‘Big Data’ Angst Might Foster ‘IoT Fatigue’

It used to take years for the general public to catch on to new technologies and devices, and even longer to grasp all the intended and unintended consequences of their use.

With the Internet of Things (IoT), however, I sense a public perception that’s outpacing the actual promise of IoT. 

IoT, a notion little known to most consumers a few years ago, has gotten 2.3 million social Twitter mentions in just the first three months this year (January 1st to April 10th ), according to Argus Insights, a Los Gatos, Calif.-based market research firm.

Surprising isn’t the volume of social mentions. It’s the fact that such social conversation is already exposing, in one way or another, the gap between IoT’s reality and perception.

We might be witnessing the onset of IoT fatigue even before the market is up and running.

According to the “State of the Internet of Things: What’s Leading Market Conversations” report issued by Argus Insights Wednesday (April 20), IoT chatter involving the industry and consumers is heavily concentrated around ‘Big Data’ concerns.

As IoT grows, so does the volume of data collected. People get that.

Disconcerting, however, is that IoT ‘Big Data’ conversation is now turning into “fears of what will happen to this pool of data and how will it remain secure,” Argus Insights’ reported.

We all know that everyone, and every “thing,” is collecting data. But “now we’re moving in a ‘now-what?’ phase,” John Feland, CEO, Argus Insights, told EE Times.

He explained that on one hand, industry people are asking, “What are we going to do with this volume of data?” On the other, consumers are saying: “Oh, crap, what are they going to do with my data?”

In other words: Big Data or Big Brother?

People recognize that data is one of the key assets of the IoT. But “users and experts alike do not have full trust in the current products to keep their data safe,” Argus Insights’ report concluded.

Further, Feland added, “Consumers are getting weary, and are afraid of Amazon and Google tracking everything they say through Alexa and other smart home devices, and they worry about hackers gaining access to their baby monitors and smart locks.”

For period 1/3/2016 through 4/9/2016
(Source: Argus Insights)
Click here for larger image

For period 1/3/2016 through 4/9/2016 (Source: Argus Insights)

Twitter feeds don’t segregate consumer conversations from those of industry insiders. So how do you know all this? “No, they don’t,” said Feland. “It comes in one big bucket.”

However, Argus Insights, unlike many market research firms who track sales and shipment numbers, is in the business of monitoring and analyzing consumer reviews and social media conversation to identify people’s mindshare and predict demand.

Casting a large net over consumer topics including wearables, cloud, smart watch, smart home and others, Argus follows both consumer and industry-side discussions, Feland said.

For this IoT study, Argus analyzed the most popular content, including shared links, hashtags, and tweets with the most engagement throughout discussion of the IoT marketplace. The firm said, “Looking to the most popular content allows us to determine what is resonating within the marketplace and track how that is shifting over time.”

Among IoT topics addressed in social conversations, Feland said that “‘Big Data’ leads market mindshare, substantially ahead of general discussions of wearables, cloud, smart home, smart cities and more.” 

To read the rest of this article, visit EBN sister site EE Times.

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