Despite my advancing years I have a reasonable understanding of social media and the world of technology. Being a classic car enthusiast I have been looking out for an app that related to my hobby.
In my ideal app I could take a photograph of a car and it would bring up a spec sheet, links to clubs and ads for sale, finally scoring top trumps with a group of mates based on performance and the cool factor. So far I haven’t found one that appeals to me though if there is an app developer out there who would like to work with me, drop me a line.
For me an app must fulfil two functions:-
- It must ensure the safety of my data
- It must be useful.
On the second point, how many apps do you have on your phone that you haven’t used for months or even years.
This week I found an app called Custodian that looks promising. It isn’t a complete product yet as it has been released following testing with 2 000 users. It offers basic functions with promises of more to come that could make it a valuable and enjoyable tool.
The developers promote the product as a tool to take the pain out of administering ownership of a classic car or cars. Personally, I think this is a mistake. It doesn’t take much to administer a classic car collection as the DVLA write to me when the tax is due, the Insurance company email me when the insurance is due and all the bills are put into a folder. They missed a trick by not promoting the app as an enhancement to the classic car hobby. To share information with fellow enthusiasts.
To start I headed for the Custodian website and downloaded the free app onto my phone. The only information required for registration is an email address (and we all have one of those that we keep just for signing up for things we are unsure about). Once registered you start to build your garage. Putting in your cars registration number brings up a completed spec sheet with date of registration, engine size, colour and date of last MOT and Tax. Clearly it pulls this data from the DVLA.
Once you car is in the garage you can add photographs, key information, description and history. There is also a task list where you can list all those jobs you need to do.
The Custodian platform and progressive web application helps owners:-
- Organise and track the maintenance aspects of car ownership including recording, categorising, and accounting for servicing, maintenance, and restoration work
- Set up reminders for key dates such as MOT, tax and insurance renewals
- Build a digital history file for a vehicle, which will be fully sharable for prospective buyers and ultimately transferable to a new owner in the event of a sale
So, going back to the key criteria of data security. The developers promise that all data entered into the platform is secure, and Custodian does not sell any of this information to third parties or allow third party advertisements within the platform. Users have the ability to share their vehicles and any details they wish with other users within the Custodian community, but this is strictly an opt-in function, and privacy remains the default setting. Given the penalties of the Data Protection Act I think it is as safe as it can be, barring criminal activity.
The promises made on security make you wonder how the company can monetise the project. I think the answer is in future developments where a classic car market place is planned and a directory for professional classic car services where revenue could be generated.
One of the most useful functions is the planned events calendar which are a challenge to make comprehensive and keep up to date. There is also a link to podcasts and articles about the classic car world.
I received an update to the App and it allows you to share the cars in the garage with other members. It also gives you a QR code which you can place in the car and show visitors can scan the code and see your garage on line.
My overall impression is that this is a good looking app with good security and little prospect of your data being sold on. In its present form it is of limited use but it shows promise for the future if they can get the subscribers and the planned market place and events calendar is added. I will keep the app for now and if I don’t use it regularly then I will delete it.
Custodian publishes the free Apex newsletter and podcast. A weekly conversation with automotive titans and the tastemakers, the Apex podcast explores varied and unique perspectives on car culture. Featuring highly curated content involving some of the greatest names in the classic and collectable car community, the Apex hosts conversations with those who have made car culture what it is today.
To check out Custodian and download the App visit: https://www.custodian.club/