With all the hype about the Internet of Things—new connected products intended to bring greater efficiencies and simplicity to life—it may be surprising how few consumers are actually adopting these new technologies.
"Despite predictions of rapid growth for smart products in the near future, the Internet of Things has yet to secure a foothold in the mainstream consumer market," notes a new exploratory case study by Affinnova, which asked consumers to evaluate more than 4 million product concept variations and identify the most desired products and functions. The company said its research sheds light "on key consumer preferences and barriers to mainstream adoption of smart products."
One such barrier is a lack of understanding of what smart products are available and what their advantages and limitations are. While 57 percent of all consumers strongly agreed that the Internet of Things will be "just as revolutionary as the smartphone," they don't know how or why—92 percent told Affinnova its very difficult to pinpoint what they want from smart objects, but feel that they'll know it when they see it.
Also holding some consumers back is unease about whether collected data would be secure and private. "While one might expect life automation to be met with fervent enthusiasm, many consumers worry that Web-enabled technologies may not be reliable decision-making proxies yet; 41 percent fear smart products could take actions that they, as individuals, would not have chosen to make on their own," Affinnova said.
In spite of these concerns, consumers across two studies agreed that it is inevitable that the Internet of Things will take hold. Affinnova found that 58 percent feel that in 20 years, people will wonder how we ever lived without them. A second study by Aquity group called the Internet of Things "inevitable."
"We are already seeing computer- and sensor-infused objects in a variety of industries," Aquity Group said. "As it becomes less expensive to integrate technology into physical objects, we will see more application and adoption."
But it's clear that companies still have to figure out what consumers actually expect and want from smart products.
"As the Internet of Things continues to find its place in the mainstream consumer market, brands need to vet their ideas carefully amongst consumers and explore a broad range of options," said Aquity.
Here's a look at what these two companies have discovered about this next chapter in connectedness.