Welcome to The Connected Products Economy
Updated: Mar 15
Excerpt from Eon’s report: The Connected Products Economy — Powering Fashion and Retail’s Circular Future. Download the full report to view contributions from Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Closed Loop Partners, Accenture, Microsoft, and more.
Welcome to the Connected Products Economy, where the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) will connect the physical and digital worlds, unlocking value and catalyzing innovation at the intersection of people, products and systems. A Connected Products Economy powers the scaled implementation of a circular economy, making it possible to maximize product and material value to the benefit of the customer, society, environment and economy.
In the past decade, the digital revolution has had a transformative impact on all aspects of our society. We have used technology to build intelligence and efficiencies into our linear model of take-make-waste. In the fashion industry alone, businesses produce, manage and track hundreds of billions of garments in their supply chains, offering customers minute-by-minute updates to track products from the moment they are purchased, until they arrive at their front doors. But once these products are sold and delivered, all intelligence comes to an end.
In the linear economy, products are lost. There is no system to identify these products beyond point-of-sale, making it is impossible to maximize product value and material recovery, which are essential for our transition to the circular economy.
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the World Economic Forum, IoT is among the most powerful enabling technologies for circular economy (Intelligent Assets Report, EMF & WEF) For IoT to enable circular economy, circular economy principles must be embedded into connected products. This is the vision of a Connected Products Economy.
In a Connected Products Economy, all products are digitally identified and connected to the IoT beyond point-of-sale, making data available that is essential for managing and authenticating products across the circular lifecycle — through production, use, care, return, resale, repair and recycling. In a Connected Products Economy, it is possible to monetize product and material value across the circular lifecycle — customers buy experiences and services, and business success is defined not by the number of products sold, but the value of the service delivered.
In the next few years, there is projected to be massive investment into IoT across the fashion industry — with 70% of retailers investing in IoT (Retail Dive). The fashion industry demands reinvention. It is one of the world’s most wasteful industries, responsible for 10% of our global carbon emissions today, and that could increase to over 25% by 2050 (United Nations). The Connected Products Economy Report brings forth a vision for marrying the power of IoT with the circular economy to unlock the intelligence, incentives and transparency to make a sweeping global transformation toward a circular model.
“In a Connected Products Economy, it is possible to monetize product and material value across the circular lifecycle.”