An EU-funded project developed technology to make this a reality. The initiative, called 'Product lifecycle management and information tracking using smart embedded systems'(Promise) aimed to produce embedded information devices along with tools to enable decision-making based on data gathered throughout a product's lifecycle. Some 23 partners from eight EU Member States and three Swiss partners, from sectors such as railway and heavy construction equipment, participated in the project. Promise's work creates value by transforming information to knowledge at all phases of the product lifecycle. In order to accomplish this, the project began by looking at current research activities in information systems modelling, smart embedded systems, short- and long-distance wireless communication technologies and data management. It then attempted to integrate research cluster activities covering the main research challenges of the proposal. This resulted in a prototype Promise product lifecycle management (PLM) system capable of covering applications in the automotive, railway, heavy load vehicle and white goods sectors. The closed-loop PLM system allows actors who play a role during the lifecycle of a product - managers, designers, service and maintenance operators, recyclers, etc. - to track, manage and control product information at any phase, at any time and in any place in the world. This technology promises businesses a number of advantages. With knowledge gathering throughout the entire product lifecycle, companies have the opportunity to develop better products with extended lifecycles and to find ways of minimising pollution and cutting energy consumption. The comfort, safety, security and satisfaction of the product user, either the operator of a product such as the driver of a truck, or the user of a service such as the passenger of a bus can also be taken into account. The technology will also allow producers to increase their capability and capacity to offer high-quality after-sales services. The development of product embedded information devices to enable product lifecycle management and real-time data monitoring throughout the product supply chain is expected to progress rapidly precisely because of the huge potential benefits for both business and consumer.