Ford Developer Blog

Hundreds of developers attend Ford Europe's Country Tour

Posted on Monday, October 16, 2017 by Ford Partner Relations

After spending September hosting startups and listening to pitches in 10 different cities across eight different countries, Andreas Brockers, Ford Business Strategy Analyst – Connected Vehicles, can't wait to see more.

Brockers estimates he and the Ford Europe team talked to over 300 developers, engineers and entrepreneurs during the Country Tour. At each event, FordDev demonstrated the power of SYNC AppLink and the opportunities the platform creates. The Ford Europe team also provided access to valuable developer resources, such as the AppLink TDK. At each event, developers pitched their solutions not only to the Ford team, but also to the crowd, getting invaluable feedback.

"It was very interesting to meet all those different people," Brockers told the Ford Developer Blog. "We saw a lot of different ideas and technologies." The sessions included networking, where attendees got to interface directly with Ford personnel. Those developers whose ideas and concepts didn't directly relate to AppLink were connected with appropriate Ford resources—often right there at the event.

Many Country Tour attendees are now applying for the annual #MakeitDriveable Startup Challenge, being held this year in Paris, France on October 25th and 26th.

The FordDev website has all the resources AppLink developers need, and the #MakeitDriveable Startup Challenge site has all the event details:

Vehicle data, cross-platform support excite developers at SDL Hackathon

Posted on Friday, September 29, 2017 by Ford Partner Relations

Rauhmel Fox of WHOmentors.com is a battle-tested hackathon veteran. But he came away from the first-ever sdlDeveloper Hackathon excited by the potential, and reality, of SmartDeviceLink.

“I don’t think a lot of developers really understand,” Fox told FordDev. “We’re talking about an opportunity where the cars are coming together with the devices. That’s an untold level of connection.”

Fox, who came away from the event $5,000 richer, said he’d had experience developing for prior generations of Ford SYNC—but writing for Android and iOS, mapping to a platform used by many major domestic and international OEMs with a userbase of millions? It’s a literal new world of possibilities.

“I’m an Air Force Academy graduate, so my mindset is a little bit broader, [thinking more about] national appeal,” Fox said, “as opposed to just the joke of the day or the app of the day. So the breadth of, ‘Wow, this could be in other cars, it could be in other vehicles, it could be in other units,’ was more exciting to me than when it was one brand of car only.”

Ford Global Lead for Business Development and Partner Management Scott Burnell could sense the contestants’ eagerness to create cross-platform solutions.

“They’ve always been excited about working with Ford—hopefully,” he added with a laugh. “But now that you can say, ‘Hey, here’s Ford, here’s Toyota, here’s Suzuki, here’s Mazda all standing in the same room, and when you get your applications to work we can show you how it’ll work on the head units of each of these OEMs,’ that’s exciting for them and makes everything that much bigger.”

Fox cited the hands-on support as a major factor in how far he was able to take his solution.

“Having access to the engineers, obviously, was very helpful,” he said. “The initial issue for me was grappling [with] what was the SmartDeviceLInk about, what was going on; it was my first exposure to it. Obviously, having engineers there actually had built on it before crystallized for me where this could go.” Fox also appreciated having the head units on-hand, so he could instantly see the look and feel of the user experience across the multiple OEMs. “Third, just overall, the mood of people being agreeable and listening and being able to bounce ideas off of them,” he said. “Those three elements were critical for me.”

“I think with any hackathon, it boils down to getting started,” Burnell said. “We’ve gone to a master class that really lays it out for them, and we make sure that we have our support team really, really hands-on right at the beginning to help them kick off and get moving in the right direction.”

That robust support, as well as the growing maturity of the SYNC AppLink and SDL developer community, empowered the SDL Hackathon entrants to push their solutions farther—both in terms of innovation, and commercial viability.

“What we saw this time,” Burnell said, “was many of the teams were a little more refined with the features they were creating by being able to access vehicle data, and turn that around into an actual comprehensive application for their presentation.”

Fox knew he wanted to focus on driver safety. After doing some research, he saw an opportunity in emergency services solutions—and to have a compelling story to tell when presenting. Looking for resources to tap into, he discovered the Automated Packet Reporting System (ARPS), a digital channel for ham radio signals.

“[Even] as an emergency actions officer and air-battle manager, I’d never heard of that system,” Fox said, “though it had been developed by a contemporary of mine at the Naval Academy.” By connecting to ARPS via SDL, Fox could broadcast GPS location and vehicle-status data to a satellite-enabled network of 1.3 million volunteers.

“I do attend more than 50 hackathons a year,” Fox said. “However, I use the hackathons to identify applications for real-world needs. In contrast to the other developers, my goal wasn’t to focus on winning the prize; I actually wanted to find something that was useful.”

He did just that. In fact, Fox intends to publish his emergency services app.

“I’ve actually announced for a team of trainees to come learn about SDL and the application I’ve developed,” Fox said. “I’ve got a team putting it together, anticipating that I’ll be able to offer that app to the Ford team so it can be available on the AppStore.”

For Burnell, the most exciting part of the hackathon was the level of developer interest. The new FordDev developer relations committee created this event with very little lead time before MWCA17, yet it was nearly a packed house—over 40 individuals in a contest with a maximum capacity of 50.

Though Fox and the other entrants were able to create a diverse set of innovative, viable solutions overnight, developers are just beginning to tap into the power and possibility of SmartDeviceLink—both in the depth of vehicle data, and the breadth of the entire world.

Interview with Sam Matheny, CTO, National Association of Broadcasters

Posted on Friday, July 07, 2017 by Ford Partner Relations

Developers have always felt the tension of innovation: torn between the possibilities of cutting-edge tech, and the benefits of developing for a mature platform.

But National Association of Broadcasters CTO Sam Matheny says revolutionary new hardware and exploding mobile data networks offer broadcasters and developers the chance to start a "virtuous cycle"—a win-win scenario that makes trusted, high-quality broadcast content a key driver for mobile app and hardware sales.

As Ford's Scott Burnell told NAB members at their annual Radio Show Luncheon, those innovations and opportunities are coming together in what could be the "new living room": the connected car.

After decades of AM/FM radio and NTSC TV, over the last 10 years consumers have experienced an explosion of broadcast technology. From satellite radio and HD flatscreens, to HD Radio and 4K UHD smart TVs, the quality and features offered to users has grown astronomically. Over the same period, smartphones have opened new worlds of social and streaming apps, revolutionizing the way people get their information and entertainment. As mobile apps and IoT technology converge inside the connected car, the rate of change is thrillingly fast—and getting faster.

Yet according to Nielsen figures provided by NAB, 265 million Americans over age five regularly listen to AM/FM radio. That's 93 percent of the U.S. population!

When it comes to choosing between the massive legacy audience and exciting new tech, though, "It's not an either/or decision; it's a both/and," Matheny told the Ford Developer Blog. "We think that this rate of change really presents lots of opportunities for broadcasters to open up their relationships with their audiences and their communities."

Hundreds of millions of people regularly listen to over-the-air radio, including 93 percent of millennials at an average rate of 11 hours a week. It's still the No. 1 way people discover new music. The audience is there, the hardware is there, and AppLink gives broadcasters and developers a platform linking the two.

"The opportunity is tremendous, but it's not one in isolation," Matheny said. "Yes, of course, we would love to have radio apps, be that iHeart, or NextRadio or individual station-branded apps in the automobile. But to me, that would just be the beginning. Where I begin to really get excited, and what our members are getting excited about, is when they begin to wrap their heads around something like AppLink."

Radio broadcasters have always sought to maximize audience interactivity—from fielding listener requests and sponsorship giveaways, to call-in talk shows driven by user-generated content. With SYNC3, AppLink and the Ford Developer the opportunities for broadcasters and developers to create customized, compelling user experiences are unprecedented.

Matheny outlined the problem broadcasters are facing as they try to maximize these opportunities—the same problems facing developers on the cutting edge of the mobile space: Can they afford to iterate solutions across many different proprietary ecosystems? Where do they invest development resources? Where do they place their bets?

"We're really excited by the idea of SmartDeviceLink," Matheny said, referring to the open-source platform on which AppLink is built. "Now, as the developer community works with radio as part of their solution stack, you can develop something that can potentially play across several different car lines. That's a big checkmark, because that gets scale and it enables people to feel like, 'this has enough legs that I can invest here."

But AppLink and SDL offer broadcasters far more than just an open-source platform that ports radio apps across many different makers and models.

"Radio doesn't have to just be radio," Matheny said. "How do you take that experience, and know you have connectivity into the car and think, 'What else can I do with that? How can I create a better, more rich experience?'

"Maybe it's one that's personalized," Matheny continued. "Is it raining? Are the headlights on? Is the fuel almost empty? You may have access to other data, like if the person is a Starbucks drinker and whether there's one around the corner. There are all sorts of different opportunities that combine themselves."

Software that marries high-quality broadcast content, an enormous user base, unprecedented audience engagement and cutting-edge streaming technologies will drive Americans' information and entertainment consumption habits for years to come.

To be a part of it all, sign up for the Ford Developer Program and start learning how SYNC3 and AppLink are already shaping the future (and present) of digital media!

 

FordDev Hacks: Growing in 2015 and Beyond

Posted on Tuesday, November 24, 2015 by Ford Partner Relations


2015 has been a record year for the amount of developers we have been able to interact with through hackathons held all over the world. More than 500 developers joined the FordDev team at events in Brazil, the United States, Israel, China, and Ireland to innovate and compete for prizes.

In February, we held our first hackathon in South America during Campus Party in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The overnight coding event was held right at the Ford stand, allowing the 8000 developer-campers who slept in tents on the grounds all week to come cheer on the participants (and help keep them awake in the wee hours of the morning). The winner of the contest received a brand new Ford Ka for their entry, Bom  Motorista (Good Driver).

Europe and the Middle East developers also got their first opportunity to join in a local FordDev hackathon as we held events in Tel Aviv, Israel and Dublin, Ireland.

Over 100 developers showed up in Tel Aviv to compete for cash and prizes, including a Ford Fiesta and $15,000 in services from WeiserMazars. Developers not only competed with their coding skills, but were also invited to test their vocal range with a rousing karaoke challenge at 2AM. Nothing like music to get the creative juices flowing!

At the beginning of November the FordDev team showed up in Dublin for Web Summit. We also brought along €100,000 in cash and prizes to hand out-our richest hackathon to date! Not only did Liz roll out the karaoke challenge to keep the room rocking overnight, but the hackers were treated to a special appearance by Executive Chairman Bill Ford who spoke to the group. Mr. Ford thanked the participants for helping Ford keep our promise to innovate for our owners and encouraged them to think about mobility as a whole-not just in the car. He also stopped to speak with a few developers and to take a look at what they were creating with the AppLink APIs.

Thanks to all of the FordDev community who came out to hack with us this year. 2016 is going to be an even bigger year for events where you will get a chance to interact with the AppLink team, win prizes, and compete to get your app in to Ford vehicle.

Watch for a list of events to come soon after the New Year. We will be bringing a hackathon somewhere near you, and we want you to come innovate with us!

Check out the FordDev YouTube channel to see other hack events.

Here’s to a bright New Year to all!

 FordDev Team

AppLink Reaches out Globally

Posted on Saturday, February 02, 2013 by Ford Partner Relations

Please choose a language: 1) English, 2) Chinese, 3) Java, or 4) Objective-C

The AppLink Team here at Ford Motor Company wasn’t kidding when we said we were going global with AppLink. Last week, three of us hopped on a 14 hour flight from Detroit to Beijing so we could meet our Ford AppLink Team counterparts in China and hack with some developers at Baidu, which is a major web-search provider in China, much like Google in the US.

We arrived a few days before the 24-hour Hackathon to meet with Baidu developers and start helping them with their hack ideas. Luckily, most of them spoke English fairly well, but when all else failed, the code did all the talking! We also met a few of our own Ford co-workers for the first time; hackathons not only breed innovation, but also bring people together.

The Hackathon was kicked off bright and early at 9am. As the top prize was a trip to next month’s Mobile World Congress, everyone worked feverishly over the next 24 hours, with some squeaking in only a few hours of sleep. The constant supply of food and drinks helped keep everyone energized and hacking. There were definitely some interesting chip flavors, though: Italian red meat flavored potato chips, anyone?

By 9am the next morning, 26 hack projects were submitted for the judging round. Some projects included a location-based reminder app, a music player based on your mood, and even a demo using Baidu’s new facial recognition APIs to detect drowsiness while driving. It was especially fascinating and very exciting to hear Chinese spoken out of the speakers of the TDKs that we shipped from the US.

My favorite part? Blasting ‘Gangnam Style’ in the big auditorium and making everyone get up and dance at some early hour of the morning. It concluded with a huge round of applause from the developers. We, in turn, would like to applaud Baidu for hosting and letting us hack together to create some great AppLink apps.

-Liz

Ford AppLink Team

请选择语言:1) 英语,2) 中文,3) Java,或4) Objective-C语言

我们AppLink要走向全球,福特汽车公司的AppLink团队说这话是认真的。上周,我们一行三人坐了14小时的飞机从底特律前往北京,见到福特AppLink团队远在中国的同行,以及一些百度的开发人员。百度是中国主要的网络搜索服务提供商,类似美国的谷歌。

我们在24小时Hackathon编程马拉松赛开始前的几天抵达,见到了百度的开发人员,开始帮他们设计创意。很幸运,他们大多数人的英语说得不错,当其他尝试都宣告失败,代码帮了我们大忙!我们还第一次见到了福特的同事;Hackathon编程马拉松赛不仅鼓励创新,而且让大家团结起来。

Hackathon编程马拉松赛在早上9点准时开始。大奖是下个月举行的世界移动通信大会之旅,为此每个人在接下来的24个小时都拼了,有的人只睡几个小时。不间断的食物和饮料供应使每个人保持精力充沛的竞技状态。颇有一些有趣的薯片风味,比如:意式红肉薯片,谁想吃?

次日早晨9点,26个编程项目被提交评审。内容五花八门,有基于地点的提醒应用程序、基于心情的音乐播放器、甚至还有一个试用软件利用百度最新的人脸识别应用程序界面侦测驾驶时的困倦情况。看到中国人用的TDK话筒是从我们美国运来的,真的让我们很开心。

要说我最爱的部分,当然是“江南Style”,早上音乐在大厅响起,让所有人起来跳舞。最后传来开发人员的一片掌声雷动。反过来,我们也感谢主办方百度,让我们有机会一起集思广益,创造出一些伟大的AppLink应用程序。

-Liz

福特AppLink团队


福特近日联合全球最大的中文搜索引擎百度,发起“车载云疯狂Hackathon”编程马拉松活动,共同挖掘车载联网应用的市场潜能。福特在北美已经举办或参与多次Hackathon,但在中国,这还是第一次。我作为福特亚太区AppLink的技术支持,有幸参与了这次难忘的活动。

1月26日9点到27日9点是紧锣密鼓的24小时Hackathon编程马拉松。75名百度工程师和10位福特工程师,基于百度云、百度LBS平台和福特AppLink平台,自由发挥创意,开发出了26个车载云应用,功能涵盖导航、天气、资讯、视听、分享、娱乐等多个方面。有coding也有欢乐。在Hackathon会场,三餐零食敞开供应,按摩沙发舒缓疲意,DJ热舞即兴上演,极限挑战突破自己。 整个过程充分体现了hackathon的精神 – 极限创新,快速实现,享受快乐!

在活动中,很多百度工程师感叹,没想到作为传统行业的福特公司,居然有如此好的创新氛围和与时俱进的互联网触感。作为福特技术团队的一员,我也深深的被百度工程师的技术素养和创新激情打动。这次Hackathon,只是一个开始,它是AppLink进入中国的开始,是中国的移动应用开发者认识AppLink的开始,是福特把更好的车联网体验带给中国用户的开始。

2013,AppLink,中国,敬请期待。

-贾静雯

福特AppLink团队

Recently, Ford launched On-board Cloud Crazy Hackathon jointly with the word largest Chinese search engine Baidu to tap the market potential of the on-board networking application. In North America, Ford has held or participated in several Hackathon, but in China, this is the first time. As the Ford AppLink technical support to Asia Pacific area, I had the honor to participate in this memorable activity.

The 24-hour Hackathon was held from 9:00 am January 26th to 9:00 am January 27th. 75 Baidu engineers and 10 Ford engineers, based on the Baidu cloud, Baidu LBS platform and the Ford AppLink platform, developed 26 on-board cloud applications with creativity, and the functions covering navigation, weather, information, audio-visual, sharing, entertainment and etc. The whole process fully reflected the Hackathon spirit – extreme innovation, rapid implementation and enjoyment!

During the activity, many Baidu engineers stated that they had not expected that Ford as a company in traditional industry could have such good innovation atmosphere and the up-to-date internet acumen. As a member of Ford technical team, I was also deeply impressed by the technology literacy and innovation passion of Baidu engineers. The Hackathon is just the beginning for AppLink to enter China, the beginning for Chinese mobile application developers to under AppLink, and the beginning of better on-board networking experience for Chinese users by Ford.

2013, AppLink, China, coming soon.

-Jingwen

Ford AppLink Team


 


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