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Old 09-20-2011, 05:15 PM   #1
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Default Ford takes on GM's OnStar with live Sync operator


Watch out, General Motors' OnStar: Ford is starting to step on your turf with its Sync system.In an unusual move, Ford said today that Sync, its in-car connectivity system that works through your own smartphone or other digital device, will add a live operator capability.

Having trouble finding a business or didn't quite get those turn-by-turn directions? With Sync, you'll be able to talk to a live person, just like the operator that has long been the feature of OnStar.

"This isn't just about offering customers a back-up option to the services we have already. This is about giving customers a variety of choices when it comes to how they would like to receive information," said Doug VanDagens, director of Ford's Connected Services Solutions Organization.
It's an unusual move because Ford has had a hit in Sync, in which an electronic voice can read messages to you and let you perform other functions by voice command, whether it's asking for news or having your horoscope read. It was GM that was dependent on the live operator with OnStar, a tougher sell in an age when everyone carries a cellphone, and lately it has announced products that seem more like Sync.

With Ford's live operator, a driver can say "operator" as they search for business listings or are trying to get directions to go somewhere.

Ford says when a live operator assists with a business search, the user can choose to receive turn-by-turn directions, receive a text message with name, address and phone number for the business. They also can be directly connected to the business by phone. When a live operator assists with address entry, the user can have the directions sent directly to the vehicle. When the information is sent or the user is connected to a business, a "session" has been completed.

New customers eligible for a three-year complimentary Sync Services account will receive 60 Operator Assist sessions. Customers with an active Sync Services account receive a number of complimentary sessions depending on the remaining duration of their Sync Services account.
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