Nearly 50% Of Aussie Small Businesses Are Clueless About IoT

Nearly 50% Of Aussie Small Businesses Are Clueless About IoT

Barely half of Australian small businesses are familiar with the phrase ‘Internet of Things’ – with an embarrassingly large chunk thinking it’s some kind of email system. These are the findings of a recent international survey by AVG which found Aussie businesses to be among the least familiar with IoT concepts. But is this an indication of poor ICT knowledge or simply a cultural resistance to corporate wank-speak?

IoT picture from Shutterstock

Last month, AVG employed research group Vanson Bourne to interview 250 small businesses in Australia about the Internet of Things (IoT) as part of a wider international survey. Only 52 per cent understood what the phrase ‘Internet of Things’ meant, with 15 per cent incorrectly identifying it is a type of email system. This was nearly double the number of any other country in the study.

Australian businesses were also less likely to invest in IoT due to a fear of increased security risks and perceived complexity. Bizarrely, the Top Five IoT devices small business owners expected to own included monitors and coffee machines (refrigerators, printers and scanners were also on the list.)

The above findings paint a picture of a slightly backward nation that is reluctant to take up new technologies. On the other hand, perhaps we just have a lower tolerance for marketing buzzords, which ‘Internet of Things’ unquestionably is.

Tellingly, out of the respondents who believed IoT was a current reality, nearly 65 per cent said the concept was over hyped. This figure was significantly higher than the global average.

Individual responses to the survey were equally cynical, with some participants dismissing the Internet of Things as a “corporate cliché”, a senseless slogan or an unnecessary repacking of old concepts. Two respondents simply dismissed it as something for geeks.

We asked AVG security advisor Michael McKinnon whether Australia simply have a better BS detector when it comes to the new buzzword flavours.

“I’d say that’s probably spot on,” McKinnon admitted. “Australian businesses tend to be fairly savvy when it comes to this sort of thing. In fact, I was originally a little skeptical myself.

“I think that’s the real challenge here, because the Internet of Things is real. It might have an unfortunate name and people are grappling with their understanding of it but this evolution of technology is absolutely happening. Our job is to build that awareness around people’s understanding of what is meant by Internet of Things.”

So what is meant by the Internet of Things?

“It’s about connectivity,” McKinnon said. “We’ve reached a year in history where we’ve suddenly got these other devices that are plugged into the network. It’s about the data that’s coming out of these devices and how it all comes together.”


  • It’s pretty pointless rubbishing these people without stating what the allegedly correct answer is.

    I must admit that I didn’t know what “IoT” was. I’ve heard of “The Internet Of Things”, but I don’t really care whether or not my concept of it is “correct”.

    • IoT = connecting a bunch of things to a network without considering whether it is (a) useful or (b) safe

  • “So what is meant by the Internet of Things?”
    “It’s about things, and they’re plugged into a network and there’s data coming out of the things.”


  • The great thing about linking the office coffee machine to my ipad is that I’d be able to track non-members of the coffee club pinching coffee.

  • What a horrific article.

    Begin with a grand statement – “…Clueless about the Internet of Things”

    Then go on about how we didn’t recognise the phrase “Internet of Things”, and how we do generally understand the concept as an over-hyped marketing phrase.

    Then present no analysis as to whether or not we’re using or familiar with the IoT even if we don’t understand what the phrase means other than an anecdotal account of Australians being “fairly savvy” (which contradicts the article’s title of us being clueless)

    And finally, end up with a wishy-washy, broad definition of what it actually is. (Incidentally, I would use the phrases “connected/smart devices” or “M2M” rather than “Internet of Things” given that definition at the end)

    • The headline is a survey statistic, I pointed out that we might not actually be clueless in the very first paragraph. The fact the brand spokesperson gave a “wishy-washy” definition of IoT supports the idea that we just don’t like buzz words. Sorry for trying to make you read between the lines.

      • A whole page laughing at businesses who don’t know what is and think its a email system and then 3 lines explaining what it is which actually explained nothing.

        So should i put 95 Unleaded into my car or 98 Unleaded.
        You see i’ve got this car key and when i turn it in the ignition, the car starts.
        That didn’t help me at all.

        • It’s about combusion. We’ve reached a year in history where we’ve suddenly got these other fuels that are poured into fuel tanks. It’s about the energy that’s coming out of these fuels and how it all comes together.

        • You don’t know the difference between 95 and 98? AHAHAHAHAHA!

          It’s all right buddy, neither do I. I just make sure they work in my car and that’s enough for me

  • People don’t know what IoT is, and I can’t blame them. It’s a relatively new term. But if they want to get in on it, there are a lot of digital hubs on the horizon, and some are already out. The Ninja Sphere would be a good one. I have a Ninja Block, and controlling lights and heating is so easy, and with two minutes of work, I had an IP camera set up to watch my home from anywhere. The Ninja Sphere should make it even easier to get started with the IoT

    Give it some time and soon people will be running businesses via apps on their phone..

  • They are clueless because it isn’t important to them. It’s just a concept about connectivity. It doesn’t change anything, it hasn’t invented anything, so it’s mostly irrelevant.

  • I’m an IT professional and I don’t know or care what the Internet of Things is. It sounds like a crappy buzzword to me.

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