Now, the Internet of Things (IoT) is pushing our economic systems into a new paradigm where the value of the product is more than the physical object. The IoT turns consumer products into conduits to services: shoes direct their owners, umbrellas check the local weather and alert their users to rain, toothbrushes supervise their owner’s brushing and team up with their dentist, etc. Very simplified, these are products equipped with actuators, sensors and embedded processing, and serving their users based on remotely generated command.
From a consumer perspective, a central and little talked about consequence of such connected consumer products is the loss of ownership. For example, most vehicles today run on software. While the consumer “owns” the car they bought, the manufacturer retains the right to the computer program running the car. The consumer merely holds an “implied license to operate the vehicle”.