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Tech Companies Need to Build Trust to See Smart Devices Explode

Consumers want to ensure their personal safety is protected online.

Smart tech in the home is growing in popularity but in order for it to take off in a bigger way, the technology companies behind these products need to build trust. 

After all, in the current environment, it's hard for consumers to figure out what's true and what's fake. Even the simplest issues go unresolved. Eric Wagatha, head of Gfk Consumer Life North America at MRI-Simmons pointed to eggs as a glaring example during a CES panel focused on why building trust is important for the tech industry. He said he’s not sure whether or not eggs are good or bad for you depending on changing data. “It’s not just small issues,” said Wagatha. “We’re seeing conflicting narratives based on different interpretations of published facts.” 

It is in that environment consumers are making choices on the products and services they will consume. It's based on what they see on the Internet. Many don’t realize its a bot or deepfake disseminating the information. 

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Smart TVs lead the charge

Against that backdrop, it falls on the tech companies to build trust if they want to see market share for everything from smart TVs to fitness trackers grow.

According to MRI-Simmons as it stands 61% of Americans have some form of smart tech in their home. Of those people, 31% have three or more devices. Smart TVs are leading the charge, with penetration up 5% year-over-year. In second place is streaming TV devices, which is up 6% year-over-year. Digital speakers rounded out the top three. Only 4% of U.S. households have a VR headset although one in four is familiar with the technology. That said Karen Ramspacher, SVP, Innovation & Insights, MRI-Simmons during the CES discussion, presents a big opportunity. 

Tech companies have to make consumers feel safe

When it comes to getting more consumers to purchase smart tech, the product makers and services providers have to do a better job making them feel safe. MRI-Simmons found that 46% of Americans are always concerned about safety and security. That concern to protect their well being is starting to grow among millennials who are getting to the family stage of life.

But its also a concern of the youngest consumers who are tech-savvy. They know the power tech can provide but they are also aware of the dangers.  Most consumers are worried about their personal information falling in the wrongs hands and the plurality is now skeptical of the data companies are amassing. According to Wagatha, 58% of consumers say brands know too much about them. 

“Here's the deal. We need to turn these concerns, these fears actually on their heads and see these as opportunities to build that trust,” said Wagatha. “Consumers are opening the door. They understand the benefits of sharing information they want to be informed of what you are doing with and what's the benefit. “

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