The Term 'Internet of Things' Unfamiliar to 3 Out of 4 Americans

A survey done by SOASTA found that once respondents were told what the IoT entails, most were excited about the possibilities.

cloud internet of things

Three out of four Americans have no idea what the Internet of things is, but they get pretty excited about the idea when told what it entails, according to a recent survey.

Cars and smart home appliances are the most highly anticipated applications of Internet-enabled consumer technologies, and about 77 percent of those surveyed, once the Internet of things (IoT) is explained, believe it will benefit essentially any kind of activity, according to the study by SOASTA, which makes cloud testing solutions for Websites and mobile apps.

"Most Americans may be unfamiliar with the term 'Internet of things,' but they're excited by the promise of the technology," SOASTA CEO Tom Lounibos said in a statement. "We're already seeing that potential being realized by consumer technology companies with the advent of the smart home and the variety of connected fitness devices on the market today."

Consumers aren't the only ones getting excited about the IoT. The concept covers a wide range of increasingly intelligent devices and systems—from smartphones and tablets to home appliances, surveillance cameras, cars and manufacturing systems—being connected and exchanging massive amounts of data that can be used by organizations to become more efficient and make faster business decisions and by consumers to improve their lives.

Tech vendors are growing their IoT capabilities, and some—including Intel and Cisco Systems—have created businesses focused on the trend.

IDC analysts say the market for IoT solutions will grow from $1.9 trillion in 2013 to $7.1 trillion in 2020.

SOASTA's survey—conducted by Harris Poll among 2,051 U.S. adults—showed that while most Americans may not be familiar with the IoT (6 percent said they are very familiar with it), they quickly get what it could mean for them, with 67 saying they are excited about the possibilities in consumer technology.

Cars, at 39 percent, represented the most highly anticipated consumer application, followed by smart home appliances (34 percent), heart monitors (23 percent), pet monitors (like GPS trackers) and fitness devices (both 22 percent), child monitors (20 percent) and toys (19 percent).

Among the most well-known IoT devices is Google Glass, but only 15 percent of respondents said they were really excited about connected glass. That was just below drones, at 18 percent.

Forty-seven percent of respondents said the IoT will help them stay healthy, and 46 percent said it would help them save energy in such ways as helping them reduce their carbon footprint. Thirty-one percent said it would help them when they work out, another 29 percent said IoT technology would help with work and 28 percent said it would help them in school.

To get a gauge on what Americans are thinking about the future, SOASTA asked those surveyed which science fiction story most accurately reflects the coming wave of technology—not only the IoT, but also cloud computing. "Star Trek" was the top choice, at 12 percent, followed by "The Jetsons," at 9 percent; "Minority Report," "1984," "Her" and "Wall-E," at 5 percent; and "Total Recall" at 4 percent.