A new CARAVAN® omnibus survey shows that U.S. adults aren’t embracing the term Internet of Things and are unaware that they are already actively taking part. A year or two ago, you couldn’t pick up a business magazine without reading about the vast potential of the Internet of Things (IoT), but awareness has stalled at 55 percent of Americans saying they have heard of the term (vs. 56% in September 2015).
Though the development of IoT devices and functionality has continued apace, consumer awareness has hardly budged. Today, with over 6 billion IoT devices connected to the internet —and a forecasted 20.8 billion by 2020 — it’s surprising that almost half of Americans haven’t even heard of the term.
It Might Be a Question of Demographics
Some demographic groups embrace the technology more readily than others. For instance, more than two-thirds of Millennials have heard of IoT and 43 percent say they are familiar with it. By contrast, only 40 percent of people 55 and over know the phrase “Internet of Things” and about one in eight (12 percent) consider themselves familiar with the concept.
Gender makes a difference, too. Close to two-thirds (62 percent) of men have heard of IoT, compared with fewer than half of women (48 percent), with about a third (33 percent) of males indicating they are familiar with the term, and only 20% of women indicating the same.
And finally, the more schooling you have, the more likely you are to know about IoT. Roughly a third (35 percent) of college grads are familiar with the concept, as compared with 26 percent for people with some college and 20 percent of high school grads.
Or It Could Simply Be Semantics
The disconnect may just be a matter of labels. Not everyone who uses a Fitbit to track fitness, or a web-connected nanny cam to monitor childcare, or a ride-sharing app to summon a cab recognizes that they’re tapping into the IoT.
Companies that offer IoT-based products and services may want to focus on selling the benefits, rather than the concept, of their connected devices. This interconnected network of devices will bring data and internet connectivity into every corner of our lives — from commuting to work in self-driving cars to managing home utility use via connected thermostats, to measuring pulse rates and blood pressure via smart devices and smart clothing.
Education Is Key to Adoption
Still, further research shows that increased understanding of the IoT boosts acceptance and recognition of its advantages. People who are familiar with the term are more likely to strongly agree with statements like:
• The job market and workplace will benefit as a result of increased connectivity through IoT (28 percent vs. 9 percent)
• As IoT becomes more a part of everyday life, it will have a positive overall impact (22 percent vs. 7 percent)
• An increased level of device connectivity managed over the internet will have a positive impact on health and well-being (18 percent vs. 5 percent)
These findings make a strong case for selling the idea of IoT, as well as the benefits of specific applications, to customers still not fully tuned-in to the concept. Read more about the IoT from this survey.