Internet connected living room devices
A growing range of consumer devices used in the home have internet connectivity, including smart TVs, set-top boxes and games consoles. This connectivity provides consumers with access to a wide range of entertainment and communications services. It also increases the ability of device and service providers to gather information on consumers and their behaviour, and offer new types of services such as targeted advertising and content recommendations.
As the popularity of internet connected devices and the collection of consumer data becomes more widespread, it is conceivable that consumer issues linked to maintaining end users privacy will become increasingly important. This includes the potential risk that the security of data collected from connected devices might become compromised. There have been some recent examples of this, including the security of Sony’s PlayStation network being compromised.
These potential risks raise important questions for consumers and industry:
- From a consumer perspective, how to best ensure that consumers understand the terms and conditions associated with the collection and use of data gathered by connected devices;
- From an industry perspective, what steps manufacturers of connected living room equipment and service providers can take to maintain the security and hence privacy of the data collected by connected devices.
Given these issues, Ofcom commissioned a study to better understand developments in connected living room devices from RAND Europe.
This study identified that the market for living room connected devices, while currently small, is growing and evolving rapidly.
Other concerns identified in the study, especially those relating to software upgrades and patches to help address performance or security vulnerabilities, are currently theoretical. Connected device manufacturers have confirmed that maintaining the security of their devices and the data they collect is a priority and they would implement software updates when necessary and appropriate.
Given the rapid growth and evolution of this market, Ofcom intends to continue to monitor developments to help ensure that consumers benefit from future developments in the connected living room.