All new Toyota and Lexus vehicles sold in South Africa — including passenger cars and minibus taxes — will be fitted with a device that provides telematics and a Wi-Fi hotspot to which up to 15 users will be able to connect.
The device, developed by Altron subsidiary Netstar, contains an e-Sim from Vodacom Business, which connects to two APNs, or mobile access points, one a prepaid APN for Internet access and the other a post-paid APN for telemetry and other services. Collectively, the solution is known as Toyota Connect and is fully integrated with manufacturer and dealer systems.
Coupled with the MyToyota smartphone app, the device will allow drivers and passengers to connect to Wi-Fi, check the car’s battery health, get real-time roadside assistance, manage vehicle services, monitor the vehicle’s location using GPS, make service books and provide a digital logbook. Companies will be able to use them to monitor their fleet. The solution is fully compliant with the Protection of Personal Information Act.
The device will be standard in all new Toyota vehicles sold in South Africa from 1 September. Toyota and Netstar have partnered with Vodacom on the e-Sim technology, with consumers to get 15GB of “free” data on the purchase of a new vehicle. Once this once-off allocation is depleted, they will be able to top it up with additional data in the MyToyota app or using electronic banking. The post-paid telemetry service is unaffected, even if the prepaid data is fully used up — it will continue to offer telemetry and other data services as it uses a separate APN.
New functionality will be added to the Toyota Connect in time. This includes the “imminent addition” a licence renewal feature, which will give vehicle owners 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.
In a statement, Toyota South Africa Motors CEO Andrew Kirby said: “As Toyota transitions from being an automotive to a mobility-solutions organisation, it becomes imperative to collaborate with companies whose vision aligns with ours. The importance of telematics and telecommunications in tomorrow’s vehicles cannot be overstated — hence our partnership with Altron (through Netstar) and 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.”