Johannesburg - When mobile phones were first introduced to South Africa almost three decades ago it completely changed the way we communicate, so much that nowadays a land line has become almost superfluous as everyone walks around with a smartphone..
And remember the days of dial-up internet, so slow and unreliable.
From a runner placing letters under a stone and a postman dropping off letters at your home, technology has advanced exponentially over the last 10 years or so that we take for granted that we’ll be connected anywhere we find ourselves.
The same goes for the motor industry, connectivity is now expected and it has completely changed the way we interact with our cars.
Which is exactly what Toyota South Africa has done with partners Altron and Vodacom Business with connectivity features and in-car Wi-Fi on all new Toyota and Lexus models.
It’s known as Toyota Connect and is housed within the MyToyota App. It allows owners convenience, connectivity and safety benefits that are integrated with manufacturer and dealer systems.
There’s also standard in-car Wi-Fi including 15GB free data (which can be topped up) as Toyota moves from an automotive to a mobility-solutions organisation.
Through its subsidiary, Netstar, Altron jointly designed and developed the technology platform with Toyota, which enables Internet of Things (IoT) aspects such as telematics and fleet management. The 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.
Toyota has now also extended Toyota Connect to small and medium fleet owners.
Known as MyToyota Fleet Lite, the platform allows SME owners with up to 50 vehicles to enjoy the benefits of the Connected car experience, which includes Wi-Fi. It expands on the current offerings within the MyToyota and MyLexus apps available for B2C, providing a B2B solution as part of the ownership experience.
It forms part of an important drive to delivering additional value to customers by offering convenience beyond product as part of the ownership experience. It allows businesses to book a service, book a test drive, get roadside assistance, get in-car Wi-Fi, access to logbook, monitor driver behaviour and live location, as well as managing alerts at no additional cost.
MyToyota Fleet Lite is available to SMEs as a web-based platform for those running Toyota and Lexus fleets free of charge. This enables fleet managers whose vehicles are already Toyota Connect equipped to access a myriad of convenience, connectivity, and safety benefits. From the comfort of their offices, fleet managers are now able to activate Wi-Fi and top up in-car data as well as monitor driver behaviour among other things.
For example, alerts could be set for speeding, harsh braking, and cornering which enables the fleet manager to be proactive should there be any change in driver behaviour. In addition, the ability to monitor a fleet has become a necessity as it allows the administrator the ability to ascertain if a vehicle is stationary or moving, check the battery health and whether it’s in a high-risk zone or not, helping to mitigate possible risks to both the fleet and vehicle occupants.
The standard benefits of Toyota Connect can be grouped into three main areas: Connectivity features, Convenience and Safety features.
From a connected point of view 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 owners 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 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 gives peace of mind, enabling owners to find the vehicle easily and get a view of its trips.
When it comes to safety, there is Roadside Assistance with impact detection – meaning that owners 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 allowing owners to review their driver rating and keep track of their scores and overall driver behaviour.