Fifth of consumers fear M2M could see machines taking over the world
April 14, 2016
One in five consumers are worried that M2M technology could lead to machines taking over the world. More reasonably, six out of ten mobile users worldwide are worried about issues such as privacy and security with connected devices, according to a survey of more than 5000 mobile users by trade body Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF).
It found that privacy (62%) and security (54%) were seen as the biggest threats worldwide, with home security raising the most concern among connected devices and applications.
Supported by online security company AVG Technologies, the survey polled consumers in Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, South Africa, UK and USA. It revealed that while consumers see the tangible benefit of the IoT (just one consumer in ten says a world of connected devices won't deliver such value), more than half also harbour concerns about the perceived risks and threats in a world of connected devices.
Globally 60% are worried about the IoT, and especially so in growth markets such as Brazil, India and South Africa (66%), although in the UK it appears to be less of an issue (50%). Trust-related issues privacy (62%) and security (54%) were the number one concern, named twice as often as real-world concerns such as physical safety (27%) or not being able to fix the technology if it breaks down (24%).
Home security is the IoT application about which consumers have the greatest concern at 30%, a marked increase over, for example, connected cars (12%) or connected heating systems (6%).
A quarter (24%) of respondents consider health-related information as the most sensitive data when it comes to connected devices, and this is especially the case in China (44%). By contrast, in more mature markets such as the USA and Germany, there is heightened sensitivity around location data – 52 and 50% respectively, as compared with a global average of 43%.
Rather dramatically, one in five consumers (21%) even worry that the IoT would result in machines taking over the Earth.
"Whilst this survey shows that consumers are excited about a future connected world, it also clearly identifies the need for the industry to consider how such technology and services are rolled out when it comes to building a trusted relationship with consumers," said Rimma Perelmuter, CEO of MEF. "The business opportunities surrounding IoT are clear, but only if industry heeds the lessons of the broader mobile ecosystem when it comes to the paramount importance of building consumer trust at the outset. Our 2016 Global Consumer Trust Report demonstrated the demand for transparency in mobile apps and services with 64% saying it's important to be told when an app is collecting and sharing personal information. This new report reaffirms the need for all stakeholders in the ecosystem to take action now to secure a viable future for such technologies."
Privacy – or a lack of it – is what drives concern about IoT in the USA (70%) and France (69%) versus a global average of 62%. While around the world 54% name security their number one concern, in the UK it's significantly higher (67%). And 65% of Chinese and 61% of South African mobile users demand transparency from wearables providers over the use of their data compared with 52% worldwide. Around 17% of Indians don't want their TV to be connected to the internet compared with just 10% of the global sample.
"Nothing less than a technology evolution is underway, opening a world of possibilities to explore the IoT,” said Todd Simpson, chief strategy officer for AVG Technologies. “And yet, as the network of IoT devices grows, so, too, do consumers' understandable concerns about what this increased connectivity and data sharing means for security. If the IoT is to stand any chance of long-term, safe adoption that will benefit not just innovative companies but also the customers they're here to serve, we need to make secure by design a fundamental standard, no matter the device."