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Which of these 7 points will be the biggest challenge for providing digital product passports, do you think?

When you first learn about digital product passports, we guess that your initial reaction is "How on earth will people be able to obtain all that information?". Fair question. Much of the data mentioned so far is data that few, if any, usually have at their fingertips. On the contrary, if available at all, it's probably hidden deep down in systems and records.


But, that's only the beginning. Here's a list of 7 hurdles

  • Getting the information?

  • Making sure that the data and sources are, and remain, valid?

  • Keeping the data and certificates up-to-date?

  • Minimise updating efforts, avoid duplication, omissions, and errors in the process?

  • Keeping the data secure and keeping scammers out?

  • Making the right data available to the right people in the right (easy and standardised) format?

  • Building and maintaining trust in the system by the public


Providing digital product passports is not a one time effort. Let's have a look at the other challenges.


Making sure that the data and sources are, and remain, valid?

Specifications for products, production, and logistics change over time. Sub-suppliers change and certificates need renewal. Each time anyone accesses the digital product passport, it needs to be verified that all data is still valid and up-to-date.


Keeping the data and certificates up-to-date?

As a consequence of the previous point, each provider of a digital product passport needs to have a tool or process to ensure that the data they present is up-to-date and valid. It's a continuous work.


Minimise updating efforts, avoid duplication, omissions and errors in the process?

This is probably why the EU directive is for the underlying system to be decentralised and based on links, not documents or web pages that will create a need for multiplied copying of data. Data needs to be kept with the original provider and referenced throughout the system.


Keeping the data secure and keep scammers out?

At the same time, this puts the onus on each and every provider of data to keep it secure and for the system to ensure that data retrieved comes from the legitimate source. I.e. not only a verification of data but also of the source of the data.


Making the right data available to the right people in the right (easy and standardised) format?

In addition to all of this, the right data needs to be made accessible for the right people. Some to consumers and concerned public, others to business customers and yet other to public authorities, especially authorities overseeing the system. The people who access the information have to be identified in a secure way as well. And all of this from standardised formats to a multitude of interfaces and devices.


Building and maintaining trust in the system by the public

Last, but definitely not least, all the previous areas have to work in such a way that the digital product passport system gains trust with the public and other users. If it becomes complicated or slow, people might refrain due to lack of ease of use. If it does not include a component to verify that the product in your hand is actually a genuine item, not counterfeit, people will realise that there is a fair risk that the data they are presented with might well apply to the product, but maybe not to this actual item.


So, obviously, obtaining the initial data is just a starting point.


Which of the 7 points do you expect to be the steepest hill to climb for digital product passports?


When you first learn about digital product passports, we guess that your initial reaction is "How on earth will people be able to obtain all that information?". Fair question. Much of the data mentioned so far is data that few, if any, usually have at their fingertips. On the contrary, if available at all, it's probably hidden deep down in systems and records.  But, that's only the beginning. Here's a list of 7 hurdles Getting the information? Making sure that the data and sources are, and remain, valid? Keeping the data and certificates up-to-date? Minimise updating efforts, avoid duplication, omissions and errors in the process? Keeping the data secure and keep scammers out? Making the right data available to the right people in the right (easy and standardised) format? Building and maintaining trust in the system by the public  Providing digital product passports is not a one time effort. More details in the full blog post.

Image by Bradleym on iStock

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