Utimaco has released new consumer research that has found a low level of trust around Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The research highlights the need for more education into how smart devices are secured with the latest digital security solutions. The new whitepaper, ‘Circles of Trust 2023: Exploring Consumer Trust in the Digital Society’, takes a deep look at how consumers view trust in an increasingly digital world and builds off the success of last year’s research. The 2023 survey expanded the geographical scope from Germany, Spain and UK to include thousands of consumers from Mexico, USA and Singapore. The research focuses on attitudes towards use and security of the IoT technology and smart cities.
The research’s emphasis on digital security showed a marked difference between responses from countries with the highest and lowest GDP per capita and those in the centre of the GDP per capita distribution. Put simply, the poorest and richest countries showed the most enthusiasm about digital technology in their lives. They also showed the least concern about security. Though in the case of the US they also reported much higher levels of cybercrime than other countries.
Smart technology expected to grow
IoT, or ‘smart technology’, is expected to grow to $662 billion in 2023. It encompasses a wide range of technologies from next-generation robotics systems in factories to smart light bulbs. The research found several serious stumbling blocks to widespread trust of IoT technology among consumers. The first and perhaps most significant of which was that only 24% believe that they’d be able to define the term ‘Internet of Things’. Although widely used in the industry for many years, IoT has not found its way into the minds of consumers. On a country level, Singapore had the highest level of respondents who believed that they could define the term (33%). The UK had the lowest (20%).
This pattern was repeated when consumers were asked if they used IoT technology (26% globally said that they did). However, when asked the same question using the term ‘smart technology’ that number jumped to 38% (53% in Mexico). Also, when asked if they used specific IoT/Smart devices, the research found that the majority of those surveyed across all countries used at least one type of smart device. 61% owned a Smart TV and 52% used a virtual assistant like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home.
On the topic of Smart Cities, only a minority felt confident that they could define the term (31% globally. However, 40% and 41% in Mexico and Singapore respectively.) General enthusiasm was quite muted. 12% of consumers saw no advantages to smart cities. However, the most popular smart city innovation, intelligent traffic control, only saw 47% global approval.
Communicating better with the public
The report argues that these results point to a need to communicate better with the public. To secure IoT and smart city digital infrastructure with the latest generation of digital security solutions.
According to says Stefan Auerbach, CEO, Utimaco, “We are living in an increasingly digital world. Furthermore, there are more connected and smart devices that need to be secured. The results of our whitepaper show more work is needed to create trust and reassurance for consumers and connected devices.”
Enterprise Times: What this means for business
The research highlights the fact that many consumers continue to struggle with the official title of Internet of Things (IOT). Society is increasingly becoming more digitally connected and comfortable with technology in the home, workplace and office. The research suggests 38% of consumers are using smart devices. However, only 14% consider them to be secure. The latest edition of the ‘Circles of Trust’ series, shows that there are huge differences in the way that citizens of diverse countries view IoT and Smart City technology. Is this just a communications issue as suggested by the report. Or is it simply those technologies have not impacted on the lives of consumers as indicated in the research.
Other than the use of Alexa, smart TV in our living rooms or Ring doorbell on the front door, our household devices are still not really connected. The real mileage of IoT will be in the business space and the sharing of key business data across applications and technologies. Hence the focus on the security sentiment is particularly interesting considering the current threat landscape. Analysts have suggested that IoT devices are being subjected to a growing number of cyber threats. This can typically lead to the theft of confidential data, the launch of DDoS attacks, and more. An area that the report could have gone into more detail. Perhaps for next year.