Ford is rolling out its SYNC in-car connectivity system to markets in the ASEAN region.

The Focus model is the first Ford vehicle built in ASEAN to feature the SYNC platform. It will shortly be available across the region. The SYNC system allows digital media players and Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones to be connected and operated in the car via voice commands and a steering-wheel mounted control. The driver is able to make calls or play music tracks utilising their mobile device.

First introduced in North America, SYNC is now installed in more than 4 million Ford vehicles. With the system launching across Europe and Asia this year, Ford projects an additional 9 million vehicles will be equipped with SYNC by 2015.
 
“SYNC has been a transformational technology not only for Ford, but for the entire industry,” says Trevor Worthington, Ford’s product programs director, Product Development, Asia Pacific and Africa (APA). “SYNC has been integral to keeping pace with the consumer, delivering value through smart and convenient features that helps keep them connected to their digital lives in a safer, simpler and smarter way.”
 
Using Bluetooth technology, SYNC can wirelessly connect up to eight different mobile phones to the all-new Focus through a process called pairing. Once paired, SYNC will automatically transfer all the names and numbers in the phone’s contact list to the in-vehicle system.
 
A microphone inside the cabin allows consumers to use their mobile phone hands-free while driving. Making a phone call is as simple as pushing a button and saying someone’s name. SYNC also enables Focus customers to continue their mobile phone conversation as they get into the car – without the need to hang up – as the system will instantly connect to the Bluetooth-enabled phone once the car is started.
 
By seamlessly integrating with the mobile phone, SYNC includes the same features offered on the phone, including caller ID, call waiting, conference calling, a caller log, contact list, a signal strength icon and a phone battery charge icon – all shown on the Focus’s centrally-located display screen.
 
SYNC can also recognise the user’s ringtone on supported phones and play it when a call comes in. If unique ring tones have been selected to identify specific callers, SYNC will automatically play those too.
 
When connected to a compatible phone, SYNC can also retrieve text messages and read them aloud.
 
In ASEAN, SYNC will be available in UK English. Ford has been working with its voice technology partner Nuance Communications to find a way to make voice recognition even easier and more intuitive for drivers to successfully use, especially first-timers.
 
Nuance’s natural text-to-speech technology is also behind “Samantha,” the female voice of SYNC, providing drivers 'with a more natural, conversational experience with their Ford vehicle', according to Ford.
 
“We know people want to stay connected in their vehicles, so Ford is continuing to deliver that connectivity for them responsibly and safely,” said Rod Phillips, SYNC engineering manager, APA. “We aim to make the voice-activated SYNC as easy to use as possible so that drivers can keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.”