LIVE FROM CES 2015: Mark Fields, president and CEO of Ford, used his keynote this morning to announce Ford Smart Mobility, which he described as “our plan to use innovation to take Ford to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data”.
In a “critical first step”, the company is creating 25 mobility experiments worldwide “designed to help us change the way the world moves”. The efforts are focused in three areas: creating a better customer experience, developing more flexible usage models for consumers, and connecting with every customer “in a socially collaborative and rewarding way”.
While Fields said the aim is not to create a single solution to diverse global mobility challenges, “what we know is that we will learn something from each of these experiments.”
The executive identified connectivity as the first enabler of its strategy, stating that “we will continue the rollout of embedded connections in our vehicles and will be adding new experiences for customers as we shift to the cloud”.
Fields was also enthusiastic about the developer community, who are able to use its AppLink technology to integrate with Ford’s SYNC in-vehicle communications and entertainment system – with more than 10 million SYNC-equipped vehicles on the road worldwide.
“We will continue to foster and grow our SYNC developer community. We have the largest ecosystem of app partners and by providing AppLink to the open source community, the potential for innovation is endless,” he continued.
With big data and analytics set to play a “critical role in determining our future”, the Ford chief said that the company wants to make “a very clear statement”.
“We believe customers own their data. We are simply stewards of data and we commit to being trusted stewards. We may ask to use the data, but only with explicit opt-in and full transparency. And, if we use the data, we need to ensure that customers are receiving services or features that they find valuable,” he said.