Privacy fears slowing the rise of wearable technology

Businesses and app developers are being urged to educate consumers around wearable technology to help with uptake, as new research reveals that nearly half of Brits currently feel that it poses a threat to their privacy.

With the use of wearable technology set to explode in popularity over the coming years, the study by Apadmi was conducted to form part of its new report to give businesses and app developers more insight into the public’s view of wearable technology.

wearable tech

It found that 42% of people in the UK thought that wearable technology posed a risk to their privacy, with only 18% of respondents saying they didn’t feel it was a danger. However, interestingly the remaining 40% did not know either way.

Moreover, when asked how they would feel if their employer required them to use wearable technology as part of their role, 25% said they would consider changing jobs, 24% replied they would be happy to do this, while the remaining 51% were unsure.

Last year, another major survey of 4,000 adults in the UK and US by cloud computing company Rackspace Hosting found that 51% of people also identified privacy as a barrier to adoption of wearable technology. Yet, an overwhelming 82% of US users and 71% of UK users then went on to say that these devices have enhanced their lives.

Nick Black, co-founder and director at Apadmi, said, “It’s obvious from our investigations that privacy is a very real issue for the wearable technology industry, although it’s by no means insurmountable.”

“A lot of commentators are flagging up the potential privacy implications of devices that can record and relay so much data about an individual. And consumers appear to be taking note, with quite a few admitting that these concerns weigh on their mind when considering whether or not to buy wearable technology.”

“However, we also need to draw attention to the fact that a huge number of people still don’t have a firm grasp of how wearable technology might impact upon privacy in the first place, as demonstrated by the significant number of ‘don’t know’ respondents in the survey. People are naturally apprehensive about what they don’t understand. But it’s interesting that those who go on to purchase a device are overwhelmingly happy with their decision and the benefits it has brought to their lives.”

“With this in mind, wearable tech businesses and app developers need to educate prospective customers around privacy concerns to alleviate these fears. Many people still don’t fully understand the privacy issues around wearable technology or appreciate its potential to dramatically improve lives in areas such as health and social care.”

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