Ford wants future cars and smart homes to get along, so at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), it unveiled a few new ways to connect smart homes with its Sync infotainment systems. They allow consumers to control their homes from their cars, and vice versa.
At CES, the carmaker unveiled a development of its Sync Connect system that works with Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based voice service. Unveiled at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, Sync Connect allows owners to monitor their vehicles remotely using an app and a 4G LTE connection. This version, which makes use of the Amazon Echo voice-control device, does a little bit more.
While at home, Ford owners can activate Sync Connect using voice commands, allowing them to unlock the doors, schedule a time to start the car so it’s warmed up when they’re ready to go, and check the fuel level, all from the comfort of a couch. Alternatively, owners can monitor their houses from the car, asking Alexa things like whether the garage door is closed, or whether lights are on.
Ford also made the Wink smart home platform compatible with its Sync AppLink, which already includes a suite of smartphone-compatible apps that can be used in conjunction with a car’s infotainment system. This allows the driver to remotely open the garage, turn on house lights, or unlock the front door using either voice commands or the car’s central touchscreen.
Amazon Echo and Wink integration haven’t been confirmed for production, but they demonstrate the possibilities of integrating smart home functions with car infotainment systems. Ford isn’t the only carmaker looking into this; BMW demonstrated smart home integration at IFA last year, for example. Will this become the next major trend in automotive connectivity?