Ford SYNC AppLink-equipped vehicles provide allergy forecasts on demand
By David Szondy
August 9, 2012
Seasonal allergies strike 20 percent of Americans every year. Some people suffer so badly that they check the pollen count with the devotion that others pay to the stock market. For some asthma sufferers, an allergy attack can even lead to a life-threatening asthma episode. As part of its program to help motorist manage their health, Ford has announced that cars equipped with its SYNC AppLink system will be able to alert drivers about pollen and other health-related conditions.
Developed in conjunction with IMS Health, this system allows Fords equipped with SYNC AppLink to connect via smartphones and tablets to IMS Health’s free Allergy Alert app, which downloads local allergy-related information from IMS Health’s Pollen.com website. Using verbal commands through SYNC AppLink, drivers can access information on local pollen counts, flu and related disease alerts, asthma alerts, UV indexes and the identity of pollens present – all without taking their eyes off the road. Locations are based on GPS readings and preset zip codes, which are also verbally accessible.
“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.”
Ford hopes to soon move beyond allergy alerts to more ambitious ways to aid motorists manage their health, including glucose monitoring devices, diabetes management services, asthma management tools and more Web-based allergen alerts.