Updated Jan. 4, 2017 at 1:58 p.m.

Really want a smart home? Cybersecurity worries 60% of possible device buyers

Published: 2017-01-04 13:47:00
Updated: 2017-01-04 13:58:17

Privacy tops smart home concerns Privacy tops smart home concerns. (Parks Associates)

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If Americans weren't already skittish about security of their data after recent hacks of commercial sites and all the talk about Russia having possibly "hacked" the 2016 US election, here's a new concern: 60 percent of homeowners with broadband are worried that Internet-linked "smart home" devices could be hacked.

Who might gain access to what - and steal data or control devices?

Research firm Parks Associates threw some cold water on the red-hot Internet of Things hype at the CES Show in Las Vegas with the new research report published Wednesday. although the report also highlighted what Parks says are the top emerging IoT trends.

"Roughly 60 percent of U.S. broadband households are concerned, with the majority very concerned, that someone will be able to access and control their smart home products," said Stuart Sikes, President of Parks Associates, about the report.

"Privacy and support concerns are outpacing smart home adoption, which is currently at 26 percent of U.S. broadband households, and companies need to address these concerns to continue growth in these sectors. 2017 will offer companies multiple opportunities to take the lead in protecting consumer privacy and data."

Worries extend to car owners, too.

"Consumers increasingly expect connectivity in their cars, but pricing, safety, and data privacy concerns inhibit market growth," Parks says.

Billions of devices from refrigerators to smart TVs and vehicles will be linked to the Internet of Things by 2020, according to data compiled by such firms as Cisco.

Yet consumers remain wary. For example, what do those smart speaker/A.I. assistants "hear"?

And what happens to the data that's "heard"?

The murder investigation already involving possible data from an Amazon device could just be a precursor of what's to come.

And what can hackers get of value from sensitive information risked online?

Dealing with cybersecurity issues will be a challenge for hardware providers and app developers, as the survey makes clear.

Parks says that 45 percent of the people it surveyed as "very concerned."

Top IoT trends

As for the top trends in IoT development, Parks cited the following as its "Top 10:"

  1. Voice control is vying to become the primary user interface for the smart home and connected lifestyle.
  2. The smartphone market plateaus, and mobile carriers experiment to retain subscribers, which will threaten fixed broadband services.
  3. Consumer electronics manufacturers focus on new product categories and ecosystem strategies to compensate for stagnation in a mature market.
  4. Virtual and augmented reality gain a foothold in niche operations and greater awareness among early adopters, creating opportunities for social VR experiences.
  5. The differences between on-demand and live viewing continue to blur as consumers embrace a variety of over-the-top (streaming, etc.) video services.
  6. Consumers increasingly expect connectivity in their cars, but pricing, safety, and data privacy concerns inhibit market growth.
  7. To cross the chasm, the smart home industry will continue to develop new use cases for security, peace of mind, and energy management.
  8. Insurers are exploring new business opportunities in smart home products and services and will continue to launch trials and new partnerships.
  9. Wearables and smart watches are expanding as healthcare tools and will be integrated with other IoT applications.
  10. Consumerization of healthcare services and devices drives integration with smart home ecosystems and new business models.

Read more at: http://www.parksassociates.com

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