A quiet revolution in road safety is happening in Australia and the Internet of Things (or IoT) is playing a huge part.

Australia has always been on the forefront of road safety – we were one of the first countries in the world to mandate the fitting and wearing of seat belts in passenger cars, and ANCAP has been conducting mandatory independent crash safety tests of new vehicles for over 25 years.

The future of road safety, though, is being driven by connected technology, which is why we are proud to work with both KDDI and Toyota Motor Corporation Australia (TMCA), while leveraging our partnership with Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator, to bring industry-leading connected-car capabilities to Australians. We are on a mission to make driving safer, easier, more economic and more enjoyable.

This future, which our extensive 4G network helps make possible, has huge potential to transform the ways in which we live, and the pace of IoT is accelerating in Australia, with over four million things now connected to our IoT networks. Partnering with Australia’s automotive market leader Toyota is a big leap forward towards this future.

Toyota shares a long history of striving to make driving safer through technology. Since it pioneered the world’s first pre-crash safety system in 2003, Toyota has improved on driver assist safety technology with every iteration. In 2020, new Toyota cars are launching with a suite of advanced and interconnected sensors, cameras and intelligent features to make up the latest version of Toyota Safety Sense.

These safety features are now being joined by an inbuilt IoT communications device designed to connect drivers with help in a serious accident or if a car is stolen. The 2020 Toyota Yaris Cross is the first new car to launch with Toyota Connected Services, which enables features like SOS Emergency Call to the Toyota Emergency Assistance call centre, Automatic Collision Notification and Stolen Vehicle Tracking. These services are rolling out to other new Toyota models progressively.

Crucially, you don’t need a mobile phone connected to your vehicle for Toyota Connected Services to operate – the inbuilt 3G/4G IoT communication module in the car connects to wherever we have our extensive mobile network coverage and transmits important vehicle data including GPS location to Toyota’s Connected Service centres at the driver’s request or in emergencies.

As IoT develops, we have a keen focus on how it can be used in Australia’s national transport network. We’re two years into a partnership with Lexus to develop advanced connected vehicles that communicate with each other, innovating traffic infrastructure to improve safety and efficiency on our roads, and developing it at scale.

Our partners also use IoT to help deliver fresh milk to China, farmers monitor their crops remotely with more data than ever before, and help to make Australia’s critical trucking industry safer – and we’re learning along with them. Our efforts to develop and roll out IoT across Australian industry meant that we were recently named the country’s best IoT company for the scale of our networks, along with awards for our mobile network and cloud services.

We’re adding all kinds of new IoT services at a rapid pace across our business. We continue to grow our environmental monitoring and water management solutions, with a number of water authorities scaling their services using out IoT network to help consumers keep better track of their water usage and help conserve water. We know there is huge potential for IoT to make the services we use more useful and more efficient across all industries – together, these small changes will add up to make a significant difference to how we live.