Netstar Global News – Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM), in collaboration with partners Altron (Netstar South Africa) and Vodacom Business, is pleased to announce a roll-out of connectivity features and in-car Wi-Fi on all new Toyota and Lexus models. The announcement was made at a press conference hosted by TSAM on Thursday, 29 August 2019.
This brings in a new era of a collaborative partnership between telematics, automotive manufacturers and telecommunication. There is much to say on the benefits of connected vehicles, it is estimated that by 2021 more than 380 million connected cars will be on the road fundamentally changing the way we all live, work and drive. But how will this improve our daily lives? Road safety improvements is one example, in Australia 247 people have already lost their lives to fatal crashes on the road, with connected cars, driving will become much safer as this combines with predictive analytics that enable smart systems to substitute for a driver in case of emergency.
Accident prevention is another example, most automobiles are already equipped with sensory technology that detect oncoming collisions and actively avoid them. This can also aid with industries such as Australia’s Emergency Services, in Europe, European car makers are required by law to inbuilt an emergency call system within the vehicle to aid in locating the injured driver along with a multitude of other data that help first responders.
Connected vehicles will also lead to efficiency for both individuals as well as fleets management and public transport. The in-built vehicle technology is able to alert the vehicle and driver about oncoming traffic conditions and congestion will be foreseeable and therefore avoidable resulting in huge efficiency savings. Fleet managers in Transportation and Hire Car Industries will have full access to the condition and performance of each vehicle, driver’s behaviour and maintenance schedules. Integrating GPS Tracking Data with Connected Vehicles in these industries lead to increased efficiency and cost savings. There is also the Environmental Impact to explore with Connected Vehicles and smart technology integrated into Taxi Companies for example, this could lead to having fewer cars on the road with more passengers, leading to an obvious decrease in the overall number of vehicles on the road and bring down the amount of fuel emissions.
This technology has a variety of benefits and the collaboration between TSAM and Altron (Netstar South Africa) is only the beginning. TSAM’s new connectivity features and in-car Wi-Fi on all new Toyota and Lexus models, sold in South Africa, is a great example of the technology in action with real world application known as Toyota Connect, the new connectivity hub will be housed within the MyToyota App which was launched in 2014. The technology allows Toyota owners access to a myriad of convenience, connectivity and safety benefits. While TSAM is currently the only manufacturer in South Africa to offer a mobile App that is fully integrated with manufacturer and dealer systems, it also becomes the first organisation – the world over – to offer the convergence of Wi-Fi and connectivity features in one package across the model range.
“As of 01 September 2019, all new Toyota and Lexus models sold in South Africa will come standard with in-car Wi-Fi including 15GB free data (which you can top up) as well as a host of connectivity features and benefits courtesy of Toyota Connect, a major extension of the MyToyota App,” says President and CEO of TSAM, Andrew Kirby.
According to Kirby: “As Toyota transitions from being an automotive to a mobility-solutions organisation, it becomes imperative to collaborate with companies whose visions align with ours. The importance of telematics and telecommunications in tomorrow’s vehicles cannot be overstated – hence our partnership with global technology group Altron (through Netstar) and telecoms giant Vodacom in this project. Consumers are increasingly becoming aware of how connected technologies can enhance their lives and our task as a forward-thinking organisation is to evolve in tandem with market expectations.” This provides an advantage to innovative manufacturers with diagnostic data, vehicle servicing and in some cases providing roadside assistance, resulting in a more personalised experience for consumers.
Through its subsidiary, Netstar, Altron jointly designed and developed the bespoke technology platform with Toyota, which enables Internet of Things (IoT) aspects such as telematics and fleet management. Altron Group Chief Executive Mteto Nyati says: “This locally-developed technology enables connectivity and gives real-time data to both Toyota and its customers. It positions Altron and South Africa as relevant players in the internet of things globally. We are truly excited about this collaboration.”
“Once a customer has opted in, the data aggregated from the telematics module will provide insights to Toyota, their dealer network, customers, fleet owners and third-party service providers such as the Automobile Association (AA), providing accident and breakdown assistance,” says Nyati.
Just like smartphones, cars today will need to be connected to provide a dynamic user experience. We’re witnessing an increasing number of car buyers ranking in-car technology as important as vehicle performance. They want their cars to be safe, efficient, better equipped and fun. By connecting people to platforms that will manage the complexity of streaming music from the cloud, real-time traffic information and personalised roadside assistance, we can meet these growing demands. The gain to telecommunication is in diversification, providing a managed service with versatility through connected solutions.
The benefits of Toyota Connect can be grouped into three main areas: Connectivity features, Convenience and Safety features.
From a Connected point of view, the big news is that every new Toyota and Lexus will come standard with in-car Wi-Fi – including 15GB free data (SA only) as a once-off upon activation. Thereafter, customers can top up using Toyota Connect or their banking Apps.
When it comes to Convenience, Service Booking reminds customers when their vehicles are due for servicing, factoring in all the back-end elements when you book directly on the App. The Logbook facility automatically saves a digital log of your vehicle’s mileage and service history for tax-submission purposes, including auto-allocation for work and home, as well as business and personal trips. The GPS locator gives you peace of mind, enabling you to find your vehicle easily and get a view of your trips.
Under Safety, there is Roadside Assistance with impact detection – meaning that customers will have real-time support with AA-access for 24/7. The Battery Health Check reflects the real-time status of the customer vehicle’s battery health. The Driver Score feature encourages safer driving: customers can review their driver rating and keep track of their scores and overall driver behaviour.
It is worth mentioning that there is more to come for Toyota and Lexus customers. “This is just the start of an exciting journey. We are thrilled about the imminent addition of benefits such as licence renewal, which will allow Toyota Connect users the ability to renew their vehicle licence disc via the technology and have it delivered to their address of choice. Toyota Connect partners are also working on expanding benefits for fleet and small business owners as well as car rental support. We will share details about these exciting developments in the near future,” concludes Kirby.