BMW ConnectedDrive launches locally for South African driversBy Robin-Leigh Chetty 17 June 2014 | Categories: news
BMW's ConnectedDrive has now made its way to South African roads, with the Bavarian-based manufacturer unveiling the range of in-car services and apps available as value-added options for select car models ordered at local dealers from July 2014 onwards. It's important to note that ConnectedDrive will only be available in newly ordered cars, not those currently on the showroom floor. Added to this, it cannot be retrofitted onto older car models that feature BMW's iDrive system.
According to BMW, the ConnectedDrive services and apps are aimed at delivering an enhanced level connectivity for drivers, with seamless access to everything they consider important. Furthermore, ConnectedDrive is viewed by BMW as a more efficient means of managing the 'deadtime' that drivers usually experience when negotiating the morning and afternoon commutes.
Within the ConnectedDrive ecosystem, there are seven different service offerings for users to choose from when ordering their new BMW vehicle, all of which are available at different costs, and subject to change in price.
The first is an intelligent emergency call function, which makes use of specialised button, usually located in front of the rearview mirror inside the cabin of the vehicle. This function allows drivers to make contact with the dedicated BMW call centre, in Germany. From there, an agent will make contact with local emergency services, who will be directed to the vehicle's location, thanks to its GPS.
Next up is the teleservices and real time traffic information (RTTI) offerings, both of which should be pretty familiar for most drivers, and afford access to in-depth vehicle readings and precise traffic information respectively. Other services that drivers may have experienced in the past, is the Internet and concierge options, with the latter giving users dedicated, area-specific information, with the added feature of making reservations for restaurants or accommodation for example.
The final and most interesting aspect of the ConnectedDrive ecosystem, lies in the remote services, which offers drivers a mobile app (iOS and Android) for use in a range of intuitive ways. An example of this, is the ability to locate your vehicle in a crowded parking lot, prompting the vehicle to hoot and flash its headlights. It also allows users to communicate seamlessly with their in-car ConnectedDrive system, to look up map locations, plan routes and sync calendar information. Along with this app, BMW will also be launching an online store by July 2015, as a 24-hour portal for drivers to access apps, information and updates from inside their vehicles.
The Remote Service feature should keep worried fathers happy.
As stated earlier, BMW's ConnectedDrive system will be available on a range of vehicles, with the only notable exception being the X1. As continuous connectivity becomes increasingly important for modern users, the ConnectedDrive offering from BMW looks to steal a march on other in-vehicle services set to make their way to market in the coming years, like Apple CarPlay and Microsoft's Windows In The Car.
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