NOVI, MI – Despite increasing concerns by privacy advocates over data generated by vehicles, and who can use it and see it, the sharing of that data ultimately is a good thing, says an official of information-technology firm Covisint.

“Studies out there show over 60% of warranty costs to an OEM are caused by things that break after the thing that broke,” David Miller, Covisint chief security officer, tells WardsAuto here in an interview.

“So your timing chain breaks. That’s only about a $50 part. The valves that all got destroyed when your timing chain broke? That’s $1,000,” Miller says.

If an automaker in partnership with a supplier using Covisint’s identity and access-management technology can detect failure patterns via examining smart-part data and using the vehicle’s data bus to stream information, he says such expensive and time-consuming disasters could be avoided.

“The OEMs can basically look at this fleet of vehicles…and use big-data analytics (to) predict the breakages and actually say, ‘You need to go into your dealership to do this exact thing even though nothing’s broken yet.’

“And it ends up saving (the OEM) a lot of money, and if that saves them money then it saves you time and it saves you money,” Miller reasons.

Not only do suppliers want to be involved in data monitoring of parts to head off costly warranty claims, so do dealerships looking to heighten their level of customer service.

For instance, if dealerships know when a check-engine light is triggered in a customer’s vehicle, they can determine the issue and notify the customer they have the replacement part ready and waiting.

While connected-vehicle technology is good for Covisint’s bottom line, Miller admits to being personally wary of automakers who may view data as a revenue stream. Automakers owning data culled from vehicle buyers or lessees could result in things that are seen by many as annoying rather than helpful, such as in-car advertising.

“Everyone always asks, ‘What do you think about Apple car and Google car?’” Miller says. “And I say I have no idea whether they’ll be successful, but here’s what I’ll tell you: The Apple car will be absolutely gorgeous but will cost $200,000, and the Google car will be free but will randomly drive into stores it wants you to go to.”

Who owns the data generated by the vehicle and its components is a thorny subject and is sure to get thornier as smart parts proliferate and vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure, with the necessary data tracking and sharing, take hold.

There are no clear rules, but the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, representing heavyweights such as BMW, General Motors, Ford and Toyota, has adopted privacy principles that state automakers reserve the right to view some data (technical data). Other data (subscription, infotainment data) is owned by the consumer and information stored on a vehicle’s electronic data recorder can be obtained by the automaker with authorization from the vehicle owner.

But some privacy advocates are fearful technical data eventually could make its way into the hands of insurance companies, which could use it to raise rates if they deem a driver is operating his or her vehicle in an unsafe or harsh manner.

Miller sees the day, supposing legislation is passed, when automakers or suppliers would need a vehicle owner’s authorization before they could gain access to data generated by the vehicle.

“Now your mobile app you connect to is going to say, ‘Do you opt in to allow General Motors to see this data for the purpose of…,’ much like you opt-in today if you’re running any kind of operating system. You do that once in the cloud (and) it applies to everything,” Miller says of a possible future scenario.