The move is a part of a rethinking of how Sync works by Ford, making it less technical by adding more human assistance.
Now, when a Ford Sync owner tries to use Sync but is having trouble, say with finding directions to a restaurant, they can say “Operator.” When the operator comes online, they can assist by sending turn-by-turn directions, sending a text message with the restaurant’s name, address and phone number, or directly connecting the driver’s phone to the restaurant’s number.
The move is a stark turnaround for Ford. When Sync first debuted, it was billed as a software-only solution for concierge, emergency and directory services, GM offers through its OnStar system. Unlike OnStar, Ford’s system hasn’t required expensive yearly subscriptions for car owners; an OnStar subscription starts at $199 a year. Without live operators, Ford also didn’t have to operate costly call centers; now Ford has contracted MyAssist — a personal assistance service firm — to manage Operator Assist. The feature was in beta tests over the summer. Ford said its users liked knowing there would be a person to help with the software at a moment’s notice.
Ford will offer the service free to Sync owners for three years, but you will only get a limited number of calls, which is probably due to the nature of the relationship between Ford and MyAssist. You get 60 sessions in total with a new Ford and newly activated service. Customers with active Sync accounts will receive a limited number of sessions depending on the time left on their Sync accounts.
- Less than a year: 20 sessions
- Between one and two years: 40 sessions
- Between two and three years: 60 sessions
If you want additional service, you can purchase a $60 subscription that’ll include 20 complimentary Operator Assist sessions or buy additional sessions when needed.
The service is available now; no in-vehicle software upgrades are required to make the service work.