New survey shows consumers are wary of smart home devices invading their privacy

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US consumer interest in connected home products is on the rise, but privacy concerns persist. Nearly half of US consumers (48%) intend to buy at least one smart home device in 2018, a 66% rise year-over-year (YoY), according to Parks Associates.

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However, a new survey of 2,000 US consumers conducted by enterprise technology provider Ooma shows that, despite this spike, consumers still have privacy and security concerns about smart home products.

Here are two key takeaways from the survey:

  • 87% of respondents aren't comfortable with in-home delivery services like Amazon Key. In addition, 88% feel negatively about companies using their personal data to figure out when they are likely to be home, potentially in order to time deliveries so they don't miss their customers.
  • Users want systems that help secure their homes, but don't steal their personal data. Slightly less than half (47%) of respondents said detecting burglars is a top benefit of smart home products, and 43% similarly cited monitoring what's happening outside and inside their homes when they're away. At the same time, 72% of respondents who already own a smart security system told Ooma they're worried home security companies will invade their privacy, and 23% of connected security system owners said they deactivate their system completely when they have guests over. This paradox shows US consumers want the benefits of smart home devices, yet don't feel entirely comfortable will the intangible costs

Smart home providers will need to prioritize security and privacy to catalyze mass adoption of their products, but this won't come without challenges. The data shows consumers don't want smart home companies spying on them, but do want them to help prevent harmful intruders by monitoring the whole home, which they could do through encrypting or deleting their users' home data shortly after it's captured. However, even if providers encrypt or delete this data, they'll still need to convince their customers that they're doing this effectively. That will likely be challenging, given users' already prevalent privacy concerns.

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