From eco-consciousness to security and connectivity, consumers demand a sustainable and secure online experience.
The Cisco Broadband Survey, released today, highlights the transformative impact of evolving consumer expectations on the internet and its future. Across Europe, the Middle East, and South Africa (EMEA), individuals are reevaluating their reliance on the internet, striking a balance between traditional requirements like speed and reliability and the growing need for eco-consciousness, secure cloud infrastructure, and the expanding consumerization of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), connecting devices from smart cars to home appliances.
These changing dynamics have led to an overwhelming 79% of survey participants recognizing broadband as critical national infrastructure, urging the technology industry to respond to these demands and expedite the journey towards a sustainable and secure internet for the future.
Investing in Sustainable Broadband Gains Traction among Consumers
A significant concern for consumers is the carbon footprint associated with broadband connectivity. The Cisco Broadband Survey discovered that 65% of consumers in EMEA are now worried about the environmental impact of their broadband, with young people aged 18-24 expressing the highest level of concern at 73%.
Furthermore, 77% of respondents indicated their willingness to pay more for sustainable broadband, with approximately one-quarter ready to pay a premium of over 20%. This trend aligns with previous market studies conducted by Nielsen in 2019 and Globescan in 2022, demonstrating a widespread consumer awareness of environmental impacts and a growing demand for companies to adopt sustainable practices.
Security Takes Center Stage as Online Presence Expands
Simultaneously, with increasing environmental concerns, the rise of hybrid work and the blending of personal and professional lives has introduced new risks into homes. Despite using broadband for crucial tasks such as banking and work, survey respondents still heavily rely on passwords (53%) as the primary method to protect home networks and devices, while only a quarter have activated their router’s firewall.
Cisco’s previous research revealed that 57% of consumers worry about cybercriminals hacking their devices. While speed remains a priority for those planning to upgrade their broadband in the next year (40%), security has emerged as a close second, ranking as a top priority for 38% of consumers when selecting their broadband package.
Consumers Embrace Connectivity as Digital Lifestyles Expand
The growing number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, projected to reach trillions, drives the demand for increased bandwidth and processing power to manage the vast amounts of data generated. The Cisco Broadband Survey indicates that consumers are wholeheartedly embracing this shift towards a “smarter” digital life.
A majority of respondents either already have or expect to have their cars (67%), lights (74%), appliances (71%), energy (76%), and water (64%) connected to the internet. Remarkably, over half of the surveyed consumers (54%) expressed enthusiasm for new ways to connect their homes and lives online. However, the survey also noted that 63% of consumers claimed the cost-of-living crisis has influenced their spending on digital services, with 21% opting for lower-cost broadband packages and 16% cancelling streaming services.
Cisco’s Commitment to Sustainability and Security
“The carbon footprint of the information and communications technology sector is estimated to account for around 2.1 – 3.9% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and more than half of that comes from networks and data centers. Cisco is on a mission to transform the economics and sustainability of the Internet for the Future. That means designing products with energy efficiency and security in mind, adopting circular economy principles in product development and business operations, and taking a smart and sustainable approach to lifecycle management,” explained Gordon Thomson, Vice President Service Provider – EMEA, Cisco.
He emphasized the importance of prioritizing sustainability and security in broadband infrastructure to enable a resilient digital transformation while simultaneously addressing the evolving cybersecurity landscape and the escalating threat of climate change.
Looking Ahead: The Future of Internet Technology
The technology landscape has moved beyond the outdated notion of “faster, cheaper, better.” Instead, the focus now lies in simplifying solutions and constructing networks capable of supporting global connectivity and economic growth. This involves facilitating and safeguarding the digitalization and automation of daily activities without losing sight of our impact on the future, as stated by Thomson. The findings of the Cisco Broadband Survey shed light on the evolving demands of consumers and underline the urgency for the industry to adapt, embracing sustainability and security in order to create a resilient and future-ready internet ecosystem.
Overall, the survey highlights the critical need to address consumer expectations for a more sustainable and secure internet, reflecting the shifting dynamics of the digital era.