Internet of Things

Security Fears Make IoT Gadgets Tough Sell

The much celebrated Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is an annual foreteller of all tech trends for the year — what’s in and what’s out. And it looks like a lot of smart appliances might remain unsold.

Privacy and security concerns might dampen demand for smart home devices, like thermostats and smoke detectors, collectively called Internet of Things. The early adopters of technology might have lapped this up, but consumer surveys reveal the reluctance among average consumers.

“Last year, there was a great deal of optimism and bullishness around home automation,” Dave Bottoms, chief operating officer of PEQ, a smart home startup, was quoted as saying in The Wall Street Journal. “The reality is it is a lot harder and tougher than everybody imagined.”

A recent survey conducted by Accenture of 28,000 consumers in 28 countries noted that 47 percent of respondents pointed to security and privacy as potential obstacles to adopting such technology. While a wide number of people chose to be apprehensive and postponed purchases, close to 18 percent had quit using them or terminated services for lack of security guarantees, the consulting firm said.

The sluggish demand, however, won’t deter companies’ lineups of these products. Instead, this is throwing open opportunities for companies providing security solutions. These gadgets, including washing machines, door locks, security cameras, etc., which might be susceptible to hacking, will eventually come with safeguards that make them secure.

Apple, for example, has established a protocol that will require special security circuitry to be incorporated into chips used in compatible devices. Others measures include heavy-duty encryption technology to guard against data theft.

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