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Ford is the creator of SYNC AppLink, a service which allows you to control smartphone applications through voice commands while at the wheel. At CES 2014, the automaker said it planned to expand the service to 3.4 million more vehicles this year, bringing the total count of AppLink-enabled cars to almost five million. According to Ford, over 60 apps in the Android and iOS ecosystems are SYNC compatible, which means drivers can access these applications through a car's dashboard.
Image credit: Ford
It is not just about gadget producers or automakers -- chip designers are also key in order to develop and run car infotainment systems in connected vehicles.
While Qualcomm is not a member of the Open Automotive Alliance -- unlike rival Nvidia -- the company believes that the connect car is not just about the Web, but also about making our vehicles smarter by using environmental sensors and in order to achieve this, cars need to use similar technology and processors found in high-end mobile devices.
Wireless connectivity enabled improvements in basic safety, security, crash detection and remote diagnostics and maintenance, according to Qualcomm.
However, we need to keep in mind that while automakers and tech firms are keen to push their connected car solutions on the market, safety and security remain a problem. Not only could 'too much' interactive tech prove to be a distraction, but hooking up our cars to the Web may also leave them at risk of cyberattack and infiltration.
Image credit: Qualcomm
Fiat believes that in-car connectivity is a major channel for improving customer relationship management (CRM).
According to Fiat EMEA product planning and strategy chief Massimo Cavazzini, vehicle maintenance and the ability to remain connected to customers outside of a yearly check-up is a key advantage of connected cars. The exec says that Fiat plans to roll out a system within the next two years which will use the Web to underpin every step of a customer's journey, from picking up the car to maintenance.
However, Fiat did admit that one problem facing the industry is conservative sales models and dealerships resistant to change, which could scupper the adoption of car connectivity and the use of the Internet in maintaining customer relationships.
Not to be left out in the cold when it comes to infotainment, Fiat and Microsoft have co-created a system called Blue&Me which allows you to make and receive calls, read texts and listen to music on any device with a USB connection in your vehicle.
Image credit: FIAT