The UAE has far higher levels of trust in Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, such as smart home devices and wearables, compared to Europe, according to a new study.

The research commissioned by global cybersecurity outfit Palo Alto Networks shows 71% of respondents in the UAE believe IoT technology is secure, compared to an EMEA average of just 38%. Of the European countries in the survey, Germany (53%), France (48%), and the UK (46%) had the highest levels of trust in IoT. The proportion of Europeans who do not trust IoT outweighs those who do, with 43% of European participants stating they believe IoT tech is ‘not secure’ or ‘not at all secure’. This is in stark contrast to the UAE, where just 25% of respondents believe IoT technology to be either ‘not secure’ or ‘not at all secure’.

In March, Dubai published its IoT Strategy including a bold vision to build the world’s most advanced IoT ecosystem in a bid to improve people’s lives. The strategy aims to protect Dubai’s digital wealth, encourage government departments to join the emirate’s smart transformation, and achieve the objectives of the Smart Dubai Plan 2021 to transition to a 100% paperless government.

The UAE population’s trust in IoT, and the government’s technological ambitions, also bodes well for economic growth and prosperity of the country, with IoT set to play an increasing role in raising productivity levels around the world. According to a recent report from GSMA Intelligence, the productivity benefits of IoT will be worth more than $370 billion per annum in 2025, representing 0.34% of global GDP, while IoT companies will generate over $1 trillion in revenues by the same year.

Haider Pasha, Regional Chief Security Officer (CSO), Emerging Markets, Palo Alto Networks, said: “The level of trust in IoT technology in the UAE appears to be far ahead of the EMEA average. This is very encouraging for the UAE, especially in light of the country’s commitment to harness the power of technologies including IoT and AI for economic growth and development. Continuing to work on maintaining this trust is vital to help this technology reach its full transformative potential,” Pasha added.

Other key findings from the online research include:

The study also revealed marked differences in perceptions about who should be trusted to look after an individual’s personal data, with a majority of respondents in the UAE (46%) placing responsibility on the government. This contrasted sharply with Europe, where only 26% of respondents said the government should be responsible for the security of personal data.

The UAE also differed from Europe in perceptions of personal responsibility for the security of personal data. While 45% of respondents in the UAE said that the individual should be responsible for securing their personal data, the figure was significantly higher in Europe, where 55% of respondents believe the individual should be chiefly responsible for the security of their personal data.