Bill Ford agrees…the next mobile is the Auto-mobile and Software eats Hardware!

I had written two articles on how the NEXT HEADLINE? GOOGLE ACQUIRES GENERAL MOTORS! SOFTWARE EATS HARDWARE! and THE NEXT “MOBILE” IS THE “AUTO-MOBILE” AND DETROIT THE NEXT VALLEY?”. According to Bill Ford that is exactly what Ford and he believe is the next cycle, already in progress and they are investing in it!

Bill Ford agrees…the next mobile is the Auto-mobile!

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 9.58.12 PM




The automobile OEMs are in the best position to disrupt Silicon Valley and become the next valley. And so are the industrial OEMs from GM and GE to Boeing, to Lockheed, John Deere and Philips. But why?

Quick summary:

* But Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford wants to convince both car buyers and the tech industry that one of the most iconic companies in American history is just getting started.

* Bill Ford, however, believes that the auto industry is entering a new age of innovation, one that will not only see the age-old combustion engine transform into the electric motor, but also see the world’s relationship with the automobile change.

* In his view, cars will not only become interwoven with our communication and digital entertainment networks, but they’ll be able to use that connectivity in ways no smartphone or tablet can. Cars will not only be capable of driving themselves but in some ways they and their drivers will cease be independent actors. Instead, they’ll become an integral part of larger collaborative transportation networks.

* From powertrains to playlists

* As a far as technology in the dashboard goes, the company made a big bet six years ago that seems to have paid off well. Sync started as a simple voice command system that allows drivers to control basic functions like the stereo and climate control with voice commands. But in 2010 Ford launched AppLink, which basically turned Sync into a development platform for third-party apps linked to smartphone.

*  Why the auto industry needs developers, not suppliers

* Ford Motor suddenly had to deal with software developers, which flew in the face of how it and automakers had done business for decades.

* It had to abandon the auto industry’s years-long development cycles in order to build a connected car that would still be relevant when it rolled out off the lot, and it had to shift its focus from hardware to software, making the constantly upgraded smartphone the centerpiece of the Sync platform, Ford said.

* “I’m sure tech companies still view us as perhaps too cautious, maybe too locked into an existing customer model. But I think that’s healthy. There’s no question that the tech companies push us.”

* Ford Motor is getting more aggressive when it comes to development. It’s trying to follow in Google’s footsteps by making Sync AppLink open source in hopes of one day making it the Android of the connected car. It’s even gone beyond software to open hardware development. A new program called OpenXC is inviting the nerdiest of Silicon Valley’s maker movemen

* And beyond development, Bill Ford has started to directly invest in tech companies with the blessing of his board. Ford co-founded Fontinalis Partners, which invests in next-generation mobility technologies

* Ultimately it’s in the creation of the inter-networked vehicle that Ford hopes to make one of its biggest contributions to the future of automotive technology.

* The autonomous car

* When Ford stepped down as CEO in 2006, he became a technology evangelist for his company. In his speeches before venues such as the TED conferences and the GSM Association’s Mobile World Congress, he’s expressed ideas you wouldn’t normally expect an auto executive to utter. “For the past 30 years I’ve worked at Ford Motor Company, and for most of those year I’ve worried about how we were going to sell more cars and trucks, but today I worry about, ‘what if all we do is sell more cars and trucks?’

* Cars on the highway would essentially form constantly morphing massive ad-hoc mesh networks using a secure form of Wi-Fi, which would allow them to communicate their speed, trajectory, braking and eventual destinations to other vehicles right next to them as well vehicles far down the road

* Closing the gap between Silicon Valley and Motor City

“If the automobile is about to undergo a massive transformation akin to the mobile phone’s transformation last decade, is Detroit destined to lead it? Or as with the mobile phone, is the future connected car bound to emerge from Silicon Valley, where companies like Google, Apple and Tesla Motors(tsla) will take over the role as innovators?”

* “I fully recognize we won’t be the inventor, and many cases not even the developer, of new technologies that go into cars,” Ford said. “What we need to be is extremely nimble and intensely interested in all of the developments in this space.”

* Ford, however, said he isn’t necessarily viewing Google is a potential future competitor. Rather he sees it as a company trying to tackle the same problem as Ford with a different approach

* Ford doesn’t believe that his company’s vehicles will become empty vessels for Google or any other tech company’s entertainment or driving technology, but he also readily admits that Ford can’t truly innovate without their help. Ford Motor needs to become part of the tech industry, not stand aloof from it, he said.

* If Ford doesn’t build that new Model T, then Silicon Valley most certainly will.

In conclusion. This is a clear direction of how this is Bell’s Law in action, and sensors + analytics + marketplaces + Communities + Commerce eats hardware.

5 replies »

  1. Software eats Hardware. Orion, an algorithm optimizing via sensors and analytics…

    Ten years in the making, a UPS system called Orion crunches data so that drivers can save a fraction of a mile. It’s expected to save the world’s biggest package delivery company millions of dollars a year in gas. Bloomberg goes inside the making of the mathematical model that explores the physics of the driving route. (Source: Bloomberg)


  2. Why the First Mile is the Next Mile? Why Push is the next Pull?

    Volvo is turning its cars into delivery drop-off points with a new technology called Roam Delivery, introduced at the Mobile World Congress.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s