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Connected cars, smart homes and autonomous factories are a few examples of how the Internet of Things (IoT) is affecting society. According to a new study from Visa and PYMNTS.com, the IoT is also poised to dramatically change how people shop.
More than 80 percent of the 2,600 smartphone users in U.S. polled by the companies said they were strongly interested in making purchases with connected devices, suggesting intense demand for IoT products and services that will help usher in an era of "things paying for things."
In some ways, that future has already arrived.
Today, Amazon shoppers can use the company's Wi-Fi connected Dash Buttons to restock their pantries with the mere press of a button. Similarly, owners of the company's Echo smart speaker can order items by issuing voice commands to Alexa, Amazon's virtual assistant technology.
With its Instant Ink service, HP is taking the hassle out of running out of printer ink. Subscribers are billed according to the number of pages they print each month. When ink levels are getting low, HP's connected printers notify the company and new ink cartridges are automatically shipped to users.
Today's consumers are suitably connected to begin with, the report found. Seventy-five percent have at least one connected device, apart from a PC, tablet or smartphone.
Most consumers (83 percent) said these devices can help create seamless purchasing experiences, expediting the checkout process. In fact, many expressed an interest in auto-pay technologies in-store and at the gas pump (40 percent).
Although it may take time before the IoT serves as a suitable replacement for wallets, the payments industry seems poised to move in that direction. "The category of payment-enabled devices is still in very early days, yet this research shows just how much consumer interest and understanding is starting to build for what these experiences can offer," said Jim McCarthy, executive vice president of innovation and strategic partnerships at Visa, in a statement.
Just don't ask consumers to sacrifice security for convenience.
While those championing the IoT-enabled commerce are generally seeking to reduce friction during the buying process and squeeze a little more efficiency out of their day-to-day tasks, they are still keeping an eye on financial safety. More than 75 percent of respondents said data privacy was a concern. Sixty-nine percent harbored worries about order accuracy and verification.
On average, consumers own 4.4 connected devices.
Popular categories include game consoles (47 percent) and health and fitness trackers (41 percent). Further down the list are smartwatches (15 percent), voice-enabled assistants (14 percent) and connected thermostats (nine percent) like those produced by Alphabet subsidiary Nest.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.