Surveys Reveal IoT Misperceptions and Mistrust

Posted July 20, 2015

87 Percent of Consumers Never Heard of the Internet of Things and 45 Percent Don’t Trust Companies with Their Connected-Device Data

It’s too bad the consulting firm that did the survey that found 87 percent of consumers had never heard the term “Internet of Things” didn’t do a similar one among people working in hi-tech. Had people in the industry been surveyed, would it have been a surprise if upwards of 87 percent were familiar with the term? But then that’s the trouble with jargon. It becomes so familiar, so ingrained it seems like everybody knows it. Okay, that’s a “-30-” (an arcane bit of jargon for “that’s the end of the story.” Gee, we thought everybody knew that.)


In her piece on, April Dahlquist reports on two surveys that offer an insight into consumer thinking about the Internet of Things. The following has been excerpted from her piece and edited to fit our format. You may find Dahlquist’s complete article by clicking on this link.

IoT doesn’t stand for Internet of Trust

45% of consumers say they have low or no trust in how companies will use the data they collect from the myriad of objects being connected to the web, according to a report from Altimeter Group.

Most consumers haven’t come to “terms” with Internet of Things

87% of consumers have never heard the term “Internet of Things,” according to 2014 survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers by e-commerce and digital marketing consultancy firm Acquity Group…. The Internet of Things is an industry term, writes Jessica Groopman, an analyst at Altimeter Group, in the June 2015 report “Consumer Perceptions of Privacy in the Internet of Things.”

Consumers familiar with devices, but not jargon

In fact, consumers are familiar with Internet of Things-connected devices, but just in a specific context. For example, of the 2,062 surveyed U.S. consumers in the Altimeter Group study: 28% owned a smart gaming system, 23% smart TV, 7% wearable, 4% connected car, 4% connected appliance and 3% home automation hub. All of those fit within the definition of the Internet of Things, or IoT, as it’s often called for short.

Connected devices and data collection

Consumers will be paying attention to how companies use the data collected through connected devices, as 47% of responded say they are very or extremely interested. Trust, however, is low, as 45% of consumers say they have very low or no trust at all that companies are using their connected device data securely and in ways that protect their privacy. 45% of all respondents said they were very or extremely uncomfortable with companies using their data, and 60% of respondents said they were very or extremely uncomfortable with companies sharing and selling their data.

Familiarity breeds acceptance

The more exposure to the Internet of Things consumers have, however, the more likely those consumers understand and trust how companies use their data, the survey finds. 48% of consumers with four or more connected devices responded they had a high or complete level of understanding to the question, “How much of an understanding do you feel you have today about how companies are using your data from these connected things,” compared to 21% of consumers with three or fewer connected devices. 42% of consumers with four or more devices trust companies are using the data from their connected devices securely, compared to 17% of consumers with three or fewer devices.



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