UK public fears advance of internet-enabled devices amid security concerns

UK consumers fear that technology is overtaking their lives, with many increasingly concerned about the pace of change they face, according to the latest KPMG survey. Results also highlight discomfort with the greater surveillance of everyday life and a cynicism about the need for connected devices.

KPMG surveyed over 1,600 consumers across the UK to identify attitudes towards the ‘Internet of Things’ – the term used to describe devices which ‘speak’ to each other over the internet. It aimed to gauge their views around intrusiveness, security and the value of connected devices.

More than half (58 percent) resent the idea that computers seem to run their lives “wherever I go” and 70 percent suggest that with the marketplace flooded by inter-connected devices, it’s too easy for things to go wrong.  The survey goes on to reveal that UK consumers are hankering after a return to ‘simple’ technology.

Yet, respondents are quick to recognise that inter-connected devices can bring benefits, with 48 percent welcoming the idea that smart meters can save energy and money.  Four in 10 also suggest that health monitors which issue warnings about impending illness are a good idea and 46 percent want to use security systems to monitor their property whilst away from home. 

Wil Rockall, a director in KPMG’s Cyber Security practice, says: “It is clear that consumers are struggling with a desire to use connected devices as a route towards an easier life, but they remain wary of the rise of the machine.  They still support innovation, recognising that in the right environment having the latest technology is key – nearly 60% acknowledge that technology makes us more effective at our job.”

Asked why they are cynical about the advance of the Internet of Things, respondents questioned how it’s possible to keep personal information private, with 56% of those polled concerned about a “Big Brother” effect occurring as a result of these products and the pace at which they are being produced and implemented.  In a work environment, more than one-third (36 percent) suggested employers are monitoring their every action.

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