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Research Reveals How Australians Feel Towards The ‘Internet Of Things’

August 16, 2019 Statistics & Trends No Comments Email Email

Technology is increasingly working with consumer and industrial devices – making them smart – and in the process allowing us to do more than ever before, like the important task of syncing your alarm clock with your coffee machine to ensure the perfect espresso is waiting for you every morning as you roll out of bed in your smart home.

With the rates of electronic devices being used to connect, interact, and exchange data with others via the internet on the rise, the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and how it impacts your life will only continue to become more prominent. In fact, by 2025 it’s expected to generate between $4T and $11T in economic value compared to the current $2T, further signalling its growth trajectory.

New research by one of the country’s leading think tanks – Thinque – reveals how Australians feel towards the ‘Internet of Things’ not only in relation to their everyday life but also in regard to particular sectors like retail, banking, dating and Government services.

Overall, while 2 in 3 Australians acknowledge the pros and cons of the Internet of Things, the remaining 1 in 3 feel very strongly about either loving or hating the trend (15% versus 20%).

Delving deeper, Western Australian locals led the way in embracing the IoT with 1 in 5 saying they love it and feel it could do more for them, whereas Queenslanders had the highest number of people against it, with 1 in 4 stating they hate it and don’t want it to exist. Interestingly, males and those who worked full time were more likely to embrace the IoT (20% and 18%) compared to their female and part-time working counterparts (11% and 12%).

Global futurist and innovation strategist, Anders Sörman-Nilsson says, “Our research highlights that a significant number of Australians are divided when it comes to their feelings towards the ‘Internet of Things’. What I find the most interesting though is that their sentiment towards particular industries being digitised, like how people hate that it has changed the dating scene, but celebrate how entertainment, shopping, and banking have digitally evolved through Smart TVs, conversational commerce (e.g smart speakers) and wearable technology.”

Delving further into this, the research uncovered that 60% of people were pleased that the entertainment industry has digitally progressed through the adoption of IoT– scoring high across all age, gender and location breakdowns – followed by banking and shopping (both at 57%). Unsurprisingly, shopping rated highest in the 18-25 age group (73%) and also higher with females than males (61% verse 53%) as we adapt new ways of seamlessly shopping and transacting.

When it came to what part of people’s lives they wish had never been digitised dating (eg geo-location apps like Bumble) and making friends were clear leaders, with 32% admitting their distaste for how it had influenced that area, followed by Government services (25%) which courtesy of IoT may seem increasingly invasive through connected cameras and facial recognition.

Anders Sörman-Nilsson adds, “The study also exposed why people have hesitations and a distaste for IoT-enabled devices, with the main reason being that they miss human interaction (45%). From my experience of both being a modern consumer as well as working alongside companies as a futurist, this information highlights how brands (no matter how traditional or progressive they are) need to foster true connections with customers and create a sense of trust and community to stop them from feeling isolated and to assist them transitioning seamlessly into the increasingly tech-enabled world. Ultimately, in today’s society, people need both their analogue hearts and their digital minds catered to.”

In terms of where the ‘Internet of Things’ is headed; Anders shares his expert predictions on what it will be able to do for us in the near future:

⦁ Say goodbye to (a significant amount of) traffic. Smart cities, including South Australia, are using this technology to solve traffic congestion and reduce noise, crime and pollution. By using tailored algorithms and data, traffic light networks are able to make real-time decisions, lessening waiting times – which could soon mean traffic becomes an issue of the past.

⦁ Looking after yourself, and being cared for, will be easier than ever. Wearable technology is already common, but as technology evolves, individuals will be able to be notified immediately to health issues they may not have been aware of – such as dangerously low blood pressure, the risk of a stroke, or illnesses – so action can be taken for themselves and loved ones – before it’s too late.

Hospitals are also increasingly relying on technology to maximise efficiency, and in the future all hospital beds will be equipped with sensors to notify staff of available beds, thus significantly reducing waiting periods.

⦁ You’ll save money, without any more effort. Lights and appliances controlled by IoT will mean energy costs are notably cut. Not only by automatically turning off the lights and unused appliances while no one is home, but the thermostats in the home heater and fridge will self-adjust to ensure the output is kept to a minimum until necessary.

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