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3 ways IoT security concerns are taken out of context

Scott Nelson | April 12, 2016
Analysis in context of user value shows a different picture.

Here is the problem.  This focus on consumer anxiety about IoT security in the context of adoption is completely distracting us from the real problem – creating value by solving problems that matter.  Consumers don’t buy IoT – they buy solutions to problems.  They don’t buy privacy or security just like they don’t buy quality.  They pay for quality and will pay for security and privacy; but always at a level they deem appropriate and always as part of a purchasing decision for the solution to a problem.  If I buy a cheap cordless drill I do not expect it to last as long or run as smoothly as if I buy the top of the line model.  But either tool will drill holes for me – that is why I make the purchase.

So if you are accountable to deliver, develop, or manage an IoT offering consider these three contextual facts:

Customers don’t buy security

Customers buy solutions to problems.  They don’t buy security, privacy, or even IoT.  First and foremost focus your team on solving problems that matter to users.  Make sure that your team has design thinkers who are accountable to users and user experience.  IoT may be a key technology or may enable a completely new business model for your company, but your customer doesn’t care.  They pay for solutions to their problems, not for technology.  Once you have the solution you will have a reason to consider the security of your IoT offering.

Security is relative

Customers will pay for security – appropriate security at an appropriate price.  They will judge the level of security and privacy you offer against that of your competitors and against their level of need.  The survey revealed that 49 percent of consumers are using imperfect products if the value of the use exceeds the risk to their privacy. Find that sweet spot where in the cost of the security you integrate is appropriate for the application solution you deliver.

Appropriate security solutions exist

Sales data and consumer surveys alike show that appropriate security solutions exist for numerous IoT applications.  But the news reports and professional analysis also show that security has not been made sufficient on other products.  Appropriate security technology exists but diligence and good process are required to make solutions that work

There is no question that security is and will continue to be a critical requirement for IoT solutions.  As IoT solutions proliferate and extend across markets in many applications security and privacy will have to be included -- at the appropriate level.  

The thing about “Check engine” lights is they stay on until you take action.  Sometimes you can drive on for months but sometimes they are indicative of a pending critical failure.  Customer concern with security is not the root cause for most of those struggling with IoT monetization success today.  But action in the form of a more diligent focus on value can turn the light off.


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