How Businesses Can Get the Most from the IoT
By Matt Brennan
While people are largely in favor of the benefits that the Internet of Things will bring, they remain skeptical of the companies that bring these services.
Assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home will likely become the focal point for a connected home or business. They are the products that allow customers the ability to control the thermostat, adjust lighting, or monitor utility usage. They allow customers to make simplified purchases when possible, and they serve as the operational hub for the Internet of Things.
There has been a widespread concern throughout the media regarding these home assistants, however. Stories appear on a regular basis about whether Alexa is eavesdropping on you. There is a concern over the level of data these companies can now collect by simply leaving the microphone on, and how much easier these devices make it for law enforcement to conduct surveillance.
Regular household devices and appliances are being manufactured with the ability to make the home and office more efficient. From washing machines to refrigerators to light bulbs, our inanimate objects are developing the ability to communicate with each other.
The companies that provide these devices will need to overcome consumer fears in order to make the most out of the Internet of Things. People can make their homes and businesses endlessly more efficient and they are likely ready to do so, but they need to have trust in the products that fill their home.
Below are a few simple steps IoT companies can take to earn and maintain their customers’ trust.
Remain Vigilant on Security – Many tech companies have adopted Facebook’s motto: move fast and break things. While it’s an inspirational approach to innovation, the problem is that it allows security to be treated as an afterthought.
There are common IoT security exploits that must be addressed in order to help consumers better trust the devices in their homes.
Clarify Your Data Policy – Europe’s GDPR regulations are pushing tech companies in this direction. A clear data policy that allows customers to understand what data is being stored and under what conditions will minimize customer fears and more effectively build trust.
Customers need to be able to trust that when the device has not been woken up, that it’s not listening to every word.
Transparency – The companies that make smart home devices need to remain transparent about the purpose for their data collection. Customers want a simplified shopping experience and a better home assistant. It’s good to remind them of those purposes once in a while.
Otherwise consumers may feel like their privacy has been invaded when they receive emails or Facebook ads for the products they were shopping for. The same thing goes when they receive reminders to purchase products they are almost out of.
Remaining transparent about the purpose of IoT products will help customers to build more trust and use them for the long haul.