Submitted by: Bay Ridge Ford
In the last few years Americans have begun to take a more active role in managing their own health and well-being. Recognizing this trend, Ford researches are working on developing a series of health and wellness in-car connectivity solutions. These solutions are designed to empower people with self-help information while they drive.
Ford is using SYNC s ability to connect devices via Bluetooth, access cloud-based Internet services and control smartphone apps. They are developing voice-controlled in-car connections to an array of health aids including glucose monitoring devices, diabetes management services, Web-based allergen alert solutions and asthma management tools.
Ford SYNC is well known in the industry and with consumers as a successful in-car infotainment system, but we want to broaden the paradigm, transforming SYNC into a tool that can help improve people s lives as well as the driving experience, said Paul Mascarenas, chief technology officer and vice president, Ford Research and Innovation.
Taking a smart, high-volume approach to bringing mobile health and wellness solutions inside the car, To develop some of the initial health and wellness programs Ford is using a high-volume approach; looking at two populations with the most need for constant connection to potentially life-saving information people with diabetes and those who suffer from allergies or have asthma.
According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million adults and children are currently living with diabetes in the U.S., that s over 3 million more than there were four years ago. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports that over 60 million Americans have asthma and/or have allergies.
Ford is working with experts in these fields to create relevant in-car features and services for those living with these ailments.
Ford s approach to health and wellness in the vehicle is not about trying to take on the role of a healthcare or medical provider, we re a car company, said Gary Strumolo, global manager, Interiors, Infotainment, Health & Wellness Research, Ford Research and Innovation. Our goal is not to interpret the data offered by the experts, but to work with them to develop intelligent ways for Ford vehicles using the power of SYNC. In essence, creating a secondary alert system and alternate outlet for real-time patient coaching services if you will.
Ford SYNC offers three unique ways to bring health and wellness connected services into the car:
Device connectivity via Bluetooth Leveraging Bluetooth, medical devices can be connected to the car to share information through SYNC; just like a driver can connect and access their cell phone or address book by voice control
Cloud-based services Ford s off-board network of location-based traffic, directions, and information providers that drivers can access through their cell phones. Known as SYNC Services, new services such as medical services can be easily added through this plug-and-play voice-controlled capability
AppLink this innovation allows smartphone apps to be accessed by drivers via voice commands. The SYNC application programming interface (API) allows app developers to enable their apps to communicate through SYNC, delivering a smarter way for drivers to manage apps while driving
The ongoing Ford health and wellness research projects include:
Glucose monitoring: A prototype system that allows Ford SYNC to connect via Bluetooth to a continuous glucose monitoring device and share glucose levels and trends through audio and a center stack display and provide secondary alerts if levels are too low.
Allergy alerts: Ford is working with SDI Health and www.pollen.com to SYNC-enable its smartphone Allergy Alert app through AppLink, giving users voice-controlled access to the app that provides location-based day-by-day index levels for pollen; asthma, cold and cough and ultraviolet sensitivity; as well as four-day forecasts.
WellDoc: Ford and WellDoc, a recognized leader in the emerging field of mHealth integrated services, have joined forces to integrate in-car accessibility to WellDoc s comprehensive cloud-based personalized solutions for those with asthma and diabetes through SYNC Services. Using voice commands, SYNC users could access and update their WellDoc profile to receive real-time patient coaching, behavioral education and medication adherence support based on their historic and current disease information.
WellDoc was founded on the concept of helping patients manage their disease with everyday, personal tools that are easy to use and can be easily accessed, said Dr. Anand K. Iyer, president and COO of WellDoc. Through our partnership with Ford, we ve created a unique in-vehicle environment that supports patients so they can continuously maintain their daily routines without interruption.
Well on the way
Ford is also examining other more long-term health and wellness technologies and ideas related to, for example, heart rate, and relaxation and reducing stress. Ford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have long been studying the correlation between stressors and driving performance, wrapping up a nine-month advanced research project last fall that showed drivers are less stressed when using selected vehicle technologies such as Ford active park assist and cross-traffic alert.
Health and wellness provides a tremendous opportunity for Ford to provide peace of mind and a personal benefit to drivers and passengers while they are in our vehicles, said Strumolo. As more and more devices and technologies lend themselves to such connectivity in the car, it is our responsibility, our philosophy, to examine those possibilities and open our doors to industry relationships that can help us do it intelligently, efficiently and economically.
About the Author: Bay Ridge Ford,
, located in Brooklyn, NY, carries an extensive inventory of Ford cars, trucks and SUVs and works hard to get customers into the vehicle they have always wanted. In addition to inventory, the Ford dealer offers auto finance, parts, and serv