90 per cent of EMEA consumers excited for at least one form of smart technology


Western Digital has published a new report exploring consumer views on smart technology and data storage, which finds that Saudi consumers reported high use of smart home technology and contact with smart city technology. I thought you might be interested in the study, which indicates that familiarity of smart technology and its capabilities, either in the home or the city, is high but this is countered by the fact that general understanding of how the technology operates is low. If smart technology providers are to increase adoption rates and capitalise on consumer interest, the study shows that there is an opportunity to educate consumers on data storage and protection parameters. 

Further details and additional commentary on the research findings are included below:

The positive news for smart technology designers and manufacturers is that interest in smart technology innovations, whether in the home or the city, is high. A substantial 90 per cent of those surveyed across EMEA said that they are looking forward to at least one forthcoming form of smart technology. 

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). Whereas interest in smart city infrastructure is centred around electric vehicle charging points (39 per cent), driverless vehicles (38 per cent) and security surveillance cameras (37 per cent).

Consumers see the key benefits of security cameras as keeping them safe (52%) and reducing crime (40%). This is similar to smart highway cameras with keeping them safe (46%) and reducing crime (28%) highlighted as the key benefits. Effective and compliant data storage obviously plays a role in helping realise these benefits. 

Davide Villa, business development director for EMEAI at Western Digital, commented:

“One of the biggest storage challenges with security cameras is the fact that they’re always on. Storage technology therefore has 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.”

The research also found a clear gap between consumer awareness of, and appetite for, smart technology applications, as well as the level of adoption for these products. On average, 83 per cent of those surveyed across Europe and the Middle East were familiar with smart infrastructure technology for homes and 81 per cent were also aware of smart city technology. And yet, when it comes to usage, only 35 per cent had used smart home technology and 31 per cent had come into contact with smart city technology. 

In terms of geographical breakdown, Saudi consumers are positioned in the middle of the group surveyed for awareness of smart home (87 per cent) and smart city (85 per cent) technologies. Usage in the region is 35% for smart home and 38% for smart cities respectively. 

According to the research, that barrier to adoption would appear to be based on a lack of understanding of how consumers’ data is captured, stored and used. Just 37 per cent of Saudi 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. 

In addition, consumers also have concerns about whether their data is at risk, with the Western Digital research revealing that 7% of Saudi consumers have no trust in organisations to keep their data safe.

When asked about their priorities for managing and storing smart technology data, consumers in Saudi Arabia identified the following as being the most important: 

  • That the data is secure against breaches or hacks – 72 per cent
  • That the data is stored in compliance with data protection laws – 71 per cent
  • That the data is used in the right way by the business – 69 per cent 
  • That the data is stored on drives that are safe and reliable – 69 per cent 

Davide Villa added: 

“The next few years should be an exciting time for smart technology providers. The market is growing, 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.” 

“Local storage and encryption can play a key role in reducing the knowledge gap. Educating customers on solutions such as consumer storage devices will put them back in control of their data in smart technology in the home. In addition, the implementation of the right storage infrastructure and technology and subsequent education on this will help consumers to feel that their information is more secure and remove doubt around these new technologies. The appetite is clearly there.” 


Western Digital worked with London-based agency Loudhouse to conduct 6,084 online interviews with citizens in UK, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, UAE and Saudi Arabia to discover their level of understanding and opinions regarding the development of smart infrastructure in the home, and in towns and cities.

The full research report into smart infrastructure can be found here: https://link.westerndigital.com/content/dam/customer-portal/en_us/external/public/cps/p/report-smart-infrastructure.pdf

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