Published: June 19, 2014 | South Africa
The ‘much-touted’ BMW’s ConnectedDrive opens many facets to drivers in terms of a bundled suite of services and apps that focus on both Entertainment and Driver Assistance. Although in European and North American markets ConnectedDrive is on the helms for connected car services but many of its functions have frustratingly not been accessible in South Africa.
However, recently the local office of the German automaker at Midrand, Gauteng has revealed an entire service-suite under the rubric of ConnectedDrive to its customers. BMW ConnectedDrive has been split into two parts viz HARDWARE (safety functions such as driver assistance) and SOFTWARE (apps, services and infotainment). All BMW models built from July-Aug 2014 will come standard with a built-in SIM card powered by Vodacom ( South African subsidary of Vodafone) that facilitates each of the new ConnectedDrive services. This move from BMW SA is finally giving South Africans pretty much full access to the type of technology and services offered in more prominent markets — moves the German manufacturer firmly to the forefront of the local in-car connectivity sphere. There will be seven distinct features of ConnectedDrive that will be available in South Africa.
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- Intelligent Emergency Call: Should the vehicle sensors determine that an accident has occurred on course of an accident or crash, the vehicle will transmit an automatic emergency call to a BMW call centre in Berlin . The data relayed to the call centre includes the exact location of the vehicle, the direction of its travel, details of the vehicle model, and all information gathered by the car’s sensors (such as nature and severity of the crash). Emergency services can then be dispatched such as roadside assistance, mechanic, ambulances etc. Moreover, this call can also be triggered manually.
- TeleServices: It constantly monitors all the vehicle’s service data i.e. your BMW will know when a service is due. This information is then passed along to a BMW dealership, allowing all necessary parts to be sourced ahead of the time. It even constantly checks fluids and wear components (such as engine oil and brake pads). In a nutshell it facilitates, telematics-based Customer Relationship Management(CRM).
- Remote Services: This kind of service syncs with your smartphone Android| Windows| Apple to allow you to control your BMW from remote location. It can help you find your vehicle in a crowded parking lot, lock and unlock the doors, and even activate the HVAC control from a distance. This will be standard on the BMW 6 and 7 Series, and will be a R650 option on all other models.
- Real Time Traffic Information(RTTI): It warns the driver of traffic jams as they happen. The real-time data, which is taken into account by the navigation system when calculating routes and possible diversions, covers major highways, country roads and main roads in urban areas. It’ll cost R1900 for a three-year service, but will be standard on the 6 and 7 Series.
- Internet Services: It will enable unlimited online surfing without the need for an additional device and will use the built-in SIM card. The data-intensive video streaming will be blocked and that the system will not function at speeds above 70km/h for safety reasons, of course. Again, this service is standard on the 6 and 7 Series, but will be optional available for the sum of R1300 for one year on other models.
- Concierge Services: It can connect the car to a 24-hour BMW Call Centre, helping the passenger to find things such as nearby restaurants, pharmacies and or ATMs. A requested point of interest can be sent directly to the car’s navigation system. This will cost R3200 for a three-year subscription, but will be standard on the BMW 6 and 7 Series.
The X1 and Z4 models will not be able to support the full suite of services because of its obsolete in-car software systems. When the system rolls out in the near future, customers with compatible vehicles will be able to visit the password-protected online My BMW ConnectedDrive portal, and set up their desired services. But in July 2015, the BMW ConnectedDrive Store will become available to South African customers, who will then be able to book services and download apps directly from the driver’s seat.
The automaker also stresses that customers needn’t be concerned by privacy issues, since the data transmitted is encrypted. In the case of the Intelligent Emergency Call, the service is permission based.
Source: BMW SA