Toyota Announces Strategic Partnerships for Its All-New Telematics Programs: Safety Connect™ and Lexus Enform™
LAS VEGAS – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), USA, Inc. – In conjunction with its announcement of its all-new telematics systems, Safety Connect and Lexus Enform, Toyota announced its multiple strategic partnerships in support of the new systems.
“Our selective partnerships are the cornerstone of our success in the launch of our proprietary telematics services,” said Jon Bucci, TMS vice president, Advanced Technology Department. “We are very proud—and entirely confident—in the business relationships we have forged in the development of Safety Connect and Lexus Enform, and know that we’re working with the best in the field.”
ATX: A Telematics Industry Leader
A key collaborator in Toyota’s telematics efforts is ATX, a leading provider of telematics services to global automobile manufacturers.
“Toyota is a company that strives to provide the best quality possible to its customers and believes in doing things right from the start. This philosophy is the foundation of our partnership,” said Steve Millstein, president of ATX Group. “ATX has been associated with a number of industry ‘firsts’ and ‘bests,’ we foresee that our partnership with Toyota will make us even better.”
All Safety Connect and Lexus Enform calls—for automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, emergency assistance, roadside assistance and directions requests—will be sent directly to Toyota’s dedicated ATX call center.
“ATX brings over a decade of experience launching a variety of successful telematics platforms,” said Bucci. “Their passion for telematics resonates in both their willingness to meet and address our specific business needs as well as their dedication to meeting Toyota’s high standards for personalized, customer care.”
VoiceBox’s Flexible Voice Interface—An Automotive First
On the Lexus Enform side, Toyota has partnered with VoiceBox® Technologies Inc., to provide one of the most functional—and sure to be favorite—systems in the new platform. VoiceBox is the award-winning innovator of conversational voice search applications.
"VoiceBox’s applications represent a true advancement over traditional speech applications available today,” said Mike Kennewick, CEO of VoiceBox. “Toyota is leading the initiative to develop and deliver advanced voice applications for their customers, and we’re happy to help and support their market-leading vision as we begin to deploy VoiceBox to help offer the most satisfying experience to drivers.”
Lexus Enform vehicles will feature VoiceBox software as an enhancement to the standard voice recognition—an application not seen before in the automotive world. This innovative voice command system works to control many functions of the audio system, HVAC, and the navigation system as well as Bluetooth® calls, all easier to accomplish—in fewer steps, with more flexible speech—allowing drivers to focus more on the road ahead.
“Driver distraction is an issue that deeply concerns Toyota,” said Jim Pisz, TMS corporate manager, Advanced Technology Department. “Our ongoing goal—and aim in our partnership with VoiceBox Technologies—is to help enable drivers to safely and reliably communicate and retrieve information while on the road.”
XM: Reaching Beyond Radio
“With the launch of our new telematics systems, we are excited to see our long-standing partnership with XM to launch into new terrain,” said Pisz.
In addition to XM’s ongoing satellite radio offerings, including the now available “The Best of SIRIUS,” Toyota’s XM services are now expanding to include XM NavTraffic® on more Lexus and Toyota models, as well as XMNavWeatherTM and XM® Sports and Stocks on most Lexus models. Also of note, XM has provided Toyota with proprietary bandwidth for the broadcast of Lexus Insider audio casts.
“These expanded XM services on Toyota and Lexus vehicles only further solidifyour substantive relationship with TMS,” said Steve Cook, group vice president automotive, SIRIUS XM Radio. “We look forward to continuing our efforts and providing Toyota and Lexus drivers the services they want and need on the road.”
Zagat: On-Road Access to Best-Selling Restaurant Guides
TMS has collaborated with Zagat to enhance and improve the Lexus ownership experience by utilizing Zagat’s best-in-breed content within the navigation system.
“When looking for points of interest that would resonate with our discerning Lexus drivers, there was no better choice than Zagat,” said Bucci. “The Zagat name goes hand-in-hand with the quality our drivers have come to expect and rely upon in their Lexus vehicles.”
With the Lexus Enform navigation platforms’ Destination Assist and eDestination features, drivers now have easy access to Zagat-rated restaurants nationwide.
“We see our collaboration with Toyota as a perfect fit, providing Lexus owners with integrated Zagat content which will help them make better, more informed dining decisions while on the road,” said Tim Zagat, CEO of Zagat Survey.
Safety Connect and Lexus Enform will be delivered as embedded, factory-installed hardware on select vehicles with an included one-year trial subscription beginning in late summer 2009. More details on product roll-out will be announced closer to launch.
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NOTE: TMS Advanced Technology Department executives will be available on site in Las Vegas during CES on January 8, 2009.
Note to editors: For images related to this press release, please visit Toyota’s media Web site at http://pressroom.toyota.com/.
* Audra Ruzich – TMS, Advanced Technology Department, 310.468.5972
* Greg Thome – Lexus Public Relations, 310.468.3279
* Craig Taguchi – Lexus Public Relations, 310.468.3282
* Ming-Jou Chen – TMS, Product Communications, 310.468.4782
* Bill Kwong – TMS, Product Communications, 310.468.3764
* Sam Butto – TMS, Product Communications, 310.468.7728
ATX is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cross-Country Automotive Services (http://www.crosscountry-auto.com/), Medford, MA. With operations in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and Düsseldorf, Germany, ATX is one of the world’s leading providers of customized telematics services to global automobile manufacturers. ATX services are provided to vehicle owners through the brand names of its customers --- Toyota, Lexus, BMW, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. ATX telematics services are designed to provide enhanced safety, security and driving convenience to vehicle owners. These services include location-specific emergency and roadside assistance, automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle recovery, remote diagnostics and real-time traffic and navigation assistance. ATX also customizes telematics services to help automobile manufacturers and their affiliated dealerships use telematics data to reduce costs, enhance vehicle servicing, and more closely manage customer relationships. For more information, visit http://www.atxg.com/.
About VoiceBox Technologies:
VoiceBox develops Conversational Voice Search™ software that lets people search, navigate and discover content and services simply by using natural, free-form language. Incorporated in 2001, the privately held company’s patented voice search technology is deployed in embedded, server and hybrid architectures with an application focus in navigation, hands-free dialing, local search and music/entertainment. The Company is focused on the automotive, PND and mobile/iPhone market. VoiceBox Technologies has received awards from Wall Street Journal, Gartner Group, Laptop Magazine and the International Academy of Science. For more information, please visit http://www.voicebox.com/.
About SIRIUS XM Radio:
SIRIUS XM Radio is America’s satellite radio company delivering commercial-free music channels, premier sports, news, talk, entertainment, traffic and weather, to more than 18.9 million subscribers.
SIRIUS XM Radio has content relationships with an array of personalities and artists, including Howard Stern, Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Jimmy Buffett, Jamie Foxx, Barbara Walters, Opie & Anthony, Bubba the Love Sponge®, The Grateful Dead, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Bob Edwards. SIRIUS XM Radio is the leader in sports programming as the Official Satellite Radio Partner of the NFL, Major League Baseball®, NASCAR®, NBA, NHL®, and PGA TOUR®, and broadcasts major college sports.
SIRIUS XM Radio has arrangements with every major automaker. SIRIUS XM Radio products are available at shop.sirius.com and shop.xmradio.com, and at retail locations nationwide, including Best Buy, RadioShack, Target, Sam’s Club, and Wal-Mart.
SIRIUS XM Radio also offers SIRIUS Backseat TV, the first ever live in-vehicle rear seat entertainment featuring Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network; XM NavTraffic® service for GPS navigation systems delivers real-time traffic information, including accidents and road construction, for more than 80 North American markets.
About Zagat Survey, LLC:
Known as the “burgundy bible,” Zagat Survey is the world’s most trusted source for information about where to eat, drink, stay and play around the globe, and as such has become a symbol of quality. Zagat Survey rates and reviews airlines, restaurants, hotels, nightlife, movies, music, golf, resorts, shopping, spas, and a range of other entertainment categories in over 100 countries. It has been lauded as the “most up-to-date, comprehensive and reliable guides ever published” and as “a necessity second only to a valid credit card.” Zagat content is available in print, on the Web, on the Palm and Windows Mobile operating systems, on BlackBerry, on mobile phones, and on TV. For more information, visit ZAGAT.com.
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