To enhance the connectivity of its vehicles, Ford introduced a new piece of SmartLink OBD accessory that brings retrofitted connected features to its Ford and Lincoln cars dating back to the 2010 models. With a built-in 4G LTE modem, the SmartLink Accessory can serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices in the vehicle. It also enables other connected features including remote start, lock and unlock, and can send alerts to a car owner via a companion web and mobile app.
In related news, Ford also opened its first Mobility Brand Experience Studio in NYC to showcase its vision for the future of transportation. The Studio features various interactive exhibits, with a “kinetic mobility sculpture” that uses marbles to demonstrate traffic patterns as its centerpiece. Each visitor will receive a Ford Hub Card which activates the installations and saves their digital experiences online.
What Brands Need To Do
As developments in connected cars, self-driving technology, and on-demand services continue to transform the transportation landscape, major auto brands are reacting accordingly with a series of initiatives like the two Ford just came out with. One additional implication for brands is the additional screen time that in-car connectivity will bring to customers on the road. And though it is still a few years off before the self-driving technology fully matures, the media time it will unleash will fully transform cars into a media hub on wheels. Therefore, it is never too early for brands to start thinking about how to take advantage of this emerging media space.