Accepting the Internet-of-Things in our homes: The role of user skills

by Pia de Boer and Alexander van Deursen

In a study we investigated whether skills associated with operating the Internet-of-Things (IoT) contribute to the acceptance and (intended) usage of IoT technology and to what extent these IoT skills are influenced by Internet skills. Extending the technology acceptance model (TAM), we conducted an online survey among 1356 respondents, a sample representative of the Dutch population. The results revealed that IoT skills directly contribute to IoT use and testify to the relevance of the TAM for predicting IoT acceptance and usage. However, people’s attitudes towards the IoT did not influence its acceptance, suggesting that users are not yet fully aware of how IoT use affects their privacy and quality of life in general. Developers of the IoT should provide guidance by clarifying what data are gathered, with whom the data are shared, and how to change settings related to data sharing. Furthermore, the results revealed that several Internet skills are an important precedent for IoT acceptance and usage. Mobile, information navigation, social, and creative Internet skills directly or indirectly contributed to the level of IoT skills. The main conclusion is that people’s assessments of their IoT skills and that pragmatic considerations are important for its acceptance and that being or becoming skilled in using the IoT requires a sufficient level of Internet skills. Despite the autonomous power of the IoT, these skills do not magically disappear.

The article is available here.