The Internet of Things (IoT) offers exciting capabilities for connecting household and personal devices to the internet but, for many individuals, it comes with a downside. The complexity of these devices and systems makes them vulnerable to breaking down. The interconnectedness of IoT can expose people to security breaches.
Survey Says: People Expect the IoT to Break Down
In a new survey from ORC International, 59 percent of respondents said that they believed the IoT would not work because of technical or software malfunctions that people will not know how to repair. That’s up slightly from 54 percent in the previous survey (September 2015), perhaps because IoT breakdowns have been getting more and more attention in the media.
The Stories Keep Coming
This fall, a malware bot known as Mirai hacked an army of lightly secured IoT devices — including cameras, DVRs, and routers — to mount denial of service attacks on a variety of websites.
Earlier in the year, users of Nest IoT thermostats reported widespread failures in Wi-Fi-connected utility management apps. Customers woke up freezing in the middle of the night after the thermostats failed to connect to the internet. The glitch emerged during January across the country, putting users who employ the remote sensors in second homes to risk freezing pipes and serious damage.
In San Francisco, where Fitbit is based, users from various states are suing the firm for incorrectly recording heart rates, a potentially deadly flaw for users with cardiovascular problems.
And a year earlier, security researchers hacked a connected 2014 Jeep Cherokee, remotely fiddling with the vehicle’s sound system, air conditioning, windshield wipers, and even its ability to accelerate.
And Consumers Are Concerned
These kinds of stories are unsettling for consumers just getting used to the idea of internet-enabled vehicles, appliances, and personal devices. Companies that are engaged in (or considering) IoT strategies need to take steps to make sure that their connected device technologies are safe and reliable, such as:
• Strengthen security with stronger password protection
• Increase the complexity of encryption codes
• Beef up customer service
• Ensure staff is quick, proficient, and available 24/7, should issues arise
• Educate customers about what they can do to keep their devices and information safe
The main takeaway: Customers who have a bad experience with IoT are less likely to use these devices in the future. If your customer service or sales or data mining strategy depends on IoT adoption, make sure that your devices work consistently and securely before you introduce them into the market.
For more on current perceptions of the IoT, read our other blog.