In their desire to create more attractive and personalized services, telecom companies are increasingly facing difficult choices between using known information about consumers to enable convenience and crossing that mythical line to creepiness.
Or, as we say today when we've shared just one tiny tidbit more than the audience wanted to hear: Too much?
The reality is, many of the companies that we do business with know way more about us than we'd like, but it's who knows what and how they use it that counts.
That's true about connected cars as much as it is about online shopping preferences, location-based advertising, and video viewing choices.
In my recent conversation with Verizon Enterprise Solutions executives on the market Verizon Telematics sees for connected cars, they admitted it's a bit of a fine line, determining how to use the information that exists today about how you drive, where you drive, the maintenance status of your car, and whether you've just been in an accident. (See Verizon Chasing Insurance Telematics Gold.)
In an emergency, we all want first responders to know we need help, and we'd like that done immediately -- but that means sharing an exact location and enough detail about the car's operation to make the accident detectable. And not everyone is cool with letting their insurance company or their automaker know where they are going and when.
We all want cheaper car insurance, and some of us think letting our insurance companies know how safely we drive might accomplish that goal -- while others realize making their driving habits known to insurers will only cause them grief. We'd love automated car maintenance, but do you want the people who sold you the car to be bugging you about oil changes and routine maintenance?
If someone is planning to use car information to sell something -- in-car entertainment or shopping info -- for example, we are more likely to balk. But when you are looking for the closest sushi restaurant in a strange city, such a service could come in handy.
And yes, you could get that info from your smartphone -- if you have one, if it has coverage, and if it's charged.
So when it comes to connected car info, what do you feel the need to share? And who do you want to share it with?
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading