage door, turns on the lights and unlocks the front door.
“Connecting homes and cars is all about making life easier and convenient for our customers,” adds Dan.
“As smart homes and smart cars continue to evolve, SYNC technology makes it easy to implement features that will make life better and more convenient for our customers.”
According to research by Icontrol Networks, at least half of consumers surveyed said that they planned to buy a smart home product in 2016 – and it seems right now, Ford is the only car manufacturer integrating its technology with those smart homes.