Global Constant
Steve Nay's ramblings

Car health records in a personal event network

Carvoyant is launching a car health record service: They send you an OBD-II device, which you pair via Bluetooth with your Android phone. The app periodically polls the device for diagnostics from your car and uploads them to Carvoyant’s servers. Their website tracks your maintenance history and other statistics, ostensibly so you can take better care of your car and save money.

They take it one step further by sharing your data with service providers. When your car is in need of a repair, Carvoyant automatically sends the data it collected (anonymized) to service providers in your area, who have half an hour to provide a bid for the repairs. You can evaluate those bids and choose where to go for service. (This is not unlike Facebook’s model of collecting your personal information free of charge and then selling it to advertisers.)

I like the idea, but I want more control. It’s good the data gets anonymized before it’s shared, but I also want to decide who gets to see it in the first place. Phil Windley designed a 4th-party anonymous ecommerce system to do just that. Using a personal event network like Phil suggests means I retain control of the data, including the ability to modify or delete it, and I control who has access to it (whether anonymously or not).

The OBD-II hardware itself is inexpensive. It wouldn’t be too hard to copy this system but build it on a “personal cloud” so the user is in control.

Carvoyant calls their product a “two sided platform”, but it’s still just an information silo. No one gets any value out of the data unless they consult the cow.

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