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Trust Issues Tarnish the Internet of Things

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Consumers are increasingly using Internet of Things (IoT) devices to enrich their lives, but they also harbor some mistrust about the ways businesses are using their potentially sensitive data, according to Cisco's new IoT Value/Trust Paradox report.

The networking giant recently polled 3,000 consumers and found that many folks are deriving value from IoT solutions. More than half (53 percent) said the IoT makes life more convenient and 47 percent of respondents said it made them more efficient.

For some, it also offers peace of mind. More than a third (34 percent) of respondents said the IoT enhances safety.

Despite those benefits, most consumers can't shake the suspicion that their data is being misused.

A scant nine percent of consumers believe their IoT data is securely collected and shared. Only 14 percent are satisfied with the transparency that companies provide regarding how their data is being collected and used.

Many consumers aren't letting a little mistrust wreck their relationship with the IoT. Forty-two percent of respondents said the IoT is too integrated into their lives to pull the plug on their devices and services, revealed the study.

Nonetheless, trust issues can haunt businesses that don't confront IoT data privacy and security issues head-on.

"As more companies build their businesses around IoT services, they need to first understand the importance of educating customers on how they are using their data to deliver new, valuable services that will enhance their lives," said Macario Namie, head of IoT Strategy at Cisco, in a statement.

"Consumers are asking for more visibility into IoT data practices, and to increase transparency around your IoT data governance and management, you first need to be able to determine who gets what data, where and when," advised the Cisco executive. "Today's IoT platforms solve for this problem and can give you the ability to enhance consumer confidence and trust, which can lead to greater adoption of your IoT services."

Tucked into the report is some good news for IoT vendors, at least those that sell personal devices.

Asked to identify IoT devices, 62 percent correctly identified wearables and other examples of the technology, suggesting that awareness is high. However, they fell short on picking out public IoT implementations like smart meters and street lighting systems, noted Cisco.

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

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