Americans see a connected future

18 September 2014

SANTA CLARA, CA: The great majority of US consumers believe that new technology and mobile connectivity will transform their domestic and working lives by 2025, but they're concerned about the security implications, a new survey has found.

The Safeguarding the Future of Digital America in 2025 report was released by McAfee, the computer security firm, and based its findings on responses from more than 1,500 US adults aged 21 to 65.

Within just 11 years, more than three-quarters (77%) of Americans expect smart watches will be the most common device while 70% believe wearable devices will be used, with the added ability to send health updates directly to a doctor.

A similar proportion (72%) think connected kitchen appliances will be an everyday household item and 60% anticipate their refrigerator will add food automatically to a running grocery list when a product runs low.

A significant majority (84%) expect their home security systems to be connected to their mobile device and more than half anticipate their home will have the facility to speak or read to them.

American consumers also expect major changes in the workplace in just over a decade, and the report warned these developments could affect cyber-security.

About a third (29%) of respondents expect they will be working from a home office, 60% think artificial intelligence and robotics will assist them in their jobs, while 69% expect they will be able to access work data via facial or voice recognition.

"It is vital that Americans recognise that the world of work will be dramatically different within a decade, in changing workplaces, the role of robots, and the importance of online reputation," said Gary Davis, McAfee's head of consumer security.

"We will all need to be very careful to ensure that our online activities boost rather than detract from our professional reputations," he added.

Reinforcing this view, the survey also found that 68% of US consumers are worried about the state cybersecurity will be in by 2025 and 64% are particularly concerned about identify theft, fraud and financial theft.

More than three-quarters (77%) fear their families could fall victim to hackers while 46% believe families will be affected by cyberbullies.

"As concerns about security rise, we will likely shift in the ways in which we provide authentication," noted Ross Dawson, a leading futurist, who said this may include voice, eye, or facial recognition.

The McAfee survey was published a week after research firm Gartner forecast that a typical family home could contain several hundred smart devices by 2022.

Data sourced from McAfee, Gartner; additional content by Warc staff