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Smart home tech isn't fully trusted, QUB study reveals

Consumers worried about security breaches


Concern: research has shown consumers have concerns about using smart home technology

Concern: research has shown consumers have concerns about using smart home technology

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Concern: research has shown consumers have concerns about using smart home technology

Consumers don't fully trust new smart home technologies due to fears over security breaches, researchers from Queen's University Belfast and the University of Warwick have found.

The research team surveyed 2,101 participants aged 16-74 years old across the UK using an online questionnaire.

With some households installing voice-controlled appliances and smart security, the findings show that consumers still have anxiety about the likelihood of a security incident.

Those surveyed were unconvinced that their privacy and security will not be at risk when they use smart home devices.

It also emerged that when asked to evaluate the impact of a privacy breach, respondents tended to disagree that its impact will be low, suggesting they expect the impact of a privacy breach to be significant.

This is a prominent factor influencing whether or not they would adopt smart home technology.

The research was led by WMG, University of Warwick and the Department of Computer Science at the University of Warwick, supported by Queen's Management School.

The study, which was published in the journal, PlosOne, also found that more females than males have adopted smart home devices in the last year.

Young people (aged 18-24) were the earliest adopters of smart home technology, however those aged 65 and over also adopted it early.

Older people were found to be less willing to use smart home devices in case of unauthorised data collection compared to younger people who are less aware of privacy breaches.

Dr Sinong Ma, Economics Lecturer at Queen's Management School and study researcher said consumers' trust and understanding of the smart home are fundamental for the adoption of the innovative technology.

He added: "Through mapping out influential factors in the understanding and acceptability of the smart home, our study flags up clear challenges to smart home adoption in the UK for both businesses and policymakers."

Sara Cannizzaro, from WMG, University of Warwick said that the study underlines how businesses and policymakers will need to work together to act on the sociotechnical affordances of smart home technology in order to increase consumers' trust of it.

"This intervention is necessary if barriers to adoption and acceptability of the smart home are to be addressed now and in the future," she added.

Belfast Telegraph