Are young people wild about the Internet of Things?

Posted by Luke Mitchell on 16 April 2014 in Tech

Research conducted by Voxburner in March and April this year reveals young people’s understanding and enthusiasm for the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT).

A survey of over 1,200 UK 16-24s tested how much they know about the burgeoning world of internet-connected washing machines, cars and smoke alarms.

Business and the media are becoming more excited by the IoT each day – but are young people?

In this research we discover:

  • How many 16-24s can explain what the Internet of Things is;
  • Which aspects of it they find most interesting;
  • Whether they feel excited, scared or threatened by IoT;
  • Where they think IoT will make the biggest impact in their lives;
  • What their worries are about the technology.

We also gauged reaction and anticipation of wearable technologies. Are the likes of fitness wristbands, smartwatches and Google Glass desirable? Which ones do young people most want to buy?

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In the US? For more insights like these below, make sure you check out Youth Marketing Strategy, coming to New York on 12 June 2014.

What do young people know about the Internet of Things?

Over half of young people have never heard of the term ‘Internet of Things’ and don’t know anything about it. Only one in ten understands it or knows lots about.

But when the concept is explained to them, the majority find it interesting.

Given a choice of three emotions and asked to choose which is closest to their feeling, most are excited by the idea rather than threatened or scared.

How would you rate your understanding of the term ‘Internet of Things’?

Never heard of it 53%

Heard of it but don’t know what it means 19%

Heard of it and know a little 17%

Heard of it and know lots 4%

Fully understand it 6%

The ‘Internet of Things’ is about connecting the physical world to the internet. Some examples of it in use include: a home heater you can control from your phone while at work; an app that warns you when a train is running late; or a notification that your friend just got home so you know to call in and see them.

With this understanding of the meaning of ‘Internet of Things’, how interesting does it sound to you?

Very interesting 37%

Somewhat interesting 43%

Average 15%

Not interesting 5%

How do you feel when thinking about the ‘Internet of Things’?

Excited 75%

Scared 16%

Threatened 9%

How will the Internet of Things make a difference to young people?

Asked which areas of life the Internet of Things could make an impact, this value-obsessed generation picked money-saving as their top choice. “Shopping - helping me research products and save money” was the top choice of 60%.

But there are concerns too – we’re seeing young people become more worried about their data and control of personal information. This was evidenced in the recent Voxburner YouthTech report and again here respondents can see that IoT potentially means more of their life is exposed digitally. Some believe this generation is dangerously relaxed about online privacy; in fact, 87% are concerned about data security and a cautious 36% are not convinced that the perceived benefits of IoT are worth the perceived risks.

In which areas do you think the ‘Internet of Things’ could have the best impact for you?

Shopping - helping me research products and save money 60%

In the home - for controlling things while on the move 55%

For personal improvement - like tracking fitness or better productivity 55%

Social - helping me stay better connected and closer to friends and family 46%

Security - protecting my home, belongings or safety 45%

Outside interacting with environment - like knowing how busy a cafe is in advance 44%

For other uses in society across the world, like helping elderly people remember their medicines or farmers track sick cattle 31%

Enhancing everyday experiences, like driving or walking 25%