I get my news from two places, the internet and 702. In my opinion, no other radio station does news and current affairs better. Every now and then I like to catch The David O’Sullivan Show, which is interesting and intelligent without coming across as pompous. That said, I avoid Jenny Crwys-Williams’ show like the plague. Albeit, not because of Jenny, but because of her callers-in. They tend to be geriatrics who firmly believe that everyone in 702-land is as interested in their grandkids as they are. Not to mention that without fail, they always begin their tirade with the phrase “Jennyyy! You wouldn’t believe…”
There is one more presenter who I try to hear when I am in the car, Aki Anastasiou. Aki does the traffic and has his own technology show Technobyte, which is rather good. Aki is the only radio presenter that makes traffic sound like fun, the man has a contiguous aura of happiness that even comes through on radio – A 23 car pileup on the M1, 5 hour delay? Fantastic!
Sadly though, I have not heard old Aki’s voice for a while now; I have been using the TomTom GO750 Live which has a live traffic feed that routes me around the congested areas.
This has its benefits, The GO 750 Live comes with HD Traffic, IQ Routes and Google Integration. Aki doesn’t come standard with any of these things, but let’s have a look at them anyway.
HD Traffic uses live traffic information to route you around congested areas. A brilliant feature that when I tested, got me to my destination around 20% quicker than my usual, memorized route. The “HD” in HD Traffic is a very smart innovation created by a partnership between TomTom and Tracker. At any given moment there are hundreds of thousands of vehicles being tracked by Tracker on South Africa’s roads. Their location, direction and speed of travel are monitored (anonymously of course) by Tracker and then fed through to TomTom. This gives TomTom comprehensive traffic data throughout South Africa. TomTom also use information provided by the same guys that Aki uses, to get information about any incidents, such as accidents, roadwork’s and the such, on our roads.
The Live devices also have a Google Local Search, what this allows you to do is search Google’s extensive POI (Point of Interest) database and navigate to that destination. This is especially helpful when in cities like Rustenburg, where TomTom’s built in POI database is not as extensive as Google’s. The other advantage is you can see the price range, whether or not a restaurant requires a reservation and the ratings patrons have given it on Google. [After the USA v Algeria game at Loftus, the family needed dinner. Using the Local Search on the GO 750 I found this sweet restaurant in Pretoria – Crawdaddies]
All this information is fed through to your TomTom via a 3G network. All TomTom Go Live devices have a Vodafone SIM card embedded in the device, you are not charged for data and Vodacom’s coverage in South Africa is so comprehensive that wherever you are chances are you will have a data connection. You can also take your TomTom overseas (once you have purchased the map for your destination) and the Live services will work anywhere Vodafone has a network or a partner network.
Interestingly my TomTom, (GO 720) even though it is two and a half years old, also benefits from the launch of live services in South Africa. All TomTom’s new and old (requires an update, just plug it into your PC) units, now come with a service called IQ Routes. TomTom, have a historical overview of traffic information. This allows them to map what roads are congested on certain days at specific times. So, when the TomTom maps out a route for you, it takes into account what roads are most likely congested.
So, what is it going to cost you?
GO 750 Live
a. The device: R3 299
b. Annual updates: Maps will cost around R400 for South Africa and a renewal of Live services for one year will also be a cost option, for R499 for an annual subscription from the second year on.
Your Current TomTom
a. You will have to upgrade to the latest map. This will cost around R400, for the new map, and includes updates for the entire year, then you have to purchase a new map again.
I do have two gripes. Firstly, advanced lane guidance is yet to be launched in South Africa – Lane guidance basically tells you when you should be in a specific lane. Apparently they are working on it but with our new five lane highways I hope it comes sooner rather than later. Secondly, when I first received the GO 750 Live it was broken, this has never happened with Aki – if for some reason he isn’t there, 702 provides some unfortunate lad to try and fill the mans shoes. Granted, the TomTom support staff where fantastic, but at the end of it all where unable to help. I got the device replaced, which now works perfectly.
Overall, a highly impressive array of services from TomTom. But here is the thing, I miss Aki. As far as I can tell, Aki does not have 3G built in, nor does he have Google’s POI database in his head but I dont care. So, in future the TomTom is turned off and 702 turned on. Aki, your fan in his silly little red car is back.
TomTom Navigation Voices – Darth Vader
Aki Interviewing Aaron Mokoena
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