Telematics Update sat down with Brian Inouye, national manager technology and engineering for Toyota’s Advanced Technology Department, to hear the latest on the automaker’s game plan for integrating telematics with connectivity solutions for its electric vehicles and hybrids. Here are a few key points Inouye shared:
For Dealers assisting customers with the Toyota Entune or Lexus Enform multimedia systems that link the car to applications and data services, it can get a bit tricky connecting the specific apps used by the customer. A customer might not have his user ID for his Pandora account, for example, and still expects the dealer to be able to handle it. A lot of customers want an easy set up and to roll out of the dealership with all the services enabled.
How much consumer technology to bring into the vehicle is a tough question to answer. Each app requires an initial setup, user ID, and account management. When you buy a phone or laptop today, it takes a good hour to get the system in working order. Toyota is working hard at finding the right balance to meet customer needs and streamline the purchase process.
Toyota is working with Verizon as its connectivity partner. In this age of cloud connection, Toyota and Verizon are assembling a mix of WiFi to Bluetooth to embedded for the right level of connection. Premium luxury buyers may want connectivity all the time, while entry level subcompact owners maybe can’t afford the luxury of an embedded phone. They’ll want to connect to their own device.
Toyota’s technology platform partnership for communications and collaboration infrastructure with Microsoft from last year is deepening now as the companies realize the cloud is here to stay. They’re working on the right method to keep the technologies connected with the cloud and back to Toyota. Next-generation telematics services using the Windows Azure platform will play an important role.