Ford Motor Co. continues to move forward with the integration of software developer Livio, which it acquired back in September, to help beef up the capability of its SYNC connectivity system and AppLink application programming interface.

The OEM said Livio builds products and software tools to support smartphone/car connectivity and its purchase of Livio is designed to accelerate the development an industry standard for smartphone-to-vehicle communications.

The market for such “in-vehicle connectiviety” is larger and growing, according to the automaker, as over 1.9 million vehicles were delivered with smartphone integration solutions in 2012 – a number expected to reach 21 million vehicles by 2018, according to report from London-based research firm GSMA, which represents the global mobile industry.

In terms of its own vehicles, Ford said reached a milestone with production of the 3-millionth SYNC-equipped vehicle in 2011 and that customers have opted for SYNC and MyFord Touch on nearly 80% of 2013 model vehicles.

By 2015 the OEM expects more than 14 million vehicles worldwide will be equipped with SYNC and 7 million vehicles with SYNC’s AppLink, which allows for driver voice-control of mobile applications.

Ford said Livio’s software-based advanced vehicle information and entertainment solutions improve the connection between software and hardware. By acquiring the firm, Ford said it hopes to create a single vehicle interface standard gives developers the opportunity to write software faster and more efficiently, providing customers the apps they want to use more quickly.