Toyota Friend will be a private social network that connects Toyota customers with their cars, their dealership, and with Toyota. Friend, powered by Salesforce.com's Chatter, will be first offered in Japan, initially with Toyota's electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHV) due in 2012. For example, if an EV or PHV is running low on battery power, Toyota Friend would notify the driver to re-charge in the form of a "tweet"-like alert. In addition, while Toyota Friend will be a private social network, customers can choose to extend their communication to family, friends, and others through public social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. The service will also be accessible through smart phones, tablet PCs, and other advanced mobile devices.
So far TMC has developed its own telematics services to connect people, cars and their surroundings and through Toyota Friend, TMC aims to offer its telematics services worldwide. Moving forward, TMC plans to advance toward the realization of future mobility by teaming up proactively with global IT companies.
Although TMC and salesforce.com will launch their partnership with the building of Toyota Friend, in the future the companies plan to develop cloud services for TMC's open platform and create new business opportunities leveraging their respective strengths. Salesforce.com and TMC will each make investments in Toyota Media Service Co. (TMS), which oversees TMC's global cloud platform development. Salesforce.com will invest 223 million yen and TMC will invest 442 million yen. Microsoft Corporation, which on April 6 announced a strategic partnership with TMC to build a global platform for next generation telematics services, will invest 350 million yen.