Ford in ‘SYNC’ with IMS on bringing allergy app to cars
While SoloHealth is placing advanced healthcare technology in stores, Ford Motor Co. recently announced that it is introducing healthcare technology into cars with IMS Health’s Allergy Alert app, now compatible with Ford SYNC AppLink. The in-dash access to the Allergy Alert app gives drivers a safe way to check the potential for scratchy eyes, sore throats and runny noses while on the go.
“Mobile health apps are changing the way consumers manage their own wellness, and Ford SYNC provides the platform to extend this growing trend to the driving experience,” stated Doug VanDagens, global director of Ford Connected Services. “The SYNC AppLink-enabled Allergy Alert app allows drivers to quickly check current and upcoming pollen and other health risk conditions with simple voice commands, while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.”
“Pollen affects everyone differently, and the IMS app was developed to specifically help people on the move improve their quality of life,” said Dan Barton, U.S. head of product development for IMS Health. “Our experience with allergy sufferers suggests a strong demand for real-time information. The technology we’ve applied in the Ford SYNC AppLink-equipped car helps drivers better prepare for the allergens they may encounter on the road by delivering reliable, timely and relevant information related to their destination. The app gives users the ability to more consistently manage their symptoms.”
With SYNC AppLink, drivers can connect smartphones or tablets to their cars, and by using simple voice commands are able to quickly access information from Allergy Alert — while not having to take their hands off the wheel or eyes off the road.
Through the app’s pollen index rating, drivers can request to hear the types of allergen conditions they are likely to encounter that may cause a flare-up in personal allergy symptoms. The app also provides a risk index for asthma, flu/cough/cold and ultraviolet rays.
In spring of last year, Ford kicked off a series of research projects for in-car health-and-wellness-connected services, such as medical device connectivity, cloud-based health management services and mobile app integration. In just more than a year, Ford now is delivering on the initial research with Allergy Alert as one of the first steps toward helping drivers to take care of themselves and their passengers.
“We are attempting to create the car that cares,” noted Gary Strumolo, global manager of Ford Research and Innovation. “We want to change the paradigm that in-car connectivity systems, such as SYNC, can only be used for information and entertainment purposes. Health and wellness are key issues for our customers outside of the car; therefore, we want to leverage our connectivity platform to improve their time behind the wheel. The trend in mobile health is all about knowing potential health concerns before they happen so that they don’t surprise a person, even while driving.”