Fortinet Surveys the Internet of Things

Fortinet Surveys the Internet of Things

Fortinet released the results of a new survey that found price and privacy are the two most important considerations for homeowners when it comes to creating their own connected home environments as part of the Internet of Things.

Network security provider Fortinet (FTNT) released the results of its latest global survey, which found homeowners are most concerned with price and privacy when it comes to building their connected home networks. The survey, "Internet of Things: Connected Home," took into account responses from more than 1,600 homeowners ages 20-50 in 11 countries who were asked to talk about their thoughts on upcoming advancements to the Internet of Things.

“The battle for the Internet of Things has just begun. According to industry research firm IDC, the IoT market is expected to hit $7.1 trillion by 2020,” said John Maddison, vice president of Marketing at Fortinet, in a statement. “The ultimate winners of the IoT-connected home will come down to those vendors who can provide a balance of security and privacy vis-à-vis price and functionality.”

Of those surveyed, 61 percent felt that the idea of a connected home with appliances and home electronics connected to the web is extremely likely to happen within the next five years. Respondents from China in particular were confident in the prediction, with 84 percent throwing their support behind a connected home. But homeowners were also concerned with the likelihood of data breaches, with 70 percent saying they were either very concerned or somewhat concerned about having sensitive information stolen.

Price is another major factor sure to impact the idea of a connected home becoming a reality. Overall, consumers seem to be willing to pay for added functionality, with 40 percent of respondents answering that they would definitely pay for a new wireless router optimized for connected home devices. Another 47 percent said “maybe” when asked whether they would be willing to shell out more cash for a stronger wireless connection. More than 50 percent of respondents, including more than half of Americans, said they would pay more for their Internet service if it meant enabling more connected devices in their homes.

Unsurprisingly, a majority of respondents, including 67 percent of Americans, agreed that the guarantee of privacy is essential in their decision to throw their support behind the idea of a connected home. Respondents also felt strongly about who should have access to their private data, with 44 percent stating only themselves or people with specific permission should have access to private data. Interestingly, a number of those surveyed in China, India and the United States felt that IoT device manufacturers and/or their Internet service providers should have access to collected data, too.

Despite concerns about government intrusion in private information, about 42 percent of all respondents said their government should regulate collected data, with only 20 percent believing their government should not, according to the survey. Only 11 percent felt no regulation of any kind was necessary. Only 33 percent of Americans agreed the government should regulate data—a fairly low number most likely due to factors such as Edward Snowden and the NSA’s access to Internet records.

While the concept of a completely connected home may seem like a fantasy, there are already some hints at what a fully connected household might look like a few years down the line. Microsoft’s (MSFT) new Xbox One is a prime example, with the system’s Kinect camera allowing users to turn their entertainment systems on and off using voice commands.

“The Internet of Things promises many benefits to end users, but also presents grave security and data privacy challenges,” said Maddison. “Crossing these hurdles will require clever application of various security technologies, including remote connection authentication, virtual private networks between end users and their connected homes, malware and botnet protection, and application security applied on premises, in the cloud and as an integrated solution by device manufacturers.”

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