The IoT value/trust paradox

Cisco’s IoT Value/Trust Paradox report, based on a survey of 3,000 consumers, found that while most consumers believe that internet of things (IoT) services deliver significant value for them, very few understand or trust how their IoT data is being managed and used.

This conclusion has revealed an interesting paradox: Despite their lack of trust in IoT data security, consumers on the whole say that they are unwilling to disconnect from IoT services, even temporarily. The findings indicate that we are approaching the point of no return at which consumers irrevocably commit to IoT being an integral part of their lives. IoT is becoming so deeply integrated into our daily experiences that it is easier to tolerate uncertainty and risk than to disconnect.

While the survey reveals that consumers are willing to accept risk and trade value for trust, they do so reluctantly. Their desire for transparency and visibility into how their data is being used remains strong. Companies that can resolve the paradox for their customers have the opportunity to accelerate and sustain the growth of their IoT businesses.

The data

  • Awareness: More than twice as many consumers recognize personal IoT devices than public ones. When consumers were provided with a broad list of devices and asked to identify which were part of the IoT, 63 percent on average correctly identified personal devices such as wearables, home security systems, etc., while only 27 percent were aware of public IoT implementations such as street lighting, energy meters, traffic systems, etc.
  • Value: Across the IoT spectrum, the perceived value that IoT brings to consumers’ lives is quite high: 53 percent of respondents feel that IoT makes their lives more convenient; 47 percent say IoT makes them more efficient; and 34 percent say IoT increases their safety.
  • Trust: While consumers are seeing increasing value in IoT services, they are very concerned about the security of their data and how it is being used. Only 9 percent of respondents say they trust that their data collected and shared through IoT is secure, and only 14 percent feel that companies do a good job of informing them what data is being collected and how it is used.
  • The IoT paradox: Consumers value IoT, but don’t trust it. Despite this lack of trust, they are not willing to disconnect: 42 percent said that IoT is too integrated into their daily lives to disconnect from these devices and services, regardless of the perceived risk.

“As more companies build their businesses around IoT services, they need to first understand the importance of educating customers on how they are using their data to deliver new, valuable services that will enhance their lives,” says Macario Namie, Head of IoT Strategy, Cisco. “Consumers are asking for more visibility into IoT data practices, and to increase transparency around your IoT data governance and management, you first need to be able to determine who gets what data, where and when.”

Moving forward

TM Forum’s own Trust, Security & Privacy Toolkit helps to address the critical elements that contribute to enabling trusted digital ecosystems. The Cisco report recommends that businesses implement the following steps to address the gap between value and trust in IoT:

  • Establish a clear, concise data policy and share that with your users – companies must be able to provide transparency into how they are using and securing data and how this helps to improve their customers’ experiences.
  • Take granular control of your data – to increase transparency around IoT data governance and management, companies first need a platform that can help determine who gets what data, where and when.
  • Create accountability throughout your IoT value chain – companies must evaluate all the providers in their IoT value chain and put solutions in place to enforce minimum security standards and requirements so they can hold each provider accountable.

Get involved in the IoE discussion on the TM Forum Community site.


    About The Author


    Arti has been writing and editing for seven years in the fields of technology, business and finance. She is particularly interested in how firms are innovating to bring us into the next digital age.

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