Trust is important to ensure innovation and wider adoption of IoT. Source: Shutterstock

Trust is important to ensure innovation and wider adoption of IoT. Source: Shutterstock

Why trust is critical to the widespread adoption of IoT technology

INTERNET of things or IoT is a transformative technology expected to disrupt many industries as we know it. While relatively in its infancy in some sectors, the technology has been widely adopted in industrial settings such as manufacturing, shipping, and transportation.

To increase uptake in the enterprise world, IoT platforms are continually being optimized to make them more energy and cost efficient, to improve accuracy, power automation, among other things.

However, for widespread adoption by all industries, and for the technology to really thrive, IoT has to be optimized for trust.

At the moment, IoT devices cannot be trusted to protect and secure data, which causes businesses to hesitate.

According to one study, more than 90 percent of data transaction among IoT devices are not fully encrypted.

This is because many businesses are deploying consumer-grade IoT devices on their enterprise networks, exposing themselves to data breaches and cybersecurity threats that could potentially have far-reaching consequences.

Furthermore, retailers deploying IoT devices at public places like malls and storefronts also invokes serious trust and data ownership concerns.

Should consumers trust retailers to ethically handle any data collected? What if they want to opt out from being part of the dataset?

Lack of trust leads to restrictive regulations

When consumers distrust a technology, it creates a chilling effect on its development and adoption.

Worse, if the technology is transformative such as IoT, businesses and vendors can expect more significant intervention by governments, in the form of sweeping regulations.

For example, the state of California in the US is already proposing a law to curb the functions of IoT devices, and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) restricts how companies collect data.

While these regulations, in principle, are intended to protect consumers, they could also impede the development of any technology, and subsequently its adoption, regardless of potential benefits.

Enterprises may not see them as cost efficient to deploy a technology if they need to have a compliance officer to ensure every policy is adhered to.

And thus, developers and vendors within the IoT space and ecosystem should first seek to solve the trust issues surrounding the technology, if the platforms are to be adopted more broadly.

If we can’t trust IoT to gather accurate data and deploy it appropriately, IoT adoption is likely to stall.