By Davide Villa
Smart devices are increasingly a part of everyday life both inside and outside of the home and this only accelerated further in 2020. Outside of the home, security cameras and other smart devices are being used to support public health and safety during the pandemic. Capabilities such as thermal imaging technology to detect fever, or cameras to understand footfall and traffic in specific city areas for crowd management, are examples of ways this technology can be leveraged. Demand may well have increased, but data storage and security continues to be an important consideration.
Positive news for smart technology providers is that interest in smart technology innovations, whether in the home or the city, is high. In a recent Western Digital report exploring consumer views on smart technology and data storage, a substantial 90 per cent of those surveyed across Europe, Middle East, Africa and India (EMEA) said that they are looking forward to at least one forthcoming form of smart technology. Delving deeper into that data, the smart innovations for the home that drew the most excitement in EMEA include: home security cameras (36 per cent), entertainment streaming services (35 per cent) and lighting/heating controls (35 per cent). From a smart city infrastructure perspective, interest is centred around transport with electric vehicle charging points at (39 per cent), driverless vehicles (38 per cent) and security surveillance cameras (37 per cent).
While awareness of these technologies is high, the research found that uptake remains low. When it comes to usage, only 35 per cent had used smart home technology and 30 per cent had come into contact with smart city technology across Europe and the Middle East. According to the research, that barrier to adoption appears to be based on a lack of understanding of how consumers’ data is captured, stored and used. Just 19 per cent of UK consumers believed they knew more about personal data capture than others, highlighting a general lack of awareness and the need for reassurance and clarity from smart technology vendors on this issue.
Security cameras and the benefit perception
2020 has shone a definitive spotlight on the benefits that security cameras can offer the world, especially in times of crisis. And consumers are acknowledging these key benefits, with more than half (52 per cent) seeing security cameras as keeping them safe and reducing crime (40 per cent). This is similar to smart highway cameras, with keeping them safe (46 per cent) and reducing crime (28 per cent) highlighted as the key benefits.
Security cameras are often always on and with that comes some unique storage challenges. The technology needs to be able to keep up, delivering reliable high-performance data transfer and data-writing speeds to ensure high-quality video is captured and analysed. There are a few security-based concepts that can be deployed to help lessen the knowledge gap and build trust.
However, when it comes to smart technology overall, consumers are still cautious and have concerns about whether their data is at risk. The Western Digital research revealed that the top priorities for EMEA consumers for managing and storing smart technology data are that it be secure against breaches (73 per cent) and that it be stored on drives that are safe and reliable (70 per cent). Effective and compliant data storage plays a major role in making these benefits a reality for consumers as well as building trust.
The future of smart technology and security
The next few years should be an exciting time for smart technology providers. The market is growing, and consumers are excited for what’s coming next, but a lack of knowledge around smart technology infrastructure threatens this progress and the gains that will go with it.
The implementation of the right storage infrastructure and technology and subsequent education on them will help consumers to feel that their information is more secure and remove doubt around these technologies, especially security cameras.
Villa is the Business Development Director for Europe, Middle East, Africa and India (EMEAI) at Western Digital Corporation