Zubie, a company that sells a device allowing drivers to tap into their car’s onboard computer and then sync vehicle diagnostic data to their smartphone, is today expanding its footprint with the introduction of an open API that will now allow developers to build on top of this platform. Called “ZinC” – or, “Zubie for the Internet of Cars” – the API offers the ability for partners to access vehicle diagnostics, as well as location data, trip activity, and driving data, for use in their own applications.
These apps can be focused on consumer uses cases, such as those designed to track and improve fuel economy or social trip-sharing applications, for example. Or they can be aimed at businesses, including those involved with fleet management, those who need to tie in data pulled from the vehicle into expense or billing platforms, or even those designed for ride-sharing services, among other things.
The company says that it’s already seen interest from hundreds of developers and partners who want to take advantage of the new API in their applications. Online service appointment booking platform Openbay and on-demand roadside assistance provider Urgent.ly are two of the names that consumers may be familiar with; meanwhile, on the business side of things, the ZinC API is powering deployments of Safeco’s Teen Driving Program, plus it’s working with companies like Progressive, AutoNation, GeekSquad and Telefonica’s O2 Car Connection.
Zubie is now one of many connected car platforms on the market today. Many of these companies initially got off the ground by offering consumers a dongle that plugs into a car’s onboard computer in order to allow users to view and track their car’s data alongside things like fuel consumption, commute and travel times, and more, by way of a smartphone application. Other big names in this space include Dash and Automatic, for example.
As of late, many of these companies are also now trying to expand beyond being just a car dongle-to-app service provider, and instead want to serve as more of platform for third-party apps. In fact, earlier this year, competitor Automatic launched its own software development kit aimed at turning its hardware into a platform.
That launch was accompanied by news that over 20 app makers had built on top of Automatic, including those aimed at business users, like integrations with expense tracker Concur, as well as more fun, social apps like Unmooch, which allows friends to split fuel costs. Automatic then went on to raise $24 million in a round of new funding led by strategic investor USAA, which indicates there’s interest in the connected car space from companies who can leverage vehicle data in enterprise applications. USAA, for example, sees a use case for connected car technology in the insurance side of its business.
Similarly, Zubie is also targeting a wider niche beyond the consumer market with its app and now its API. The company also works with small businesses and other business verticals, including strategic partners in the automative and insurance industry, and telecom operators.