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Ford cars: A new platform for app developersFord's Julius Marchwicki explains to CNET's Brian Cooley why Ford just became the first major carmaker to open up its dash to app developers.
-Hello folks. Welcome back to the live stage here at CNET's CES coverage 2013 CES. We've got so much going on here at the show and we just did our best of CES finalists unveiling. Among the finalists in there in the car tech category is a new innovation coming from Ford. So I wanna talk a little bit more about that, 'cause I'm the car guy, I'm the car tech guy, one of our car tech team and Julius Marchwicki does to. Julius, welcome, thanks for being here. -Thank you, thank you for having me. -You're the head of the Ford Sync AppLink section of Ford's Technology. Explain what that is for folks that maybe are not doing apps in their car yet. -Fantastic. Thank you Brian, and thank you for the nomination. We're extremely excited. -My pleasure. [unk]. -AppLink is technology that lives on a smartphone and inside of our vehicles and it enables your in-vehicle controls through voice or through steering wheel to control the smartphone applications that you already have on your iPhone or Android device, and even Blackberry if you still have a Blackberry. -Yeah, that's why you still got some Blackberry support in there. -Absolutely. -Here's a thing. Is this what we call in the tech biz HMI connection you're making the-- letting the buttons on the physical part of the dash control the phone app and get my eyes where they should be? -Exactly. So, one of the things that we always say is keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. -Yeah. -We know that our customers are 2 times more likely to pick up their phone while driving, if they are in-vehicle technology it doesn't meet their needs. So what's really important for us is to make sure that the technology in the car meets their needs. -And if you don't do your job right, you are in the auto-maker in this kind of integration of apps in the dash. They don't give you a lot of time before they go and grab the phone again, right? -Exactly. So it's really important for us-- -There's no [unk] it'll say, forget this once you get the phone and pick it up. -Very, very important for us to focus, you know, focus the use of voice inside of the vehicle. -Right. -So you control these applications in that fashion. -And getting up on a big monitor that static and large and auto-optimized. -Exactly. -You-- before you get into the really deep part of this, let's go at sort of the really accessible part which you rolled out some more apps. -Yeah. -What are some of the new ones you've got supported in your cars now? -Sure. Well, in addition to the fantastic apps that we have today such as Pandora, Stitcher, TuneIn, iHeart radio or iHeart auto as they're called now. -Yeah. -We launched a number of new applications, Glimpse for example. You know, the application that lets you share your location with your friends and family. So, you no longer have to respond to that text message that says, "Hey, where are you?" You can just Glimpse their location straight from the vehicle and voice activated. I can say, send a Glimpse for Brian Cooley. -I call that overshare.com. But that's just me. That's just me. Not everybody has to be on the same page. -Yeah. -What's another one you implemented? -Well, so another great example, Aha Radio. Thirty thousand streams of contents right? All voice-activated, voice enabled. So you can say, "Play my weather station." It'll give you your localized weather and then they can give you your social feeds, then you can listen to internet radio or news or music. And then some other fantastic news apps for example, a Kaliki which reads magazine contents to a human read voice, same with USA Today, the magazine or the newspaper everyday digitizing the voice human read for you. All voice activated. -All of these are converting content that might be media rich into audio, right? -Yeah. -You're not displaying a simple version of the USA Today on the screen or anything. -Exactly. -Okay. -It's all voice enabled. It's read to you in voice. You hear a human read to you, for example Today's news stories or Today's Money stories. -Yeah. -And all voice activated and you can use the steering wheel controls to skip through content. Wall Street Journal Live for example, same thing. All of the Wall Street Journal Radio content provided to you. -Yeah. -You know, you can skip back and forth between stories. Fantastic-- -Now, we were talking about some of this audio content. You're doing more and more where you're bringing in terrestrial radio stations through various apps here. And folks, I think sometimes-- okay, wait a minute. I got a radio in the car, it works real well and it's real easy, volume, AM/FM, presets, you know how to use it. Why the complication of adding radio station apps? -Yeah, well, you know, the radio stations are starting to see this move into digital, right? And content is no longer, you know, you send it and you forget it. Content is now, you know, they digitize it, the tag it, they store it so you can bring it up later. -Yeah. -So one of the things that we're seeing is-- -On-demand radio. -On-demand-- interviews, morning shows, you know, you may miss your favorite morning show that day. -Yeah. -And so you gonna wanna hear that later, you know, later in the afternoon for example. So, you can bring up that content with your voice from somebody's radio applications like WIF. You can access, you know, interviews and their morning show everyday just if you missed it, right? -Yeah. So it changed the world of radio broadcasters -So, we-- we [unk]. -'Cause they used to have it in their local market to themselves. -Absolutely. -And not having competition from stations hundreds of thousands of miles away. But now, you can listen to a New York station in Detroit. -Absolutely, absolutely. You know, and I'm a Chicago guy so I like-- sometimes, I like listening to my Chicago stations in Detroit. -Right. -So-- and now you can enable that. That's fantastic. -Now, let's move to the future. Those are some of the new apps you've got. The really big thing you announce that is less sort of, you know, getable by the consumer-- -Yeah. -But it's huge underlying package. You've open up your cars and your sync app technology to developers decode all that for us. -It's a-- well, what we've done is we've launched what's called the Ford Developer Program. You can go to developer.ford.com and access all sorts of resources that effectively give you the ability to, you know, just to deploy, test develop software that works inside this vehicle. So the Pandora's-- all the apps that we're talking about. We'll give you the SDK they have. It's there. It's on developer.ford.com. -SDK, Software Developers Kit. -Software Development Kit, absolutely. -Okay. -Documentation, sample code, online tips and tricks, a blog forums-- I mean, and most importantly Ford developers that are there to support you. So we have an entire team of people that are helping developers now through this developer program, this eco- system we're creating. -Yeah. And that's the interesting part, you know, folks-- the development communities that have really fostered well because the companies behind them are Google and their Android or Apple. It's not just 'cause they've exposed all these technology developers but some companies do a particularly good job of working with developers, having actual bodies at their company that say, "Yes, we'll help you get your app to work when you're stuck or optimize it to do whatever." There's still lot of high touch I the world of bringing developers because you guys were up against iOS and Android primarily. -Well, here's what's amazing about the Ford developer program, is that it doesn't actually require you to learn anything about the automobile. We give you libraries for your Android and iPhone applications. -Yeah. -That's how AppLink works. So-- -They're kinda translate them to Ford? -Compatible. -You drop in this library and you have APIs. We've wrapped services. -Yeah. -So for example, the voice service. You wanna say something to the driver with our text-to-speech engine. It's the API, it's called Speak. And you issue a Speak command and you give us the text you want us to speak to you. -Yeah. -And so, it's a fantastic, it's a fantastic way because I don't have to learn something specific for the vehicle. I can drop this library and most of our developers are kinda-- in a [unk]. -They're kinda like a bunch of macros, right? That help them get things done in a short cut within your system. -Absolutely. -In wrapping up this idea, what's the vision? Let say, one year from now we talk to you about how's it going with developers developing apps that will then pair from-- they never leave the phone. Always on the phone but they are integrated with the car, you know, in a rich way. -Exactly. -What do you hope will be the goal? Will you have a-- will there be Ford App Store? -Well, definitely not a Ford App Store. We want customers to follow the same trends they are doing today, which is downloading from the Apple App Store or from Google Play. So, no new stores, right? We're gonna help categorize, we're gonna show where applications are available. -Yeah. -But at the end of the day, you're gonna use your phone and you're gonna download from the store that you've already downloaded for the world has downloaded 55 plus billion applications. -No, you're not gonna reinvent the wheel and get into the app delivery and sales business. -Absolutely not-- no. -Okay. Got it. All right. This is very interesting stuff, you know, we will check in. I'm gonna hold you to this year from now. Come back here and show us how it's done. -I would love to be back. -I wanna know what apps are gonna be coming up in the next-- 'cause this something real this year, right? -Yeah, yes -Okay. So we'll see with some developers have done to develop for Ford-- -[unk]. -and other car-- you have developer.ford.com. -Absolutely. -Great. Julius, thanks for***CUT DICTATION***