Over Half the Population is Ready to Sell Personal Data to IoT Companies
Shawn Wasserman posted on April 07, 2016 |
Population more concerned about security than corporate “Big Brother.”
A recent survey from Intel Security shows that 54 percent of global respondents are ready to share their personal data with IoT companies in exchange for money.

At first glance this may not be surprising as billions offer up their lives to Big Brother social media sites like Facebook. However, the fact that this level of trust has now been bestowed upon start-up IoT companies shows big growth potential for the connected device industry.

Even more promising news is that 70 percent of respondents are ready to barter their data for coupons and discounts on other products. This way the company doesn’t have to lose money in the transaction, they can just promote other products to the consumer in an effort to make more money.

This trend looks even better when you consider that the survey found that Millennials are more likely to share data than other generations for money (66 percent), discounts (44 percent) and coupons (29 percent).

IoT Consumer Outlook Follows Industry Projections


Market sales of wearable IoT devices matches the optimism consumers have with other IoT devices. (Image courtesy of Tractica.)

Market sales of wearable IoT devices matches the optimism consumers have with other IoT devices. (Image courtesy of Tractica.)

All of this growth potential matches well with the growth of IoT sales as seen in a Tractica report on the market forecast of wearable devices.

This same report predicts that the 85 million units of wearable devices sold in 2015 will grow to 559.6 million by 2021.

“2015 was the biggest year for wearables by far, with fitness trackers outperforming industry expectations and smart watches coming out strong,” says Tractica research director Aditya Kaul.  “While fitness is the overwhelming driver for wearables today, there are a number of micro-segments emerging, ranging from kids’ watches to smart footwear to new healthcare devices like wearable patches, that will drive this market forward.”

Consumers more worried about Security than Big Brother IoT

Contrary to the Tractica report, the Intel survey wasn’t all good news.

Though 77 percent of respondents believe that home IoT devices will be as common as smart phones by 2025, 66 percent are still worried about cybersecurity, hacking and cybercriminals getting at their smart home data.

Even more alarming is that 92 percent of respondents are worried about their personal data being gathered by cybercriminals.

“Smart homes and their associated data have the potential to improve consumers’ everyday lives,” said Steve Grobman, chief technology officer for Intel Security. “The survey shows that many individuals would be comfortable sharing their data for a price, but they are still understandably concerned about cyber threats. Security has to be foundational to the Internet of Things and when done right, it can be an enabler of IoT.”

A rallying cry for IoT protocol and security convergence can be found in the survey as 89 percent of respondents would be more comfortable if all of the IoT security was handled by a single integrated package.

Unfortunately, there is consistent protocol and security disparity in the IoT community making the creation of one standard security package impractical to maintain. As a result, engineers should prioritize security and wide compatibility when shopping for an IoT platform.

As for how this security system should look, the survey suggests that 40 percent of consumers will get frustrated with passwords ruling a smart home system. In fact, 75 percent report that the number of passwords they expect to deal with in a smart home system will cause them anxiety.

Therefore, IoT developers will really need to focus on a system that maintains security while taking user experience into consideration. Below are a few biometric security alternatives and respondents comfort levels seen in the survey:

  • 54 percent are comfortable with fingerprints
  • 46 percent are comfortable with voice recognition
  • 42 percent comfortable with retinal scans.

Why Risk Personal Data for an IoT Device?

Why are consumers willing to swallow their cybersecurity fears and risk their personal data? Perhaps it’s because 75 percent of respondents expect that an IoT smart home will offer them personal benefits in their life.

The respondents believed that some of these perks would come in the form of reduced gas/electricity bills (57 percent), as well as reduced heating and cooling bills (55 percent).

As a result, engineers working on IoT products should really have a green energy frame of mind to help sell their products. As for what these products might be, here are some of the most commonly sought after IoT products according to the respondents:

  • Smart lighting (73 percent)
  • Smart kitchen appliances (62 percent)
  • Smart thermometers/boiler systems (60 percent)

The Intel survey was based on 9000 individuals from the US, Canada, United Kingdom, India, Australia, Mexico, France and Brazil. It was conducted by the independent market research organization Vanson Bourne.

Are you willing to sell your personal IoT data to the highest bidder? What are your concerns with privacy? Comment below.

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