Vodacom is looking to extend the range of its connectivity to more than just mobile, as the local firm announced a partnership with Altron Netstar and Toyota to bring the first connected cars to South Africa.

All three are aiming to be leading the field in terms of the vehicle of the future, with the Internet of Things (IoT) being the backbone upon which the connected cars system will depend upon.

“In terms of the agreement, Vodacom will provide Toyota vehicles with in-vehicle Wi-Fi and telematics connectivity – enabling seamless communications between vehicle owners and their vehicles,” explained the service provider in a press statement about the partnership.

“Data transfer via mobile networks is in essence the life blood to the connected car ecosystem, and Vodacom’s scale and market penetration within this space made it the partner of choice for Altron Netstar and Toyota to drive the next phase of connected vehicles,” the firm adds.

The partnership also marks the start of a longer term vision to deliver a more connected society, according to Vodacom, by paving the way for the expansion of broadband access to as many South Africans as possible.

“This partnership is a key part of Vodacom’s IoT strategy, and is a step closer to realising our ambition to create opportunities for innovation in South Africa as well as the broader continent, bolstered by growth in IoT,” notes William Mzimba, CEO at Vodacom Business.

“We’re witnessing an increasing number of car buyers ranking in-car technology as important as vehicle performance. They want their cars to be safe, efficient, better equipped and fun. By connecting people to platforms that will manage the complexity of streaming music from the cloud, real-time traffic information and personalised roadside assistance, we can meet these growing demands,” he concludes.

For now no precise timeline has been outlined by all three parties as for when connected cars will begin driving on local roads, but it is at least pleasing to see that companies like Vodacom, Altron Netstar and Toyota are recognising the need to prepare for the potential that IoT and 4IR will bring to the fore.