Cisco Survey Reveals: As Consumers Move Towards a “Smarter” Digital Life, Reliability, Security, and Sustainability Emerge as Critical Needs

News summary:

  • Consumer expectations will reshape the needs and economy of the Internet. Today, over 60% of consumers in EMEA1 expect to connect cars, appliances, power and water to the internet, and broadband networks need to be scaled to support this.
  • Increased reliance on broadband for day-to-day tasks, however, means that while speed is still the top priority for updates (40% of respondents), security is now a close second (38% of respondents).
  • Sustainability is now a key factor in consumer choice, with 77% of respondents willing to pay more for broadband with a lower carbon footprint.

LONDON, July 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Cisco Broadband Survey1, released today, finds that evolving consumer expectations will reshape the needs and economy of the Internet. People in EMEA (Europe, Middle East AND South Africa) are rethinking what they rely on the Internet for, balancing the classic needs for speed and reliability, with growing demands for growing eco-awareness, secure cloud infrastructure, and the consumerization of technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) that connect our devices, from smart cars to household appliances. This led 79% of survey participants to classify broadband as a critical national infrastructure, increasing the need for the technology industry to respond to these demands and accelerate the journey towards a more sustainable and secure internet for the future.

Cisco sustainability
Cisco sustainability

Consumers want to invest in sustainable broadband
The carbon cost of broadband connectivity is a top priority for consumers. Cisco’s Broadband Survey has revealed that 65% of consumers in EMEA are now concerned about the carbon footprint of their broadband, with 18-24 year olds the most concerned (73%). Additionally, 77% said they would be willing to pay more for sustainable broadband, with around a quarter willing to pay more than a 20% premium. This supports a broader market trend, shown in a 2019 survey by Nielsen and a 2022 survey by Globescan, revealing widespread consumer awareness of the environmental impact of the products they use and a call for companies to step up and mitigate negative impacts on the planet.

Security is a priority as more move online
In parallel with growing environmental concerns, the emergence of hybrid working and the ever-increasing confusion between employees’ professional and personal lives brings new risks to the home. While most consumers use broadband for tasks like banking and work, passwords are still the most popular way (53%) of respondents to secure home networks and devices; only a quarter have their router’s firewall turned on. This is despite previous research from Cisco revealing that 57% of consumers are concerned about cybercriminals hacking into their devices. While speed is still the top priority among those planning to upgrade their broadband in the coming year (chosen by 40%), security is now in second place, ranked by 38% of consumers as a top priority when choosing their broadband package.

Connect to increase as consumers Expand their digital lives
As the number of online IoT devices grows from billions to trillions, so does the demand for bandwidth and processing power to analyze all the data produced. According to the Cisco Broadband Survey, there is no sign of this slowing down. Instead, consumers are embracing the shift to a “smarter” digital life. The majority already have, or plan to have, cars (67%), lights (74%), household appliances (71%), energy (76%) and water (64%) connected. In fact, more than half of consumers surveyed (54%) said they feel positive about new ways to connect their homes and lives to the internet. This is despite a majority (63%) saying the cost-of-living crisis has changed the way they spend money on digital services: 21% reported switching to a low-cost broadband package and 16% canceled streaming services.

“The carbon footprint of the information and communications technology sector is estimated to account for approximately 2.1-3.9 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, with more than half of this coming from networks and data centers. Cisco is on a mission to transform the Internet economy and sustainability for the future.That means designing products with energy efficiency and safety in mind, adopting circular economy principles in product development and business operations, and adopting a intelligent and sustainable approach to lifecycle management. In addition to the ever-changing and expanding cybersecurity threat landscape, we are faced with the growing threat of climate change. Prioritizing sustainability and security in broadband infrastructure is therefore critical to enabling a lasting and resilient digital transformation,” he said Gordon ThompsonService Provider Vice President – EMEA, Cisco.

“The old technology adage of ‘faster, cheaper, better’ has long gone out of fashion. Now it’s about simplifying solutions and building networks that can fuel global connectivity and economic growth, facilitating and securing digitization and the automation of daily tasks, all without losing sight of our impact on the future”, He continued.

1 About Cisco broadband survey
The Cisco Broadband Survey is based on a survey of 21,629 workers in 12 countries: UK, Germany, Italy, France, Swiss, Poland, Spain, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, SwedenUnited Arab Emirates e Netherlands. It was completed in January and February 2023. The sample included respondents based in every region of each country, who work full-time remotely; full time in an office; hybrid, between home and office; or on the front line. The survey was conducted by independent research consultancy Censuswide, which adheres to and employs members of the Market Research Society, which is based on ESOMAR principles.

About Cisco
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