Toyota G-BOOK

Organization name: Toyota Media Service Corporation
Organization URL http://g-book.com/
Legal name Toyota Media Service Corporation
Headquarters Nagoya Intercity 14th Floor
1-11-11 Nishiki, Naka-ku,
Nagoya, Aichi 460-0003
Japan
Phone number +81-52-219-6700
Fax +81-52-219-6714

 

In Japan, G-Book is a Service offered by Toyota Motor Corporation’s Media Division; Toyota Media Services which is a telematics subscription service for Toyota- and Lexus-branded vehicles. G-Book allows users to link with cellphones and personal digital assistants (PDA)’s and personal computers (PC) across Japan. It is based on the GAZOO infrastructure of Toyota’s membership-based information service and membership system, and provides interactive information services via vehicle installed touch-screen wireless communication terminals. Plans are in the works to possibly control home appliances and home security systems from inside the vehicle.


Toyota began installing G-Book devices in selected Japanese domestic market vehicles starting with model year 2007. In November 2009 the G-Book-equipped Cars & Service was also made available in Shanghai and recently in 2011 Toyota launched Entune Service, for the US Market.

The wireless communications for Japan-market cars are handled by the DCM and transmits and receives information on KDDI Corporation network. The cellular platform uses CDMA2000 1x (CDMA 1X) method, and it is possible to receive speeds of up-to 144kbps data. The same DCM is used for China-market models, thus the network provider for China-market G-Book services is China Telecom.
MVNO; network: KDDI; Services: Pre+postpaid (Data); Status: Active

Telematics is a coined term from “Telecommunication” and “Informatics.” Using mobile communication systems such as a navigation system and GPS, it provides various information and services. We are in charge of the Telematics service offered by Toyota, called “G-BOOK.” G-BOOK provides a series of services for safer and more convenient use of cars: map data updates for the navigation system, route guidance to avoid traffic, destination settings by the operator, news and other information services, emergency reports linked with airbag deployment, stolen vehicle tracking, etc.
*Telematics: A coined term from “Telecommunication” and “Informatics.”
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TOYOTA


G-BOOK is based on the infrastructure of Toyota’s membership-based information service and membership system of GAZOO. It is primarily aimed at providing interactive information services via vehicle-mounted wireless communication terminals. Its seamless structure for anywhere-anytime access means that, beyond also being accessible through PCs, PDAs (personal digital assistants) and cell phones, G-BOOK can also be used to link various G-BOOK compatible functions (e.g., to use a cell phone to determine a vehicle’s location, operating status, etc.). In the future, this new system will also make it possible to control home appliances and home security systems from one’s vehicle.

The on-board G-BOOK terminal to be available in a new car this fall will feature a Data Communications Module and a Secure Digital card, enabling customers to take advantage of the latest network services as easily as they would operate a car radio.

These network services will be provided by numerous and varied industries and businesses, giving G-BOOK a wide range of content. Also, G-BOOK’s information core, known as the G-BOOK Center, will provide “user-customized servers”, or UCSs, for each customer to tailor services to his or her individual needs.

To make it easier for more companies to become G-BOOK contents/ service providers, Toyota will provide interested parties with the software specifications needed to develop compatible content.

Toyota views G-BOOK as an important and standard automobile function. It plans to increase the number of vehicle models equipped with G-BOOK terminals and to enhance G-BOOK functions and service content.

Toyota G-Book Features

HELPNET

A simple touch of the HELPNET button enables the emergency report service to contact the police or the fire department in case of emergency or sudden illness. For some models, the automatic emergency report service is available as G-BOOK automatically reports an emergency as soon as it detects airbag deployment.

Remote Maintenance SERVICES

Remote Maintenance Mail is a service that directly sends a service-in reminder mail at an appropriate time, based on the mileage and diagnosis/warning information sent from the vehicle.

PROBE COMMUNICATIONS TRAFFIC INFORMATION (DRIVING SUPPORT)

G-BOOK provides optimal and accurate route guidance by combining VICS traffic information, past statistical data and the unique traffic data generated from automatically collected driving data on all vehicles with G-BOOK. Live Navigation Service: This service provides city, travel, hobby and entertainment information in linkage with a navigation system. When the user chooses the desired destination, the service can display it on the navigation map or can set it as the destination.

G-SOUND ENTERTAINMENT

G-BOOK provides high-quality music pieces from various record companies and music publishers. The service is enabled by its communication function and unique copyright control system and includes the transmission of karaoke music, background music and the downloading of various types of games, music and entertainment information. Interactive games and on-line communities are also planned.

Strategic Business Unit (SBU)

As our Strategic Business Unit (SBU), the Toyota Media Service founded “Digital Media Asia Pacific Ltd. (DMAP)” in Bangkok, Thailand in 2004. In 2005, we founded “Beijing Media Technical Solution Ltd. (BMTS)” in Beijing, China. In 2006, we opened the Guangzhou office of BTMS in Guangzhou, China. Through those affiliated companies, we work closely with the local automotive companies in the Asia Pacific region and in China and expand “e-CRB” and “Telematics.” We are planning to open a new “SBU” in other overseas markets in the future.

Data communication module (DCM)

Whereas conventional communication, navigation and car-information services require cell-phone use for access, in the case of G-BOOK, a Data Communication Module (DCM), which works in conjunction with the G-BOOK on-board terminal, allows direct one-touch connection. And G-BOOK uses a flat fee, meaning that subscribers can enjoy high-speed communications without worrying about log-on time or transmission volume. The DCM also automatically reconnects if the connection is interrupted while traveling through a tunnel, etc., (provided that the interlude is limited to a few minutes).

Secure Digital (SD) card-compatible terminal

Navigational maps and the on-board terminal’s basic software are stored in a Secure Digital (SD) card. The card can be inserted into “E-TOWER” terminals at convenience stores and other locations to download local or new maps or to upgrade the on-board terminal’s basic software. Music and games can also be downloaded, and the SD card is compatible with commercially available audio players, digital cameras and PDAs that use SD cards, making it possible to share content such as music files, images and games.

User-customised servers (UCS)

G-BOOK’s Information Center houses user-customized servers that allow individual subscribers to freely modify screen and menu settings and to keep track of vehicle maintenance information. If a subscriber moves from one vehicle to another, information can be transferred to the on-board terminal of the latter vehicle.

Seamless network

G-BOOK can also be accessed from PCs, PDAs and cell phones for anytime, anywhere service. With Pocket G-BOOK—a system developed by Toyota jointly with several PDA manufacturers—customers can access G-BOOK in the same screen format as vehicle-installed terminals by using commercially available PDAs loaded with special application software. Pocket G-BOOK thus vastly increases the convenience of G-BOOK, making service available with or without a car.

Electronic account settlement function

G-BOOK has an electronic account settlement function that accepts major credit cards and prepaid cards (e.g., KDDI’s Super World Card@CA) widely sold at convenience stores, etc. This function enables online settlement of such transactions as payment of basic service fees, purchasing of fee-based services and other e-commerce transactions. Customers can also pay via G-BOOK for services provided by other companies.

Reading-out and voice recognition functions

Text information is converted into special text at the G-BOOK Center and delivered to on-board terminals, from which subscribers can listen to the information read out in a natural-sounding synthesized voice. In addition to conventional direct user-terminal voice command functions, G-BOOK plans to employ a G-BOOK Center-based central language recognition system, (IVR: Intelligent Voice Recognition) capable of processing multiple-word commands issued through a cell phone, etc.

Open content environment

For content development, Toyota provides a development language called “G-BOOK-ML” and standard templates. Companies wishing to provide content can create content without worrying about restrictions unique to vehicles or the complicated protocols used by on-board instruments. Content developed using G-BOOK-ML is automatically converted so that it can be accessed not only from on-board terminals but also from PCs, PDAs and cell phones. These features make it extremely easy for other companies to participate in G-BOOK.

G-BOOK Services

Safety and Security Service

If car trouble occurs during vehicle operation, the G-BOOK Center detects the location of the vehicle and dispatches a tow truck, or provides appropriate maintenance. The service can also send the vehicle’s location information to the user’s cell phone and track down the location of a lost car. In addition, the service allows identifying, remotely, the status of the car and sending maintenance notifications from the dealership. In the future, there will be plans to include remote diagnostic services for some Toyota cars.

Information Service

This service reads out general news; sports, performing arts and economic news; weather forecasts; stock market information; etc. Customers can also customize this service by presetting a favorite item or keyword to extract information of interest only. A service will also be offered that will enable customers to access bank accounts and securities accounts to check on balances and details of transactions.

Communication Service

This service includes the sending/receiving of e-mail, message boards, bulletin boards, etc. A service will also be offered that will enable a group of drivers traveling together to display each other’s current location on the navigation system’s map.

E-commerce Service

Merchandise from the GAZOO Shopping Mall and G-BOOK’s fee-based content and services can be purchased and paid for on-line.

OSS (Operator Support Service)

With this service, an operator answers a customer request from a cell phone, for example, and retrieves information from the G-BOOK Center to set a destination on the navigation system for the customer.

Although other manufacturers have agreed to adopt G-BOOK services and terminals the system at this stage is Japan based only with the majority of the content is in Japanese. Mitsubishi, Subaru and Daihatsu have all committed to produce G-BOOK equipped cars.

There are three versions of G-Book currently being offered; G-Book mX (and G-Book mX Pro), G-Book Alpha (and G-Book Alpha Pro) and G-Book. Some of the services G-Book offers are a Safety and Security service, which aids in requesting a tow truck and vehicle location service, Live Navigation where an operator gives turn-by-turn directions, Information Service which provides news, weather forecasts and stock market information, Communication Service that offers the ability to send and receive web based e-mail, and post and read on message boards, E-commerce Service, that allows merchandise to be purchased from the GAZOO Shopping Mall, and a live operator is available through OSS (Operator Support Service) for various issues.

One of the features offered exclusively on G-Book mX is Probe Communication Traffic Information. According to the press release from Toyota dated April 10, 2007, “This unique Toyota traffic information service gathers driving data – such as speed and position – from vehicles equipped with G-Book mX to provide drivers with alternate routes for avoiding traffic congestion. Because it makes use of the on-board DCM (data communications module), the information gathering capability of this service is superior to similar systems, which rely solely on cell phones, and efficiently stores information about traffic congestion in real time at the G-Book Center. In this way the Probe Communication Traffic Information service supplements Vehicle Information and Communication System (VICS) information with updates on traffic congestion, providing drivers with highly accurate predictions about the current traffic situation and suggestions for the best alternate routes to take.”[10] This feature is being marketed as an ability to drive eco-friendly, by helping to avoid pollution created by cars idling in traffic and allowing the driver to reach their destination sooner, and affording the opportunity to turn the car off, limiting emissions being added to the atmosphere.

The wireless communications for Japan-market cars are handled by the DCM and transmits and receives information on the wireless network owned by Japanese telecommunications provider KDDI Corporation headquartered in Okinawa. The cellular platform used is the CDMA2000 1x (CDMA 1X) method, and it is possible to receive up to 144kbps data. The same DCM is used for China-market models, thus the network provider for China-market G-Book services is China Telecom. Currently map updates and music downloads are not available for China-market G-Book-enabled cars, and traffic information is only available in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.

G-Book Alpha Pro, mX Pro DCM-only, as well as CDMA2000 1xEV-DO (CDMA 1X WIN) can send up to 2.4Mbps of data, and the DCM supports hands-free calls. The DCM model is also equipped with its own GPS receiver and features, to track a stolen vehicle, and it also has an emergency notification ability to transmit the location of airbag deployment.
Secure Digital (SD) card-compatible terminal

According to a press release from Toyota dated August 28, 2002 “Navigational maps and the on-board terminal’s basic software are stored in a Secure Digital (SD) card. The card can be inserted into “E-TOWER” terminals at convenience stores and other locations to download local or new maps or to upgrade the on-board terminal’s basic software. Music and games can also be downloaded, and the SD card is compatible with commercially available audio players, digital cameras and PDAs that use SD cards, making it possible to share content such as music files, images and games.” E-Tower locations can be found at numerous locations, including Circle K of Japan.

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Offered at Lexus’ Japanese domestic market launch in 2005, G-Link is the proprietary Lexus telematics system for the Japanese market. G-Link has a different software configuration versus G-Book, particularly in its link to the 24-hour Lexus Owner’s Desk hotline, and is offered standard for the first three years of ownership.[7] Other aspects of the system at its 2005 launch were based on G-Book Alpha capabilities. The G-Link software runs off of the vehicle’s hard disc drive navigation system and song library, and includes traffic updates, HelpNet compatibility, and the G-Security service. The G-Security service includes cellphone notification of vehicle lock and position status. A G-Sound music distribution service offers samples and downloading to the vehicle’s hard disc drive of MP3s from different genres. A U.S. equivalent of the G-Link system with similar but not identical functionality, called Lexus Enform with Safety Connect, was launched in 2009.

In 2006, Japanese media reported that a Lexus-branded cellphone was also being produced with compatibility for the G-Link system. This cellphone would be produced in conjunction with the KDDI telecommunications service provider.

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Related versions

Toyota is currently working with other Japanese car manufacturers, such as Mitsubishi, Subaru and Daihatsu to provide the service in the Japanese language. Mazda has also agreed to offer the service in Japan, with an intent to install the service starting with the 2005 model. Competing services are called “Nissan Car Wings“, and Internavi “Internavi Premium Club (Japanese)” by Honda. In the U.S., the Safety Connect system was produced based on the G-Book system architecture, with similar functionality, along with an expanded Lexus Enform service. The G-Book feature is similar to “W44T” offered in Japan by Toshiba, and “Pipit” in an agreement with Toyota and Willcom in Japan.

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Image Credit(s); Logo & Screen Grabs © Toyota Motor Corporation