Consumers Are Struggling with the Early IoT

The Internet of Things is going through some growing pains and consumers are feeling the effects.

The market for Internet of Things (IoT) products and services is exploding, promising to usher in an era of smart devices that automate tasks, improve safety and offer predictive guidance. For consumers in the here and now, however, the IoT falls short.

A majority of consumers (64 percent) are running into trouble with smart, IoT-enabled devices, according to a new study from Accenture. The consulting services firm surveyed 28,000 consumers in 28 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates.

The good news is that IoT vendors and services providers appear to be improving their offerings. Last year, a whopping 83 percent of respondents said they experienced problems with their smart devices.

Adoption also appears to be creeping upward. Forty-one percent said they owned at least one intelligent device (smartwatch, fitness tracker, car infotainment, etc.), up 12 percentage points from 2015. A mere 7 percent of the survey takers said they consider bundling a smart device with a complementary service, suggesting that vendors face an uphill battle creating IoT ecosystems.

Meanwhile, connected consumers, or "Screenagers" as Accenture calls them, are being let down by their mobile carriers, Accenture found.

Sixty percent of respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of their mobile service and indicated a willingness to switch providers (60 percent). And in a finding that seemingly doesn't bode very well for mobile payments, 62 percent said they were worried about the security of their financial transactions. Nonetheless, half of consumers are already using or planning to use mobile payment services.

In fact, nearly half (47 percent) said they were concerned about their mobile privacy and security. Eighty-three percent were wary of intrusive mobile advertising while consuming digital content.

Consumers are also tightening their belts. Only 13 percent of consumers are planning to increase their spending on smartphones, tablets and PCs in the next 12 months. On the bright side, at least for smartphone vendors, 41 percent said they planned on purchasing a new handset to stay on the mobile technology forefront.

While Accenture's data paints a somewhat murky picture of the consumer market for IoT and mobile devices, Accenture's Communications, Media and Technology global lead, Marco Vernocchi, believes there's room for innovative companies to find success. "Mixed data on consumer satisfaction coupled with flat growth in smart devices could be seen as a threat, but forward-looking providers will see an opportunity as consumers' digital appetite has never been greater," he said in a statement.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Tags: internet of things, IoT

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