A lot of businesses and marketers spend a lot of time developing strategies around the Internet of Things (IoT). But guess what?

Recent research from the Acquity Group shows most consumers are clueless about the IoT — and companies and brands may be putting the cart before the horse by trying to sell smart technologies to consumers.

In fact, the research shows ignorance about the IoT is the biggest barrier to adoption. A stunning 87 percent of the people surveyed don’t know what it is — and consequently can't see any value in it.

Refrigerators are Smarter than People?

Acquity, now a part of Accenture, surveyed 2,000 consumers in the US. Generally speaking, it shows that many people are embracing wearable technology, but are unaware that these technologies are part of a wider group of devices that can be described as the IoT.

They are also unaware they can buy intelligent appliances like refrigerators and other things, like smoke detectors. Even when they are aware that this technology exists, they were concerned about the price and the value they get for their money.

Then findings, which are contained in Acquity’s 2014 Internet of Things (IoT) Study  (free after registration) examines consumer adoption of connected devices and smart technology. For the sake of the study, the IoT is defined as the phenomenon of everyday devices connecting to the Internet through tiny embedded sensors and computing power.

While there is a huge market for technology providers that offer these kinds of sensor-enabled consumer products, there is also a huge secondary industry in gathering and analyzing data gleaned from those devices.

2014-8-25 IoT consumer adoption.jpg


The IoT is still in its infancy. However, the research contends that mainstream adoption is inevitable as it become less expensive to integrate sensors into physical objects, particularly around in-home smart devices and wearable devices.

We are already seeing computer and sensor-infused objects in a variety of industries, including automotive, energy, consumer electronics and in-home appliances, the report notes.

Right now, only about 4 percent of people own an IoT device and only slightly more — 7 percent — own some kind of wearable. But the figure is expected to double within a year. In the next two years,  30 percent of consumers will obtain an in-home IoT device and that could climb to 69 percent in the next five years.

Wearable fitness devices are expected to see the fastest rate of adoption in the next five years with 13 percent of consumers planning to buy a device in the next year and 43 percent in the next five years. The next most popular device will be smart watches, with 5 percent expected to invest in the next year, 8 percent by the end of 2015 and 25 percent in the next five years.

Smart clothing is less likely to catch on and adoption will be slower. In the next five years, a total of 14 percent of consumers expect to own smart clothing and 16 percent expect to own a wearable headset device.