A recent report highlighted how consumers hold low-levels of trust on the security of IoT devices. The research found that while IoT devices are becoming more ubiquitous, there remains a lack of trust in their security.
Undertaken by IT security solutions provider Utimaco in collaboration with YouGov, Only 14% of respondents considered ‘smart devices’ to be secure, despite 38% using them. The new whitepaper, ‘Circles of Trust 2023: Exploring Consumer Trust in the Digital Society’, was an expansion from the previous year’s, which surveyed Germany, Spain and United Kingdom, to also include thousands of consumers from Mexico, USA and Singapore.
The report argues that these results point to a need to communicate better with the general public, and to secure IoT and smart city digital infrastructure with the latest generation of digital security solutions.
Around the world, major countries like the UK, US, and the trading-bloc the EU have now begun to coalesce around tighter security concerning IoT. This entails setting mandatory standards for device security as with PSTI in the UK, to the voluntary labelling of IoT devices in the US that have met certain security standards.
But security wasn’t the only detractor from IoT. The research also pointed to several stumbling blocks to trust of IoT technology among consumers. One of which was education. In the study, only 24% thought that they’d be able to define what ‘The Internet of Things’.
IoT is expected to grow to $662 billion in 2023, encompassing a wide range of technologies from next-gen factories to smart home locks. Yet its lack of definition in the public imagination highlights how the term has seemingly remained industry specific despite its rapid rise.
On a country level, Singapore had the highest level of respondents who believed that they could define the term (33%) while the UK had the lowest (20%). This is despite London being deemed the ‘smartest’ city in the world, with Singapore ranking 6th.
On the topic of smart cities, only a 31% of respondents felt confident that they could define the term, with general enthusiasm around the concept being lukewarm. 12% of consumers even believed no advantages were evident with smart cities. Indeed, even intelligent traffic control, the most popular smart city innovation, only saw a 47% global approval.
But other elements of the report alluded to the idea that the general concept of IoT is in fact wider-known, but under a different term. When consumers were asked if they used IoT technology (26% globally said that they did), but when asked the same question using the term ‘smart technology’ that number jumped to 38%.
Indeed, when asked if they used 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.