Ford Update Aims to Capture the Connected Customer
May 24, 2021—With the unveiling of its new “Power-Up” software Ford’s latest vehicle technology is leaning in on an ever-connected customer relationship—and collecting millions of data points in the process.
With the help of Ford’s new over-the-air (OTA) software updates—a concept Tesla pioneered years back and already in use by automakers like GM—customers will soon have access to BlueCruise, the company’s new hands-free highway driving system (a feature that’s already undergone 500,000 miles of development testing).
Through a strategic partnership with Amazon, drivers will also have hands-free access to Alexa, the web-based personal assistant service already well integrated into the daily home lives of many consumers today. The service will be capable of helping drivers make phone calls, defrost their windshields, control smart home devices, find the nearest gas station, and more.
But the development’s biggest impact will most likely lie with the new software’s capacity for constant improvement. With the ability to send updates through the embedded software, the company could reduce warranty costs with fixes diagnosed and resolved quickly with coding updates and potentially reduce the need for repair trips.
“Maybe the greatest leap forward, enabled by connectivity, is our ability to code and send over-the-air updates to connected vehicles and change embedded software," Alex Purdy, director of business operations, enterprise connectivity for Ford’s enterprise connectivity unit said in a recent media briefing.
"That means a steady stream of improvements and new features and services can be delivered completely wirelessly. We can double down on the features that people love, get rid of the ones that they don’t, fix the things that are broken, and improve the things that aren’t, all while learning along the way,” Purdy said.
The ability to update on the go and respond in real time to customer preferences will ultimately help the automaker collect data from millions of consumers, giving access to lucrative new potential revenue streams as CNBC reports.
The move also aligns with a much larger business model shift away from a one-time vehicle purchase transaction and toward a relationship built on continuous customer interaction via tech-driven features, as The Detroit News reports.
“We believe that data is the new oil, since it’s essential to our electric future and enables us to have an always-on relationship with our customer," Purdy said after referring to Ford as a "technology company."
Ford to manufacture 33 million vehicles equipped with the Power-Up service by 2028.