In today’s increasingly wireless world, the mobile workforce is a rapidly growing reality. Thanks to the advent of smartphones, laptops, Wi-Fi, and the wireless Internet, employees can literally work and communicate wherever they are. Ford Motor Company and Microsoft have taken that concept a step further with Ford Sync, a voice-activated mobile communication system being introduced in 2008 model-year Ford vehicles.
I had the opportunity to test Sync with a 2008 Ford Taurus X Limited crossover and a 2008 Ford Taurus Limited sedan. Setting up the Sync system to communicate with my Palm Treo 700wx (running Windows Mobile 5.0) was relatively straightforward: The in-car Sync setup produces a code that you enter into your Bluetooth-enabled phone. After clicking through a few confirmation and menu-option screens, I was good to go.
Here’s how it works: Pressing a voice button on your steering wheel turns on the voice activation, and you then say things like “phone” (to activate voice dialing), “music” (to turn on the radio), or “help” to go to the required section. It takes a bit of practice to get comfortable with the voice-recognition system, but I was calling people, playing CDs, and changing radio stations in no time.
Granted, automotive technology like Sync is more of a consumer nature. But the ability to seamlessly transfer your work contacts, email, and phone lists to a voice-activated system in your vehicle is yet another big step in created the truly mobile, always-connected, work-anywhere workforce. So don’t be surprised when your CEO asks you to set up his car to communicate with his cell phone.