Fortinet has released the results of a global survey that probes home owners about key issues pertaining to the Internet of Things (IoT). Independently administered throughout 11 countries, the survey titled, “Internet of Things: Connected Home,” gives a global perspective about the Internet of Things, what security and privacy issues are in play, and what home owners are willing to do to enable it.
“The battle for the Internet of Things has just begun. According to industry research firm IDC, the IoT market is expected to hit $7.1 trillion by 2020,” said John Maddison, vice president of marketing at Fortinet. “The ultimate winners of the IoT connected home will come down to those vendors who can provide a balance of security and privacy vis-à-vis price and functionality.”
Completed in June 2014, the survey asked 1,801 tech-savvy homeowners questions relating to the Internet of Things as it pertains to the connected home. These were the top findings:
The Connected Home is a reality – A majority (61 percent) of all respondents believe that the connected home (a home in which household appliances and home electronics are seamlessly connected to the Internet) is “extremely likely” to become a reality in the next five years. China led the world in this category with more than 84 percent affirming support.
* In the UK, 61 percent said that the connected home is extremely likely to happen in the next five years.
Homeowners are concerned about data breaches – A majority of all respondents voiced their concern that a connected appliance could result in a data breach or exposure of sensitive, personal information. Globally, 69 percent said that they were either “extremely concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about this issue.
* In the UK, 87 percent of respondents expressed concern.
Privacy and trust are concerns – When asked about the privacy of collected data, a majority of global respondents stated, “privacy is important to me, and I do not trust how this type of data may be used.” India led the world with a response of 63 percent.
* Fifty-two percent of UK respondents agreed with this statement.
Data privacy is an extremely sensitive issue – Relating to privacy, respondents were also asked how they would feel if a connected home device was secretly or anonymously collecting information about them and sharing it with others. Most (62 percent) answered “completely violated and extremely angry to the point where I would take action.” The strongest responses came from South Africa, Malaysia and the United States.
* In the UK, one in twenty respondents expect that devices share sensitive data secretly or anonymously anyway. Fifty-six percent would feel completely violated/extremely angry and compelled to take action in the event of such intrusion.
Users demand control over who can access collected data – When asked who should have access to the data collected by a connected home appliance, 66 percent stated that only themselves or those to whom they give permission should have this information.
* In the UK, the call for personal control over collected data was also supported in sixty-one percent of responses. Around 30 percent felt that either the device manufacturer or their ISP should have access to the collected data.
Consumers look to their government for data regulation – Many respondents (42 percent) around the world stated that their government should regulate collected data, whereas 11 percent said that regulation should be enforced by an independent, non-government organisation.
* In the UK, 41 percent support government regulation, while 17 percent favour a non-governmental approach.
Device manufacturers are mostly on the hook for security – If a vulnerability was discovered in a connected home device, 48 percent of all surveyed agreed that the device manufacturer is responsible for updating/patching their device. However, nearly 31 percent responded with “as a homeowner, it is my responsibility to make sure that the device is up to date.”
* UK respondents responded similarly with 43 percent putting the responsibility on the device manufacturer and 31 percent holding responsibility themselves.
The next looming battle: secure home routers versus clean pipes – A clear schism appears worldwide when homeowners were asked about how connected home devices should be secured. In nearly equal proportion were those who replied, “a home router should provide protection,” versus those who said, “my Internet provider should provide protection.”
* The UK was no different from the rest of the world, having nearly a 50-50 split.
Homeowners are willing to pay for a connected home – When asked, “would you be willing to pay for a new wireless router optimised for connected home devices,” 40 percent responded with “definitely” and another 48 percent said “maybe.” In a follow-on question, more than 50 percent said they would pay more for their Internet service in order to “enable connected devices to function” in their home.
* Similar to the rest of the world, UK homeowners would pay more; only 11 percent said that they would not.
Price is the primary factor – Although homeowners report a willingness to pay more to enable their connected home, when asked what factors impact their buying decisions of connected home devices, the number one answer that was consistent in all countries was price, followed by features/functionality and then manufacturer brand.
“The Internet of Things promises many benefits to end-users, but also presents grave security and data privacy challenges,” concludes Maddison. “Crossing these hurdles will require clever application of various security technologies, including remote connection authentication, virtual private networks between end-users and their connected homes, malware and botnet protection, and application security - applied on premises, in the cloud and as an integrated solution by device manufacturers.”