Ford Motor Company's Software Start-Up is Connecting Connected Cars

The Ford Motor Company subsidiary is working to standardize the way our smartphones connect to our cars.

Jun 8, 2014 at 1:00PM

Ford (NYSE:F) recently acquired software start-up Livio to work with Ford's Smart Device Link standard. The goal is an industry standard that will provide a single method for app connectivity, allowing any smartphone to communicate smoothly and safely with all vehicles -- be it Ford or any other brand.

Motley Fool analyst Rex Moore was able to speak with Livio founder and CEO, Jake Sigal, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. An industry standard for app connectivity will be good news for all concerned, Sigal explains in this video.

A full transcript follows the video.

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Jake Sigal: The problem that's in the industry is that you've got multiple types of mobile phones, with multiple apps on those mobile phones, trying to work with multiple cars, and obviously devices in your home, to provide app connectivity.

That problem is, how do you get all these different technologies to work together across one industry standard? What we're doing now at Livio is we're working with the Smart Device Link standard to provide one method for app connectivity, safely, on the dashboard.

Rex Moore: You're trying to put one standard for everyone?

Sigal: Yes.

Moore: How is this going to go over with auto makers other than Ford?

Sigal: Obviously, Ford submitted the original version of Smart Device Link, which was called AppLink, but we have a variety of suppliers that are looking at this as, they want to have control over their experience for the customer.

As long as they still maintain control of the customer experience and the look and feel -- so it looks like their system -- the underlying connectivity technology is irrelevant, as long as it's safe and it works well.

We're providing them more time to focus on their system, so they spend less time focusing on just getting the phone to connect to the car. That's what's so great about any industry standard, like Smart Device Link.

Moore: Do you have any other automakers that you're in discussions with?

Sigal: Yes. Unfortunately, we can't talk about anything going forward. What I can tell you is, if you look at our list of our supplier partners -- these are the companies that are designing the software, designing the radios, for a whole variety of OEMs -- it's significant.

These are companies that have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on infotainment systems, and they're looking for better ways -- more affordable, that are safer, that are faster -- to get app connectivity that meets all of their customers' needs so they can spend their time focusing on making their system unique, and not having to worry about the connectivity between the phone and the car.

Rex Moore has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Ford. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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