From left: CEO of Toyta: Andrew Kirby, Chief Officer of Vodacom Business: William Mzimba, Chief Executive of Altron Group: Mteto Nyati, and Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies: Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. Picture: SUPPLIED
From left: CEO of Toyta: Andrew Kirby, Chief Officer of Vodacom Business: William Mzimba, Chief Executive of Altron Group: Mteto Nyati, and Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies: Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. Picture: SUPPLIED

As of September 2019, all new Toyota and Lexus models sold in SA come standard with in-car Wi-Fi including 15GB free data.

It’s part of a host of connectivity features of Toyota Connect, which Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) has introduced in collaboration with partners Altron and Vodacom Business.

Toyota Connect is a new connectivity hub housed within the MyToyota App which was launched in 2014. The technology allows Toyota owners access to a number of convenience, connectivity and safety benefits:

  • From a connected point of view, the big news is the in-car Wi-Fi with 15GB free data in every new Toyota and Lexus, as a once-off upon activation. Thereafter, customers can top up using Toyota Connect or their banking apps.
  • When it comes to convenience, the Service Booking feature reminds customers when their vehicles are due for servicing, factoring in all the back-end elements when customers book directly on the app. The Logbook facility automatically saves a digital log of the 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 enables drivers to find their vehicles easily and get a view of their 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 vehicle’s battery health. The Driver Score feature encourages safer driving, in that customers can review their driver rating and keep track of their scores and overall driver behaviour.

The launch of Toyota Connect makes Toyota the only manufacturer in SA to offer a mobile app that is fully integrated with manufacturer and dealer systems, and it is also claimed to be the first organisation in the world to offer the convergence of Wi-Fi and connectivity features in one package across the model range.

“As Toyota transitions from being an automotive to a mobility-solutions organisation, it becomes imperative to collaborate with companies whose visions align with ours,” says Andrew Kirby, President and CEO of TSAM.

CONSUMERS ARE INCREASINGLY BECOMING AWARE OF HOW CONNECTED TECHNOLOGIES CAN ENHANCE THEIR LIVES

“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.”

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 CEO Mteto Nyati says: “This locally-developed technology enables connectivity and gives real-time data to both Toyota and its customers. 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.”

Also commenting on the triumvirate partnership, Vodacom Business CEO William Mzimba says: “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.”

There is more to come for Toyota and Lexus customers, including 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.