Ford Enables SYNC Voice Control of Allergy Alert App by IMS Health Giving Drivers On-Demand Access to Allergy Forecasts

DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Drivers of Ford SYNC® AppLink-equipped vehicles now can check allergy, pollen, asthma, flu and UV conditions on the go with the Allergy Alert® app
  • Allergy sufferers can check current forecasts using simple voice commands
  • Ford continues in efforts to improve the health and wellness of drivers by utilizing connectivity for more than information and entertainment

Allergy Alert® app is now compatible with Ford SYNC® AppLink to give 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," explained 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."

According to, seasonal allergy symptoms affect 20 percent of Americans annually. Those suffering with allergies are challenged to figure out if pollen levels are up or down and how it may impact their health that day. is a publicly available allergy resource supplied by IMS Health, a global leader in healthcare information, services and technology, and the data provider for the Allergy Alert app.

"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.

Based on the growing trend in mobile and Web-based healthcare services, Ford initiated research into health and wellness apps that could leverage SYNC's connectivity capability. 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 over a year, Ford is now 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," says 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."

SYNC AppLink integration enables drivers to use simple voice commands to access the health and wellness features of the Allergy Alert app while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. The voice commands and features include:

  • "Current location" updates the driver's location using the car's built-in GPS receiver to report the most accurate and up-to-date information
  • "Allergy" provides a verbal pollen index to users that rates the severity of pollen levels in the surrounding environment on a scale from 0 to 12
  • "Pollen" specifies that pollens are predominantly in the air
  • "Asthma" uses a 0 to 12 scale to address potential and upcoming concerns for asthmatics
  • "Flu" addresses the current and upcoming flu index and report
  • "UV" tells drivers of the current and upcoming risks of UV rays
  • "ZIP 1," "ZIP 2" and "ZIP 3" stores up to three ZIP codes in the settings menu of users' device. The first ZIP code is the default location when not using the GPS position. The second and third ZIP enable users to store ZIP codes outside of their current area, such as a mother storing the ZIP code of her child's school

The SYNC AppLink-enabled version of Allergy Alert is available for iOS devices and is a free app that can be downloaded from the App Store.

SYNC AppLink is currently available on 10 2012 Ford vehicle models.

About IMS Health

IMS Health is a leading provider of information, services and technology for the healthcare industry around the world. The company draws on its global technology infrastructure and unique combination of in-depth, sophisticated analytics, on-shore and off-shore commercial services, and software platforms to help clients better understand the performance and dynamics of healthcare systems. With a presence in 100+ countries and more than 55 years of industry experience, IMS serves leading decision makers in healthcare, including pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors, providers, payers, government agencies, policymakers, researchers and the financial community. Additional information is available at

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, (NYSE: F) a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 168,000 employees and about 65 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit

SOURCE Ford Motor Company