Who’s Driving the Connected Car Industry? Companies like Zubie

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For generations, it was the automotive industry that drove how new technologies were integrated into automobiles. Now, as cars become connected to service facilities and to each other, it’s the consumer electronics industry that’s driving that integration, and major automotive OEMs are along for the ride.

OEMs are Wrestling with Connectivity Standardization

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In a CNET article last week, Paul Mascaranas, Ford Motor Company’s Chief Technical Officer, talked extensively about Ford’s goal to standardize the way app developers work with auto manufacturers, bringing the entrepreneurial tech startups into the fold with some of the world’s largest auto manufacturers. Mascarenas’s comments hit home at Zubie, where we’ve developed an AlwaysSmartTM connectivity solution that delivers the kind of high data quality that customers, OEMs, dealers and service providers require to help customers with their automotive service needs.

‘Tis the Season for Safe Driving

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Looking for last minute gift ideas to finish your holiday shopping? Look no further. Zubie was featured as smart car tech that can “make your dumb car smarter” in a gift guide by TechHive – and any driver can appreciate that. Zubie is a great stocking stuffer for family and friends and can help them drive safer and more efficiently all year long. The perfect gift that keeps on giving!

We’re also thrilled to announce that Zubie is available on Amazon and Best Buy online, making it simple to add to wish lists and share with others! As a special holiday promotion, we are offering free shipping on any orders through 12/31 on our Zubie Store with promo code FREESHIP.

Car lovers, tech heads, teen drivers and any driver will love getting the newest cool car solution in their stocking. Give the gift of Zubie this holiday season!

Teens, Driving Safety and the Hard Lessons from the News

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crash scene

It’s ironic that the very day a celebrity popular with teens perished in a horrible car crash in California, the state of Connecticut would be celebrating its 10th Teen Driving Safety Awareness Week. Paul Walker — the star of six of the seven Fast and the Furious franchise films — was killed on Sunday.

What we drive, and what drives us

Zubie Team

“So, what car do you drive?”

It was about two hours into a three hour meeting when we got the question.  A perfectly reasonable question from an affable and thoughtful executive in the midst of a strategy discussion about the car business.  But it distinctly changed the tone of the discussion as we switched gears and spent the next 15 minutes trading specs and anecdotes about our rides.  It was a good reminder of what drives passion at the heart of what we do.  We are car guys and gals.  In that spirit, here’s a round-up of some of the Zubie crew’s favorite rides…

Mike Rude, 1999 VW Passat

“Last winter, I decided to take my teen son out for a drive in the car that will soon become his own…on the frozen Lake Minnetonka which is a winter playground of ice fishing, ice boating, kite snowboarding, etc.  This was a perfect opportunity for my son to learn about anti-lock brakes, oversteer, counter-steering and other winter car safety topics.   And also a  great opportunity to put the Zubie Key through some winter “proving ground” testing.   It made for a very interesting looking trip log.

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Tim, 1969 VW Bug

“I had a 1969 VW Bug in college.  After a night of college fun, a couple of buddies and I went  off-roading.  We got stuck in mud in a clearing in the woods, left it and walked home.  It rained all night and when we returned, the mud had turned into a lake and the bug was covered half way up the doors.  So After it drained we claimed the Bug and after drying it up it actually started.  Fun night.”

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Navin, 2002 Audi TT Roadster, chipped to 250 HP (!)

“When the original (classic) model came out,  it looked like nothing else on the road and I fell hard.  I couldn’t actually drive stick but I bought it anyway and essentially ground gears all the way home.  My tendency to leave the top down during torrential downpours and then have to drive home with four inches of sloshing water in the footwells, became a running joke with my coworkers, and required the seats to be replaced…twice.  It’s been a great test vehicle for Zubie given its frequent catalytic convertor issues.  But eleven years and 80K miles later,  I can’t imagine life without a red convertible.” 

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Mark, 2013 Ford Mustang GT – Vaughn Gitten Edition

” Tim approached me about joining him at this cool new connected-car startup.  The same week I bought the “green beast” as an homage  to the startup’s bright, black and  green logo and to show my unwavering commitment to the company.  Next week, we rebranded to a different name and logo.  Nice.  But the green beast still endures, exciting little kids and tourists on the island.” 

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That’s it for now.   More on the rest of the team in a later post, the stories are still coming in.


Connected Cars Will Drive $39 billion by 2018

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Zubie Connected Car

It wasn’t ten years ago that the ultimate in cell phone technology was a Nokia flip phone. Now that piece of hardware is a running gag like Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone. We’re at a similar crossroads with connected car technology. We’re on the verge of the entire business cresting like a tidal wave.

The Future of the Connected Car

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connected car expo 2013

Connected Car Expo 2013: The future starts now

It’s an exciting week for those of us who are at the forefront of automotive connectivity. The LA Auto Show’s Connected Car Expo starts today. Not ten years ago, the Consumer Electronics Show held every January in Las Vegas, and the LA Auto Show barely recognized each other. Now you see automakers invading CES, and tech titans like Google and Nokia with a powerful presence in LA.

It’s exciting for companies on the forefront of the connected car revolution, but it’s just as important for consumers, who are eager to see the latest developments in automotive connectivity; the features and functionality that will help them be safer, more efficient, more aware of their vehicle’s health, and more in tune with how the drivers around them are operating their vehicles.

Sharing the stage at the keynote address this morning are Ford Motor Company’s Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, Jim Farley, and Google’s  Director or Google Maps for Business, Tarun Bhatnagar.

As of this morning, there was no official announcement of any strategic partnership or collaboration between Google and Ford, but the very idea that top executives are sharing the stage? It signals that we’re arriving at a new frontier between high-tech companies and automakers, and it’s exciting for all of us in the automotive and the tech industry.

Since the dawn of the automobile, car builders have shaped the industry. Now entrepreneurs are shaping its future: Big Data, autonomous vehicles, mapping, the Second Screen Entertainment experience. All of these advancements are coming from outside the automotive industry via small, entrepreneurial companies that can innovate quickly and help lead automakers in the right direction.

Here at Zubie, we’re riding the very crest of the wave, and we’re excited to see the collaboration between companies like ours, and some of the greatest brands in the world.


Zubie Android App and iOS Updates

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It’s finally here. Zubie version 1.2 is available in the app store and represents a major refresh of the experience as well as many new improvements. We think you’ll love it. Along with this update, we’re also thrilled to announce our Android app is now available in Google Play.

But first on our iOS update…

Since our launch in August, we’ve received lots of feedback and suggestions from our early adopters. While the Zubie Key and the core platform for data collection has been finely tuned, logging almost a million miles just in the past few months, we’re continuing to evolve the app experience based on your usage and feedback.  Hundreds of early adopters have not been shy about emailing, tweeting, texting and approaching us offline, with observations and ideas.

Our focus has been on providing a broad set of features that enable Zubie to continue to add value in daily driving, rather than a flashy toy that wanes after the first few days. And so our challenge is always to make an experience that is simple, inviting and exciting. Which is why we’re so excited about this update!

A flat new look 

While the last version already hinted at the iOS7 aesthetic, this update dives right in. A new color scheme, a lighter and brighter feel, elegant fonts and better use of high resolution fonts. Our creative director is a happy guy.

Email-Based Authentication

You can now signup using just your email address, without requiring a Facebook login, allowing users who are not on Facebook or chose not to link their account.

Ability to invite any contact

Support for email-logins also means that you can invite any contact from your phone book with an email address, to join your family or group for location sharing.

Diagnostics Details – Repair Estimate, Severity and Plan-english Translation

We now provide additional guidance on diagnostic codes that help you understand the severity and implications. A repair estimate provides a cost range that you should expect. The three-color severity indicator tells you if the problem is informational only, a problem that should be look at, or a potential danger to driving. Finally, on some codes,  we also provide a simpler, detailed plain-english interpretation of what the code really means.

Numerous improvements to multi-driver, multi-vehicle support

Integral support for multiple drivers and cars is an area we’ve always been proud and many of our users fall into this demographic. We’ve made numerous improvements and fixes related to driving scores applied  across cars, activation of Zubie keys and tracking when a Key is moved between cars. What was good is now notably better.

Alerts & Notification Rules

Every now and then, there’s almost unanimous support for a feature improvement. This was one. With this update, you have much more granular control over who and what triggers an alert. So if you know you have a lead-foot in the family, you can choose to turn off speeding alerts while retaining others. And most important, you can finally turn off place-alerts for your own car. We have to admit this one was a face-palm 🙂

Drumroll please…

And saving the best for last, we’d like to finally issue a big welcome to our Android friends.  Zubie for Android is now available on Google Play and has all of the same great features and experience as on iOS, including all of the new capabilities mentioned above.  Thank for for your very …umm… vocal insistence on wanting to be included.  We couldn’t agree more and we’re excited to see where we go on this platform in the future.

There’s plenty more, but well let you discover the finer details for yourself. Please update your app now and let us know what you think. We have an active discussion in our community on feature ideas. See you there!

Help your Teen Drive Safer and Smarter

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Teen DriverDo you remember getting your license? You practice in the car with your parents, take a few drivers ed courses, pass the driving test, and boom- you’re on the road, full speed ahead! Many teens are not exactly road-ready upon completion of driving school and need further coaching. The Zubie™ Key is a great graduation gift for any new driver to help continue the learning after the classes.

With the Zubie™ Key and Zubie™ smartphone app, you can give your son or daughter the tools they need to understand their driving behavior and open the line of communication around their car- where they’re driving, how fast they’re going, where are they experiencing hard brakes, and more.

There are many different ways Zubie makes driving easier, safer and less expensive. Here are a few ideas that to create a positive driving experience for you and your young driver:

  • Set up a Place Alert for locations like home, work, school, etc. to let you know when family arrives and leaves. Great way to eliminate “where r u?” and “on the way” messages and stop texting and driving.
  • Create a group- Teens can create a group based on their interests to make Zubie fun and unique to their lifestyle- try interests such as a Football Team Group, After-School Study, Babysitting, and more!
  • Sign a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement to set guidelines and penalties between you and your new driver- Parent-Teen Driving Agreement example
  • Monitor driving alerts and focus on reducing hard braking and accelerating- so your teen can not only enhance their driving skills, but improve the health of their car! You can even view a trip and see exactly where the hard brakes occurred, where they sped, etc. to make it easy to pinpoint trouble areas.
  • Know your State’s Driving Restrictions for new drivers- From nighttime driving to passenger restrictions, make sure your teen understands they have limits until they gain experience on the road. Here is a list of Graduated Driver Licensing Laws by state.
  • Share your Driving Score and Zubie Badge with family members and friends for a little competition- see who can improve their score the most over a month!

Getting your driver’s license is an exciting time in a person’s life, so make it the best experience possible by creating a plan and being proactive in your teen’s learning. Let us know your ideas for using Zubie to help your teen driver become a smart, safe driver!