IoT shows promise but consumers in developed markets don’t get it

Written by on August 24, 2016 in Guest Blog with 0 Comments

ConfusedHarris Interactive, best known for the Harris Poll, has unveiled the results of its survey of the UK public, the SmartLife report, and has added to the pile of evidence that shows the struggles that the IoT is facing when it comes to spurring adoption. The outlook does look promising, but consumers in developed markets are still slow to adopt the IoT.

The full report is rather large, and it does show some strong initial promise for the IoT. Some 48 percent of respondents said they were aware of the IoT, but just 13 percent said they were “very familiar.” When you compare that response to the question about “smart” devices, 99 percent said they were aware, with 33 percent saying they were very familiar.

An extensive list of smart applications shows that many IoT products and services are known to the UK public, but that the umbrella-term itself hasn’t yet caught on. Smartwatches sat near the top on 95 percent awareness, with smart energy/heating on 75 percent, smart health monitoring devices on 71 percent, and smart homes and drone deliveries on 69 percent. Bottom of this list was smart flood/leak detectors on 40 percent.

So how do you go about convincing consumers to go out and buy new IoT devices? The answer is obviously not easy, as we keep seeing similar conclusions from companies surveying consumers – that the market is generally unaware, disinterested, or wary of the IoT. These numbers show that UK consumers are surprisingly aware of their options, when it comes to IoT purchases, but adoption rates still linger.

Part of this may well be due to the customer perception of the value of these products and services. A prime example of this is smartwatches, which only have a 30 percent usefulness rating, despite their 95 percent awareness rating. Similarly, driverless cars only score a 33 percent usefulness, and drone deliveries sit at 35 percent. Smart home security and smart lighting scored an encouraging 47 percent, with smart energy and 46 percent.

A similar pattern can be seen in the most/least exciting results, with Harris noting that entertainment and leisure are strongly represented in the excitement ratings. IoT applications in the kitchen also score strongly, and given the premium prices that some kitchenware fetches, that room is a strong candidate for being the most valuable in the smart home.

Questions at the end of the survey tried to gauge an overall opinion of the “worth of a smarter/IoT future,” and found that only 8 percent believe “it’s something to embrace.” At the other end of the spectrum, 9 percent think it’s a waste of time and that the traditional way of doing things should remain, but the middling responses dominate the total percentage. Some 36 percent land in the “mostly good” camp, and 37 percent think “mostly a waste of time,” with each camp seeing some benefits and negatives. Harris notes that the topic is quite polarizing.

For those who said they were uncomfortable with the prospect of a smarter future, 54 percent said they feared hacking, 42 percent said personal privacy was a concern, 38 percent cited financial security, 26 percent said they were concerned about the safety of their homes, and 25 percent were concerned about their own personal safety. Security is also a popular concern amongst those who are most receptive to the IoT.

As for the smart home, opinion was split on which kind of company was best placed to provide it. In joint first place were technology companies like Google and home insurance providers with 32 percent, followed by smartphone manufacturers (17 percent), network providers (12 percent), entertainment companies (5 percent), and social companies like Facebook and Twitter on 3 percent.

Harris concludes that the market is still very much up-for-grabs, and notes that when it asked for the leading “smart brands,” Apple and Samsung dominated. Once you remove those names, the UK responses become much more varied – with Google, Microsoft, British Gas (utility), Sky (Pay TV), Virgin (Pay TV), Sony, Amazon, LG, and British Gas’ Hive platform the largest names in the word-map.

Written by Alex Davies | First published  at ReTHINK IoT


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