Three in four are concerned about hacks and data breaches through connected devices, Worldpay reports

Despite ranking as one of the most IoT-ready countries globally, the UK is behind the curve when it comes to consumers embracing connected devices, research by Worldpay has revealed.

According to the findings, a mere 23% of UK consumers feel comfortable with a smart device, such as a fridge or virtual assistant, ordering items on their behalf, and half (50%) say they cannot see the benefits of the convenience afforded by automated shopping. These figures expose Brits as laggards, not leaders, when it comes to IoT adoption, with three times as many consumers in Brazil and China ready to embrace connected devices in the home, compared to that of the UK.

Privacy emerged as the main barrier to adoption, with 78% of British consumers worried that businesses would share their personal data. A similar proportion (77%) showed concern about the prospect of devices being hacked by fraudsters.

Although the prospect of setting rules on spending limits, and what can and cannot be bought, goes some way to reassure consumers, UK businesses are facing an uphill battle, with a third (33%) of consumers claiming that nothing would make them feel comfortable with automated purchasing.

Nick Telford-Reed, director of technology innovation at Worldpay said: “Despite reservations, no matter if done by a human or machine, it is vital for consumers to remain in control when they’re delegating payment tasks. Our research has found that there should always be a conscious ‘act of consent’; be that via a device notification, button press or a pre-set rule like a spending limit, being agreed in advance.

“The beauty of technology advancements means that there are many opportunities for virtual assistants and connected devices to make consumers lives easier. If machines can offer consumers a ‘concierge’ style service that reduces day-to-day life admin and menial tasks then there is no reason why they won’t want to delegate some of their shopping responsibilities – after all, we would all appreciate an extra bit of time to ourselves. In the end, consumers need confidence that machines can be trusted to make the right decisions and keep their owners informed and in control.”

To help businesses overcome the perceived security barrier, Worldpay is trialing an open source software development kit (SDK) to facilitate payments in the IoT. Worldpay Within is an embeddable payments agent that allows smart devices to make and take payments as quickly and effectively as a physical shopping environment. With the number of connected devices estimated to reach 20 billion by the end of this year, it is increasingly important for these devices to communicate effectively and securely with each other, including making payments.

From 3-5 November, Worldpay will host its first ever hackathon in Bucharest, Romania, where attendees will be challenged to use Worldpay Within to develop innovative applications of IoT technology in payments. To register for the Worldpay Payments & IoT hackathon, visit the event website.