The 19th century was the last time automobiles were on the vanguard of cutting-edge technology. While the ensuing ten decades have seen lots of automotive innovation, Fast Company magazine only came into being in 1995, and has been naming its top ten "Most Innovative" companies every year since. Ford has secured a spot smack in the middle of the list this year, the first time a car manufacturer has been invited to rub elbows with the likes of Amazon, Apple, and Google.
What has Ford done to deserve this honor? Swing open the door to a 2010 Taurus and it becomes clear. The Blue Oval's rides are immersion tanks of technological integration. From the Sync system to the more comprehensive MyFord Touch, there's been no let-up in Ford's push to put premium tech features in all its models. Ford's market research reveals that most buyers opt for the system, and at least a third of buyers think Sync was a critical enticement to their purchase. From our time with it, we agree, it's some cool stuff, and the 1.5 million Sync-equipped Fords prowling the street agree.
The actual honor is a fifth-place finish for mobile technology, and Fast Company says "the automaker has taken a great leap forward." Mark Fields backs that statement up by looking into his crystal ball (supplied by Visteon) and saying "Our relationship with Microsoft was just the beginning, as we've forged strong relationships throughout the mobile industry and look forward to even more." More cool stuff on the way? We'll take it. Press release after the jump.
FORD NAMED ONE OF FAST COMPANY'S TOP 10 "MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES" IN MOBILE TECHNOLOGY
- Ford Motor Company shares ranks with Google, Apple, Amazon and HTC on Fast Company magazine's annual Top 10 list of the "Most Innovative" companies in Mobile technology
- As the only automaker to ever be featured on the Top 10 Mobile list, Ford was recognized for the industry-leading mobile device connectivity technology, SYNC and the new MyFord Touch driver interface
- Ford has been the convergence point for automotive and consumer electronics innovation collaborating with many mobile device manufacturers, software and app developers, and network providers
DEARBORN, Mich. Feb. 18, 2010 – What does Ford Motor Company have in common with Google, Apple, and Amazon? Ford shares a spot with them on Fast Company's Top 10 list of "Most Innovative" companies in Mobile technology, and becomes the first automaker to ever be recognized in the category.
"This honor represents Ford's commitment to innovation and development of technology that enhances the driving experience and adds real value to the consumer," said Mark Fields, Ford president, The Americas. "We're very proud of this recognition from Fast Company, and it is truly an accomplishment to be named amongst some of the leading technology innovators and mobile application developers."
Fast Company ranked Ford fifth in the mobile technology category for the introduction and evolution of SYNC, the industry-leading connectivity system co-developed with Microsoft, as well as the recent reveal of MyFord Touch, an innovative user interface that promises to redefine the in-car experience. "The automaker has taken a great leap forward," says Fast Company.
Ford developed SYNC in response to the explosive growth potential of the mobile device and embarked on a strategy to build a software-based connectivity platform that could leverage the increasing power of the phone and improving data networks. MyFord Touch expands on the system's device connectivity features by delivering a graphical, touch, and voice-controlled user interface that maximizes SYNC's capability and provides an intuitive and safer way for drivers to interact with the car.
"Collaboration and strategic investment in open innovation have been keys to our success," Fields said. "Our relationship with Microsoft was just the beginning, as we've forged strong relationships throughout the mobile industry and look forward to even more."
In addition to introducing MyFord Touch at the recent 2010 International CES, Ford became the first automaker to announce hands-free command and control of smart phone apps. Pandora, Stitcher, and OpenBeak are the first to implement the SYNC Application Programming Interface (API), enabling drivers to voice control the apps through SYNC's Bluetooth connection.