In an economy where data is an increasingly valuable commodity, questions over data ownership rights continue to find an audience in economic, political, legal and even technical debates. In the 2019 Auto Care Legislative Summit in September, a bill was further discussed that is advocating for increased consumer and independent garage facilities rights to telematically transmitted vehicle diagnostic and repair data, currently exclusively owned by OEMs who share the data in most cases only with authorized dealers and service shops. Mike Manges of Modern Tire Dealer gives a nice update on this debate in his article Legislative Update: Dealers Could Lose Pipeline to Vehicle Repair Data.
As the legal and political issues are debated and decided, assuming the deck falls in the consumer’s favor, the need for third parties serving the automotive consumer to integrate systems to access the data currently being collected by the OEMs will only increase, and the debates will shift heavily to the technical. How will the thousands of smaller garages, tire shops and ancillary businesses who provide critical consumer auto-related services interact with the OEM’s unique, proprietary systems to access the data? And do so in a manner that’s neither extremely cumbersome or cost prohibitive to their bottom lines? Imagine the development work to write and maintain APIs that subscribe to the unique system specifications of multiple OEMs, and to support any number of regression issues when something breaks or changes. Wouldn’t it be nice if the third parties could integrate to one standard API that is capable of interacting with any number of unique proprietary systems on the back end?