Should the new products on display at CES provoke terror or awe?
For some, the slew of Internet-enabled products on view at the Consumer Electronics Show this week signaled new possibilities for serving and delighting consumers. For others—including U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and some skeptical columnists—the flood of wearable tech and devices such as Mother, which tracks interaction with objects in the home, provoked concern. “Dealing with the privacy and security aspects of the Internet of Things is going to be one of the biggest challenges we have faced in security for a long time,” Marc Rogers, an analyst at mobile security firm Lookout, remarked to the BBC. “These technologies will be some of the most intimate we have ever had.”
Brands will have to overcome such concerns among consumers—and as we note in our 10 Trends for 2014 report, logic won’t always determine what people consider creepy and overly invasive versus reasonably acceptable. Government tracking, drones and wearable technology are seen as more creepy than cool, according to a survey of 1,003 American and British adults we conducted last November using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool. Respondents were much less concerned about mapping technologies, voice recognition and geo-location technology.
Keep in mind that, as Jules Polonetsky of the Future of Privacy Forum told us, “Creepy is sometimes in the eye of the beholder, and what was creepy yesterday sometimes is not creepy anymore” as people adjust to the idea. Brands venturing into the Internet of Things will need to help consumers with that adjustment. And importantly, they must ensure that users can control what data is shared and how it’s stored and analyzed.