Do we really trust smart devices?

Some brands are more trusted than others when it comes to smart home devices -- but do these devices really listen to what we say?
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Video: For the future of IoT, keep an eye on 5G and ML

The global smart home market is forecasted to reach a value of almost $138 billion by 2023, as demand for smart home appliances grows at a high rate. But consumers continue to be suspicious of smart home devices, according to a new report.

Read also: How smart are Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, and Siri in answering your questions?

In fact, some brands are perceived to be more trustworthy than others when it comes to smart home devices.

Seattle, Wash.-based smart home project specialist Porch surveyed over 1,000 people using Amazon's Mechanical Turk to discover whether they trusted their smart home devices and how they perceived the future for the technology.

Smart devices are here to stay, for sure. They help us stay organized, like with creating grocery lists, making hands-free phone calls, and completing simple tasks.

But we do not trust them completely.

Groups such as millennials feel that they need to have a relationship with a brand before buying the latest technology.

Smart devices-are they always listening to us ZDnet
(Image: Porch)

Although they are influenced by the buzz around a new device and want to be involved, they do not fully trust their devices.

Over half of respondents own smart devices (57.4 percent of baby boomers, 69.6 percent of generation X, and 75.1 percent of millennials). But less people actually trust their devices.

Thirty-four percent of smart home device owners do not trust their devices -- nor device manufacturers.

Amazon leads the way with consumer trust, with almost two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents trusting the company.

Read also: Best Smart Home Devices for 2018 - CNET

Apple held the lowest score, with 54.7 percent trusting the company

Nearly half of respondents believe their smart home devices are recording their private conversations for targeted ad use, even though Google and Amazon deny any such claim.

The survey showed that almost half (48.2 percent) of smart device owners would completely lose trust in their device if the terms of service offered unfettered device to their data.

And 47.7 percent of owners would lose trust if their hardware or software secretly collected their data.

Owners were more trusting about their devices listening in on their conversations. Only 38.8 percent would lose trust if this happened.

Read also: Top tips to improve IoT smart home security

Almost half of respondents (48.9 percent) believe that their smart home devices record their private conversations to send them targeted advertisements.

Smart devices-are they always listening to us ZDnet
(Image: Porch)

Over one in five (22 percent) of respondents who own smart speakers reckon that their device has refused to follow their commands, and sadly, seven percent of Amazon Alexa users are convinced their device has randomly laughed at them.

Although smart home technology is in its early stages, and we do not implicitly trust it, adoption is on the rise.

Read also: 17 ways the Internet of Things is changing the world - TechRepublic

We still have much to learn about how it will impact our society for generations to come, and as it becomes more sophisticated, we will need to become smarter, too.

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