It's easy to forget when your car is due for regularly scheduled maintenance -- but what if your TV helped to remind you? The Ford Dashboard Smart Screensaver app for Roku TV helps you keep an eye on your vehicle from your couch.

Also, I noticed that there are Ford Pass apps for iOS, Android, Amazon Alexa, etc, etc. - but nothing for Roku! This changes with the release of this app.

What it does

Ford Dashboard for Roku TV is a smart screensaver app that displays quick vital stats about your vehicle: fuel level, tire pressure warnings, current location, and even current mileage, all on your Roku TV. When you register your vehicle to use the app, you will also receive email notifications when maintenance may be required.

How we built it

The web interface was built using HTML/PHP/MySQL to retrieve and store access and refresh tokens in order to use the API. A user must first authorize their vehicle using Ford Connect before receiving an access code that can be entered in the screensaver to associate it with their vehicle.

The screensaver component was built in BrightScript, which is a proprietary programming language native to the Roku platform. The screensaver interfaces with our website to retrieve and store refresh tokens which are then used to access the API to update and display the most current vehicle information. We are using a few API calls, but mainly the ones that allow us to Vehicle Information, Vehicle Thumbnail, and of course the Vehicle List.

Mileage for each vehicle is logged, which is used to determine if maintenance alerts should be sent. The notifications are sent to the email provided during the sign up process. I was able to include the regularly scheduled maintenance intervals for the 2019 Edge for this demo, and in the near future will include other vehicles.

Challenges we ran into

Conceiving an idea that would be particularly useful to the end user was difficult at first. I did not want to create an app that has already been done before, and I believe this is the first app for Roku that interfaces with real motor vehicle information.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

This is the first Ford-related channel/app for Roku. It's also the only one I'm aware of for any smart vehicle / modem-equipped vehicle.

What's next for Ford Dashboard for Roku TV

I'd like to use an API to translate longitude and latitude into placenames. I actually started to do this, but since the demo vehicle has coordinates based in Antarctica, it was causing some errors. This will be one of the main, easy-to-implement features ahead.

I would like to add more options to make scheduling maintenance even easier, such as recommending an authorized service center nearby and automatically scheduling appointments based on availability.

Also, if there is enough interest in this app, we will submit it for certification on the Roku store so that it will be more easily found. We will also need to work with Ford before this step, however, to procure proper licensing and permissions.

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