Are you someone who welcomes how smart technology and Internet of Things (IoT) is making our lives easier? Or do you perhaps feel like it’s all getting a little ‘too smart’ for your liking? With the recent privacy flags raised, some voices argue that the days are numbered for the smart technology movement. But does it in fact mean that future IoT development projects simply need to become more considerate of human integrity?

The world is getting smarter

Smart technology is everywhere. What we considered to be highly advanced, cutting edge technology only a few years ago is now something many of us use in our everyday lives without raising an eyebrow. We are surrounded by smart features when we shop, drive, work, and relax at home.

Most of us are aware that some of the smart technology benefits also come with a side order of compromise. We occasionally compromise on our privacy in order to gain the benefits from the technology. The question is – does the smart technology industry expect users to compromise too much?

Lack of trust vs Perceived Value

Cisco published a survey last year, where they found that only 9% of respondents had high levels of trust in their IoT devices. But even with this lack of trust, half of the respondents still claimed that IoT does make their lives more convenient and efficient – indicating that they will continue to use the technology because it adds value to their lives.

Whenever there is a discussion around the pros and cons of smart technology and the growth of IoT, the issues of privacy and security are often brought up. Still, after seeing such a huge upturn in IoT development and usage over the last decade, Cisco suggests that we may now be too invested in it to turn back. Consumers are finding it difficult to ‘disconnect’, and businesses are seeing too much of an efficiency improvement to bypass IoT.

The unintended use of data

In the wake of the recent Cambridge Analytica revelations, putting Facebook under severe scrutiny, the general public is now waking up to the reality of how personal data can be stored and used for unintended purposes. This of course also raises questions around how other technology giants like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are using the data from their popular virtual assistant systems for example.

As consumers, we are all becoming increasingly suspicious of targeted advertising and smart product placements – but there is still the element of convenience which can override these concerns. In other words, as long as it serves our own purposes, many of us are fine with sharing some of our user data with retailers and service providers.

Finding the balance

Many analysts agree that the way forward is less about dismantling the smart technology landscape and more about adjusting the regulatory framework for how smart devices and IoT technology manage data.

We are all, as users, becoming more informed. We will expect a greater deal of transparency going forward, and this is something which will need to be built into the very fundaments of the smart technology infrastructure. We may still be expected to share the same amount of user data, but we should be made aware of what that data looks like and who has access to it.

Keeping the data safe

Then, of course, there is the small matter of data security. We all know that hackers and data thieves are getting smarter too. However, keeping user data safe will need to become an incredibly high priority for technology providers if the general public is to regain trust in them. Users must feel confident that their data is respected and kept as safe as possible, and businesses need to trust their data processing partners to maintain the same high security standards as their own.

The future of smart technology

Smart technology as we know it needs to change, and the industry now has an excellent opportunity to work with regulators to create a more ‘human’ approach to the future of smart tech development. The rising concerns around data privacy and security will become strong industry drivers and help solution providers to deliver safer, more compliant processes on all levels.