Could massive consumer fear kill IoT?

A sizeable swath of the world’s wired population distrusts the Internet of Things (IoT) according to new study, raising concerns the technology’s consumer market growth could be seriously undermined.

Computer Business Review reported on a recent global survey that found that 60% of consumers distrust connected devices, and an additional 11% find them of no benefit whatsoever. Additionally, 41% of global consumers said transparency is extremely important when considering IoT technology.

The survey was done by Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF), a mobile ecosystem trade association, in association with antivirus software maker AVG.

The study revealed the broad sentiment of consumers who are being spooked by fears that connected devices are lacking in oversight in privacy, security and general transparency. And with Gartner anticipating $1.9 trillion in economic benefits from IoT by 2020, the stakes are huge for businesses to tackle these fears quickly and decisively.

“MEF’s research shows a year-over-year decrease in consumer faith, which continues to dip as the war on privacy wages on, leaving users to deal with deciding what data tradeoffs are worthwhile,” said Todd Simpson, AVG’s Chief Strategy Officer.

“I have no doubt we will reach a point where customers’ objection to trading privacy for connectivity will push them into disengaging altogether.”

Consumer concerns about privacy, data security

In its report “The Impact of Trust on IoT,” MEF concluded that the top two IoT trust concerns were privacy (62%) and security (54%). These were cited twice as frequently as worries about physical safety (27%) or being unable to repair broken devices (24%). Also deserving mention was the global fear of machines taking over planet Earth thanks to IoT technology (21%).

The top consumer concerns with smart home technology were home invasion (30%) followed by unwanted entry via IoT-enabled locks (15%). People also were leery of such internet connected devices as TVs (10%), smoke detectors (6%), heating systems (6%) and irons (6%).

Simpson said that for IoT to gain any kind of widespread traction, it’s vital that those in the industry incorporate fundamental security standards, regardless of the particular device in question.

“The only way to stop this very real erosion of consumer trust is to act,” he said “We in the industry need to slow the race and make sure we are getting privacy and security right from the get-go.”

Facebook Comments