Consumers apparently are asking for IoT, even though they may not know it

I received the findings of a new survey this week that contained in its preamble the claim that "consumers are demanding that their insurers use the Internet of Things to provide a better service".

The average consumer in the developed world is undoubtedly far more tech-savvy these days, in part owing to the consumerisation and democratisation of technology. I must confess, however, that I find it hard to imagine today's average person calling up their car or home insurer and demanding the low-down on their IoT service range.

On the other hand, today's consumers are, of course, very knowledgeable about what apps are and what they can do. Anyone with a smartphone or a tablet will be using apps whether they like it or not. Users are also becoming more aware of the fact that cars now come with in-built services provided by wireless technologies such as 4G. Some may also have experience of smart meters and other appliances that are connected remotely to a service provider.

Such experiences also now appear to be changing user expectations about how they should be served by different vertical sectors, and how the use of new communications tools could help reduce household costs, for example.

For example, according to the survey of 2,005 adults in the UK, conducted by TNS on behalf of GMC software, 19 per cent of consumers say insurers should use mobile apps to communicate with them, while only 5 per cent of consumers' insurers provide such a service.

Furthermore, the survey noted that 56 per cent of current insurance customers would like their insurer to use technology such as health monitors or connected cars to provide a more accurate premium. They would even be prepared to pay a little more initially in order to lower premiums over time.

It is through services such as these that consumers are more likely to become aware of what has been dubbed the "Internet of Things". Amid all the talk of connecting billions of devices, and the technology and security challenges that come with it, it's often helpful to come back to basics and remember what the IoT could mean to the average consumer on a practical level in their daily lives.--Anne

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