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October 31, 2013 » 11:15 am

Fuse: Connecting Your Car to the Rest of Your Life

I just backed my friend Phil Windley’s new Kickstarter project, Fuse. Everyone with a car should go back it now. Everyone who cares about data privacy should also go back it.

Every car has an on-board computer with tons of data: your mileage, your average speed, even your tire pressure. When you take your car into the shop, mechanics plug into this computer to access that data so that they can diagnose your car.

I’ve been wanting to access that data myself forever, and it’s not just because I’m a data geek. As someone who travels a lot for business, I track my mileage. Not only is it a royal pain to do manually, it just seems wrong, given that your car already has this data. But until recently, I had no ability to access it.

Fuse unlocks that data, and gives you access. It consists of a device that you plug into your car’s diagnostic outlet and a mobile app that gives you access to that data.

That alone should make you want this. But I’m going out of my way to blog about this project because of what Fuse does under the hood.

The problem with most of the emerging apps in this space is that they essentially trade convenience and coolness for ownership of your data. Most of us don’t pay attention to that. We’re too pre-occupied by the coolness. Some of us feel vaguely uneasy about the trade-off, but we do it anyway. Coolness is a powerful motivator.

Phil has been a leader in the digital identity space for a very long time. He literally wrote the book on it. He’s part of a community of folks who thinks that you — the individual — should own and control your data. Enabling this is a hard technical problem, but it’s an even knottier social problem.

Fuse is built on top of a trust and privacy framework that my friends, Drummond Reed and Andy Dale, have helped evolved. Fuse is cool, compelling, and socially responsible. These are the kinds of apps that will help create the kind of world that I want to live in.

If you’d like to read more about these nitty gritty aspects of Fuse, go check out Phil’s blog. If you’d like to read more about the bigger vision behind technology like this, start with Vendor Relationship Management (VRM).

Don’t forget to back the project!

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