I put a Zubie in my car today. I really wish that NPR’s “Car Talk” radio program was still on the air, so I could call in and say that sentence to Tom (sadly, deceased this week) and Ray Magliozzi, aka the “Click and Clack Brothers.” They’d have a lot fun with that.

After seeing so many interesting connected transportation solutions from Cisco and others at the recent ITS World Congress in Detroit, I felt inspired to get my own car connected! Zubie is one of a several available apps and services that allow you to “manage” your car from a mobile app, e.g., perform a car “health check,” see how well you drive, create geofences to track your car, for example, when your newly-licensed teenage child borrows it for the night.


I signed up for Zubie even though I know they’re going to make money from the car-sourced analytics that they get from my car (beyond subscription fees, waived for the 1st year). According to their privacy policy, they will gather data about my vehicle usage over time, which includes speed, braking, acceleration, and the geolocation of the Zubie key that I plugged into my car’s OBD-II port. This data along with engine and car diagnostic codes will be valuable for Zubie to sell in aggregate to their customers, whom I understand to be insurance companies, traffic planners, city agencies, auto makers, roadside advertisers, and others. I’m hoping this data will be useful to me too, but I have to admit that I looked longer and harder at the Zubie privacy policy than I ever have at any other mobile app and service. I am sure that I have given to many mobile apps much more potentially corruptible privacy information than what Zubie’s going to get. It’s probably the tracking of data about my car’s geolocation that worries me a little, even though I give away my phone’s geolocation to so many apps!

Facebook, Twitter and other apps are increasingly monetizing our personal data while becoming beneficiaries of the enormous shift toward mobile advertising, so expect privacy issues to attract ever more industry and user attention. Now, mobile operators are also getting scrutiny for new approaches that enable them to create a profile of users’ mobile web browsing habits for the purpose of mobile ad targeting. There is no consistent or easy answer regarding privacy issues, and each individual needs to make their own trade-offs for each and every app and service they use.  Personally, I’m OK with more relevant ads if it gives me more mobile data quota and some free services. I’m getting the mobile ads anyway, as I also am from my wireline Internet access services. What’s important is that mobile operators offer the most secure and rigorous privacy protection to subscribers if they intend to in any way utilize subscriber and network information to more effectively target and personalize advertising.

Cisco Use Case: Mobile Targeted Advertising from Cisco Service Provider Mobility

See how Cisco can help operators achieve these goals in this 2-page overview of Mobile Targeted Advertising. Back to Zubie and my car. As the late “Clack” (or was he “Click”, the Magliozzi brothers never said!) always said about cars, “If it falls off, it doesn’t matter.”

Tweet us @CiscoSPMobility if you have any questions or would like to chat with a subject matter expert.



This is part of the Mobile Data Monetization Blog Series:

Blog 1: Make Room in the Family Car for the Family Mobile Data Plan

Blog 2: Multi-Device Data Plans: A Distinction Without a Difference?

Blog 3: Freemium Business Models for Mobile


Brian Walsh

Senior Marketing Manager