14/10/10

By Claire West

Voice operated ‘apps’ for use in cars will be the next huge growth area for business software development according to Mark Mason, CEO of Mubaloo the UK’s largest smartphone application developer.

“Smartphone ‘apps’ are making business more mobile and less office bound all the time,” said Mr Mason. “Ford has released its software development kit today and Mubaloo ‘apps’ will be compatible with their SYNC voice command system. The other motor manufacturers are bound to be following suit soon.”

An IBM survey of 2,000 software design professionals in 87 counties revealed earlier this week that they expected the design of business apps to outstrip all other forms of business software development in the next five years.

“More and more drivers will find a way to use their devices and their apps while in the car,“ said Derrick Kuzak, Ford Motor Company’s Group Vice President of Global Product Development. “They can do it unsafely, or they can do it through safer voice-activated solutions such as Ford SYNC - keeping their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.“

“Automated voice command compatibility is an impressive feature for an ‘app’,” said Mr Mason. “Ford claim that their SYNC voice command system has a lexicon of more than 10,000 words.”

Ford say that they have received more than 1,000 submissions from developers to either modify their existing apps, or create all-new ones that interface with Ford SYNC’s voice commands through AppLink.

AppLink will be available in the 2011 Fiesta and will be compatible with Android and BlackBerry smartphones. iPhone compatibility is expected to be added to the system later in the year.

Mubaloo have produced a fuel-price finder for The AA (which Apple have ranked in their Top 50 Apps), an AXAdent claims app for AXA insurance, a hotel finder for Britain’s Finest, an augmented reality app for the Carphone Warehouse. Mubaloo also produced one of this year’s most successful ’app’ for their 2010 World Cup Tracker app which achieved over 2.4 million downloads in 8 weeks.