Ford AppLink hacked for a good cause

words - Mike Bantick
New app that directs tradies to their next job hands-free wins the Ford AppLink Hackathon

The first Australian-based Ford AppLink Hackathon was held in Melbourne this week, when teams of local software developers were tasked with brainstorming and then producing software apps for the in-car Ford SYNC AppLink system.

Why Ford thought that it was a good idea to deprive programmers and creative people of sleep over a 24-hour period in a competition setting to produce code for its new system is a bit of a mystery. However, it is a typical approach in today’s software development world.

More than one million Ford vehicles globally are already equipped with SYNC AppLink -- a number that will continue to grow with the arrival of AppLink to Australia in early 2014.

The teams of programmers were locked in a room with the Application Programming Interface (API) for SYNC AppLink, and tasked with linking smartphones, voice commands, GPS info and other features into their creations and then testing them on the vehicles provided.

Once the countdown hit 00:00:00 the following winners were announced.

Best all-new app: team MYOB with its ‘Jobs’ app. Designed to give tradies job information via voice control while driving, a user can request the address of the next job and ask for directions, call the customer and even dispatch an invoice – all while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

Best existing app enabled to work with SYNC AppLink: Team Millipede, which added SYNC voice control commands to its app, Logbook Pro, providing users with logbook trip information both hands- and eyes-free.

Best idea: Team Car Pool, which conceptualised an app that can send push notifications to the vehicle display to alert a car pool driver where they can pick up other people looking to car pool. These notifications could be accepted or declined via SYNC’s voice control.

Best feature: Long Zhen, which developed a dashcam app that turns a cradle-mounted smartphone into a dashcam and allows users to shoot video and upload it to YouTube all via SYNC’s voice control function.

The Ford SYNC system is available in a number of Blue Oval models, while SYNC AppLink will become available here in the first quarter of next year, most likely in the Fiesta.

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Published : Thursday, 28 November 2013
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