jacAPPS Will Provide Tech Support to New Ford Developer Program

1/8/13Follow @XconomyDET

Now that we’re a little over a week away from Mobile Madness Motor City, we wanted to highlight one of the event’s panelists, Paul Jacobs.

Jacobs is the CEO and founder of jacAPPS, based in Southfield, MI, which he says is the result of  a 30-year career running Jacobs Media as a consultant to rock radio. (Jacobs says his company invented the classic rock format.) Jacobs Media got into apps a little over three years ago through research it was doing in media and technology for some of its clients. JacAPPS specializes in creating apps for festivals and events like the Ann Arbor Art Fair and radio shows like NPR’s “Car Talk.” Its apps have been downloaded more than 14 million times since 2008.

Yesterday afternoon at the Consumer Electronics Showcase in Las Vegas, Ford announced its new Ford Developer program, which it says is the automotive industry’s first open source mobile app development program. Ford will make software development tools available to the developer ecosystem to enable software developers to integrate their apps with SYNC AppLink. Jacobs says jacAPPS was selected by Ford to provide development and technical support to third-party developers.

Jacobs, who will be participate in the Apps Strategy panel at Mobile Madness Motor City, says his company’s involvement with Ford technically began three years ago.  He met with Julius Marchwiki, global product manager for SYNC App Link, at CES. At that point, Jacobs says, Pandora was the only app on App Link. The two kept in contact, speaking from time to time, until Jacobs got the call six months ago to be a part of Ford Developer’s beta test.

JacAPPS teamed with Greater Media, which owns local stations such as WRIF-FM (101), as well as major stations in Boston, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, to develop SYNC-enabled radio station apps using Ford’s software development kit. Now, jacAPPS will offer its expertise to other developers working with the software development kit, which contains code libraries and documentation for the APIs that enable two-way communication between mobile apps and the vehicle, including voice commands from the driver.

Jacobs says that jacAPPS, which has a team of five employees, is thrilled to be a part of the project. “To be selected by Ford is really good for the Detroit tech community,” he explains. “That Ford kept it local makes a real statement.”

Ford will also be a part of Mobile Madness Motor City, with Sheryl Connelly, the automaker’s head of futuring, discussing three trends that will change the world. GM’s Greg Ross, who works in business development, will also be on hand as part of a panel discussion on connected cars. And those are just a few of the great speakers we have lined up.  The event takes place on Jan. 17 at the Compuware Building in downtown Detroit. Tickets are still available at a special discounted rate for a few more days; click here for a full agenda and to get your tickets.

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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