Cisco: We need to build consumer trust around IoT technology

In an interview with Total Telecom, Sanjay Khatri said that consumers were struggling with the "grudging reality" of data collection surrounding Iot devices

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Operators must do more to increase the levels of trust consumers have in Internet of Things technology, according to a new report by Cisco. 

 
Speaking exclusively to Total Telecom, Sanjay Khatri, global director of product marketing at Cisco, said that while consumers showed good levels of engagement with IoT technology, they had serious reservations about the way in which their data was being collected, stored and processed. 
 
"Despite a good amount of awareness in the consumer side and a reasonable amount of awareness on the public side, the trust factor in the general public [for IoT technology] is very low. 
 
In terms of trusting whether the data being collected is being stored securely, we are seeing extremely low levels of trust [from the consumer]. Only 9% of people surveyed have a high level of trust that their data is secure. Only 14% believe that companies do a good job of informing them of what data is being collected and how it is being used," he said.
 
This is what Cisco refer to as "the IoT value / trust paradox". Despite having a good awareness of the perceived value of IoT, consumers' trust levels are very, very low. 
 
Despite this lack of trust, there is no sign of consumers disengaging with their connected devices, as Khatri explains.  
 
"We have reached the point of no return really because, despite this lack of trust, consumers are so invested in the convenience of their connected devices that they are not willing to disconnect. It would be akin to asking people to go back to just using their landline telephones. 
The idea that there is going to be this level of engagement and that level of data collection by the corporations is a reality, but it’s a kind of grudging reality that consumers are facing," he said. 
 
The Cisco report surveyed 3000 consumers, with the intention of providing businesses with actionable insights into how to increase consumer confidence in, and adoption of, IoT services. 
 
While the survey reveals that consumers are willing to accept risk and trade off value for trust, they do so reluctantly. The consumers' desire for transparency into how their data is being used remains a key factor. Companies that can resolve the paradox for their customers will have the opportunity to accelerate and sustain the growth of their IoT businesses.
 
“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,” said Macario Namie, head of IoT Strategy at 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. Today’s IoT platforms solve for this problem and can give you the ability to enhance consumer confidence and trust, which can lead to greater adoption of your IoT services.”
 
 
 
To read the full report from Cisco, click here