Ford Developer Conference - Highlights!
Don Butler, Executive Director – Ford Connected Vehicles and Services provided a roadmap of Ford in terms of in-vehicle connectivity.


Keynote (PDF)

John Ellis, Global Technologist – Ford Connected Services spoke about the significance of SmartDevice Link and the whole idea of a connected vehicle.


Close to 200 app developers were present from 15 countries (United States, Canada, Brazil, China, Nigeria, Columbia, Mexico, Japan, Hong Kong, Sweden, Israel, Peru, Puerto Rico, Barbados, Kuwait and United Kingdom) attended the conference that was power packed with some very informational sessions:

Opportunity in Automotive: AppLink, Built on the SmartDeviceLink Platform: Julius Marchwicki, Global AppLink Product Manager discussed auto’s place in the mobile industry and the need for a single platform solution for developers and end users. To illustrate the single platform capabilities of SmartDeviceLink Julius used a single app to connect to both AppLink and then SDL running on a head unit from Pateo, a tier 1 supplier in Asia Pacific. Mobile vs. Vehicle volumes (why develop for specifically automotive), why AppLink leverages mobile development, Ford’s commitment to AppLink and SmartDevice Link were other topics that were covered.

The Automotive Opportunity (PDF)

SmartDevice Link: Connectivity from the Car’s Point of View: Kevin Burdette, App Development Engineer with Ford Motor Company defined the “Head Unit” specs and provided a ground-up view of the software and how it communicates with the Head Unit. How the inside of the Vehicle Interfaces with the External World was discussed.

Apps on Wheels: The Car as the Ultimate Mobile Device was a panel session moderated by Bob Kernan, COO of JacApps. How developing for the vehicles posed opportunities and challenges was discussed with experienced panelists Jake Ward (Executive Director, App Developer Alliance), Dave Mitchell (Automotive Program Manager, Pandora), Joe Beiser (Director- Connected Services, Ford APA/Europe). How automobile manufacturers and app developers are working closely to optimize the car as both a platform and an operating system formed the core topic for discussion.

Introduction to the AppLink SDK and Best Practices: Heath Williams, Markos Rapitis and Liz Halash, Ford App Development Engineers gave the developers a feel of how it was to dive in to the API’s that Extend App Commands to the Vehicle HMI and learn about new functionality such as Voice Pass Through and Access to Vehicle Generated Data. VoicePassThru, ScrollableMessage, Slider, SetAppIcon and other attributes. The AppLink Best Practices covered how building an App for 70 MPH takes more than simply replicating the mobile screen. How using voice commands, simple display options, and proper feedback are crucial to the In-vehicle Experience. Detecting displays, languages and graphics support, Bootstrapping apps for performance, Designing for voice and voice feedback, Keeping modality (choices via menu stay in menu, choices in voice, stay in voice), acknowledging user input and more.

Introduction to the AppLink SDK (PDF)           Best Practices (PDF)

Get Your App in the Car: Kevin Burdette explained the testing and validation process and Scott Burnell, Global Lead Ford Developer Program elaborated on the subjects of app discovery and distribution. Obtaining an AppID, how to use a TDK, Validation Guidelines, Demo setting up SDL were some of the topics that were discussed to a packed audience. What it means to work with Ford and a focus on how to be a part of the Ford Developer Program. An overview of the global opportunities in Ford vehicles that cross borders and loom to grow even bigger with the adoption of SDL in the industry delivered a compelling wrap up message to the day.

Doug VanDagens, Global Director for Connected Services closed out the sessions with a thank you message reaffirming Ford’s dedication to the SDL platform and inviting other OEMs to contribute to the open source automotive solution in order to maintain individual branding and control of content in vehicles.

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