Service will connect owners with live car data, among other features.
By Lisa Lacy
Toyota is rolling out a private social network for Toyota customers and their cars.
Launching initially in Japan with electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, the Toyota Friend network will run on private social network platform Salesforce Chatter. It will connect vehicle owners to each other and to the brand, and among other things will help them use mobile apps to schedule maintenance.
Paul Nolasco, assistant manager of Toyota's global communications department, said the service will help "retain appeal for consumers over the next century."
Toyota Friend can be used with smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices as well as the dashboard of some models. When the car is due for maintenance, it sends the owner a "tweet-like" message. The owner can then reply to the car, which could then proceed, if directed by the owner, to contact the dealer for an appointment.
Using Toyota Friend, vehicles can transmit oil level, tire pressure, and battery charge data, and owners can exchange information on environmentally friendly driving methods and recommended destinations. They can even turn on seat warmers from their mobile devices on cold days.
Owners will also be able to use the service to post content to Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks.
"Conventionally, our cars can communicate with us via warning lights and buzzers. But this same information can be relayed to us through [social network systems], like much of the other information we receive daily," Nolasco says.
According to Nolasco, Salesforce.com proposed the idea of a private network for Toyota owners and it "meshed extremely well with ideas that our company had envisioned for the future of the automobile, namely enhancing the connectivity of automobiles and their users."
The notion of gathering data through mobile apps is not new. In 2009, AKQA created an app that used in-car USB ports to let U.K. car owners track their CO2 emissions via an application. The initiative won a Grand Prix at the 2009 Cannes Lions ad festival.
Revolutionize your digital marketing campaigns at ClickZ Live San Francisco (August 10-12)!
Educating marketers for over 15 years, our action-packed, educationally-focused agenda offers 9 tracks to cover every aspect of digital marketing. Join over 500 digital marketers and expert speakers from leading brands. Register today!
US Consumer Device Preference Report
Traditionally desktops have shown to convert better than mobile devices however, 2015 might be a tipping point for mobile conversions! Download this report to find why mobile users are more important then ever.
E-Commerce Customer Lifecycle
Have you ever wondered what factors influence online spending or why shoppers abandon their cart? This data-rich infogram offers actionable insight into creating a more seamless online shopping experience across the multiple devices consumers are using.