Early adopter paradox: Consumers most excited about IoT are also most aware of privacy risks

Adoption of the Internet of Things continues to explode but it could be even more transformative, a new F-Secure survey finds. The consumers most eager to purchase new connected devices tend to delay or avoid new IoT purchases due to privacy or security concerns. This early adopter paradox is creating an opportunity for operators who are already uniquely positioned to secure connected homes.

early adopter paradox

F-Secure has conducted 19,200 consumer interviews in the United States and Europe over the last 5 years. The research finds:

Early adopters love the IoT: 89 per cent of respondents in the UK say that they’re excited about the technology.

Privacy concerns hold back investments in smart home devices: 63 percent of early adopters are looking to purchase new devices, but 50 percent have delayed an IoT purchase because of security concerns. Almost two thirds, 63 percent, of UK early adopters are also worried that new internet connect devices, such as wearables and connected home appliances, could lead to a violation of their privacy.

Security concerns are also prevalent, with 66 percent of UK consumers worried that one of their IoT connected devices could get infected by a virus or malware, or be hacked.

15 percent of UK homesuse a digital assistant such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home, a category that didn’t exist in 2015. Only the US has a higher adoption rate of the countries surveyed – 22 percent.

Cyber security savvy rises: Awareness of cyber threats has increased considerably over the past three years: 62 percent of UK consumers know what ransomware is compared to just 28 percent in 2015.

early adopter paradox

“Consumers are moving to connected devices by choice to enhance their lives and by necessity, given that it’s almost impossible to find a TV that isn’t considered ‘smart’ today,” says F-Secure Operator Consultant Tom Gaffney. “But these numbers might be even higher if consumers, especially the consumers most open to considering new technology had more confidence in the IoT.”

There’s a considerable threat to consumers due to inadequate regulations regarding security and privacy on the IoT.

“The good news is that there is a simple solution to securing connected home devices and it comes from a source consumers already invite into their living rooms,” says Gaffney. “As the average household moves toward the use of dozens of connected devices at one time, the demands on service providers will only increase.”

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