• June 17, 2022

The era of smart homes is coming.

The era of smart homes is coming

Invasion of privacy by unauthorized persons, loss of personal data, as well as malware: these are the biggest concerns of the public about the integration of home electronics and household appliances into the global network. FORTINET surveyed how we perceive the challenges of the coming Internet of Things era.
FORTINET has published a report on key issues related to the so-called "Internet of Things. The Internet of Things, a trend involving the proliferation of smart home devices that have constant connectivity to the network. The "Internet of Things: the Smart Home" survey was conducted independently in 11 countries and reveals the public's attitudes toward the new generation of smart devices, concerns about security and privacy, and the steps homeowners are willing to take to connect their homes to the Internet.

Conducted in June 2022, the survey gathers responses from 1,801 homeowners using new technologies.

The smart home is becoming a reality

More than half of respondents (61%) believe that in the next five years, the majority of household appliances and consumer electronics in our homes will have an Internet connection. This vision is, according to them, "very likely". Chinese believe in it the most (85%).

In comparison, 61% of Americans surveyed held the same view. In the UK and Germany, 57% and 61% of respondents, respectively, thought it "very likely" that the smart home will soon become a reality.

Fear of breach of confidential information

The majority of respondents expressed their concern that connected home devices could allow data leakage or disclosure of sensitive user information. Globally, as many as 69% of respondents marked the answer: "I am very concerned" or "I am somewhat concerned.". Fear of disclosure of confidential information is at a particularly high level in Germany, where 71% of respondents are concerned about the security of their data.

Brits, on the other hand, show more confidence for network security (only 55% of respondents expressed concerns).

Data privacy and security at a premium

When asked about data privacy, most respondents answered: "privacy is important to me, I don't trust sources that use my data". The highest percentage of respondents giving this answer was recorded in India (63%). In comparison, Brits and Germans split roughly 50/50 between those who express high concerns about the privacy of their information and those for whom the type of data used is important.

"No" to data collection by devices

Related to privacy and data protection, respondents were also asked what they would do if they discovered that connected home appliances and consumer electronics were secretly collecting user data and sharing it online. The majority of respondents, i.e. 62% felt that such a breach was "enough of an offense to take decisive action". The greatest outrage was noted among respondents from South Africa, Malaysia and the United States.

Also, the majority of Europeans (nearly 60%) would be determined to take appropriate steps to block devices from collecting data and sharing it further.

Demanding control over access to data

When asked about the availability of data collected by networked devices ("to whom you would grant access to data collected by your home appliances and electronics"), most respondents (66%) indicated only themselves or individuals to whom they themselves would grant such access. Europeans are rather distrustful on the subject. Most respondents, however, would prefer to avoid sharing their data even with seemingly trusted sources.

For example, 73% of Germans favored only their own data control.

Should governments interfere?

A sizable group of respondents (42%) said that smart device user data should be controlled by national governments, while only 11% believe in the success of data control by an independent non-governmental organization. The attitude of Europeans in this regard is quite varied. Britons, because of their attachment to power, conditioned by traditions, are largely willing to entrust control of their data to the government.

Nearly half of those surveyed favored this option. There is considerable disagreement among Germans on this issue, as they split their votes evenly between three options: government control, no government interference at all, and regulatory concerns.

Manufacturers of smart devices are responsible for their proper operation

If a networked device stops working properly, or there are problems with updating its software, the problem should be fixed. When asked who the responsibility lies with, 48% of respondents said that it definitely lies with the manufacturer of the device, who has the best knowledge of its product. What is surprising is the number of respondents who say they can handle themselves and fixing any malfunction is their responsibility.

This was the answer given by 31% of all respondents.

Who will provide security?

The biggest split in responses came when respondents were asked who should protect connected devices from hackers and malware attacks. Globally, half of those surveyed said security should be provided by their home router, while the other half put this responsibility on their ISP. Europeans, meanwhile, note a correlation between a device and its ability to act intelligently. Thus, a large group of respondents indicated that the device itself should be immune to the dangers of software attacks, and, if necessary, adapt and provide itself with adequate protection and eliminate the threat.

This was the option chosen by 29% of Brits and as many as 43% of Germans.
The Internet of Things promises many benefits, but at the same time poses serious challenges to network security and user data privacy. Tackling these obstacles will require a variety of security techniques, including authenticating network connections, users using private networks to communicate with connected devices, using anti-virus software, or protecting against attacks on cloud applications, says John Maddison, vice president of the. FORTINET marketing.

Homeowners are willing to invest in smart solutions

The public's willingness and ability to invest in new smart devices is also a very important issue to analyze. When asked "would you choose to pay for a new wireless router to set up home devices with a network?", 40% of respondents answered "definitely yes" and 48% marked the answer "maybe". The willingness to invest in smart equipment also manifests itself in another way, as 50% of respondents would be willing to pay more for Internet services to connect devices to the network.

Price as a determining factor

Although the majority of respondents were determined or considering buying devices and services related to connecting their home to the network, their price proved to be the most important factor determining their choice. If it were lower, arguably the vision of a smart home would become closer. In the hierarchy of factors determining purchase, the most important, after price, turned out to be the device's functions and usefulness.
The battle for the Internet of Things market has just begun. According to IDC, a leading research firm, the Internet of Things market is expected to grow to $7.1 trillion (approx. 21.5 trillion) in 2020.

Ultimately, the group of Internet of Things market leaders will narrow down to those vendors that provide a balance between security and privacy and product price and functionality, comments John Maddison.

Survey methodology

Smart home - infographic

The survey "Internet of things: the smart home" was conducted by research agency GMI, a division of Lightspeed Research. Each respondent reported owning a single-family home, being between 20 and 50 years old and having a basic knowledge of new technologies. The survey was conducted in Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Malaysia, South Africa, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.