A Smart and Sustainable Vigilance: Cisco Assesses Consumers' Digital Shifts as Reliability, Security and Sustainability Needs Rise


For many consumers, aspects of our day-to-days become pseudo-transactional; as they progressively introduce more digitalized goods and services into their lives, it becomes almost akin to adding extra items to their carts, in a matter of speaking. Consumers do this to make their experiences faster and more convenient. In this vein, studies show – to make a long story short – what they value most; speed and convenience, as we just mentioned, as well as personalized content and recommendations, privacy and data security (especially at a time where cybersecurity Is such a need for everyone), and a real sense of social connection. Digital experiences can feel isolating, so platforms and providers that can foster real connections for a leg up in what is an oft-oversaturated part of our normalized routines.

Let’s tack on two additional consumer priorities to this list:

Sustainability and overall reliability.

Covering these two in particular is the latest Cisco Broadband Survey; it found that the modern consumer is rethinking what must be relied upon, in terms of balancing classic demands for tech-age reliability. Moreover, consumers eco-conscious concerns are also intensifying. The push for “smart” consumerization (i.e. our devices’ connectivity in the home, on the road, at work, etc.) has, according to Cisco, led to a crucial 79% of survey participants ranking sustainable broadband as critical national infrastructure as a top need, escalating the technologies industry to accelerate our collective journey towards a more hassle-free, secure, and sustainable way of living as an increasingly uncertain future rears forth.

For the purpose of easier topics digestion, here are the top takeaways and figures from this most recent Cisco Broadband Survey:

Sustainable Broadband Investments:

  • 65% of consumers in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and South Africa) are growing more concerned about the carbon footprint of their broadband. (i.e. ages 18-24 making up 73% of this grouping)
  • 77% of survey participants said they would be willing to pay more for sustainable broadband, with around a quarter of that prepared, per Cisco, “to pay a price premium of more than 20%.” This would seem to support a wider market trend, shown in both a 2019 Nielsen survey as well as a 2022 Globescan survey that each revealed widespread consumer awareness and the rising demand for companies to “step up and mitigate negative impacts on the planet.”

Online Security, Reprioritized

  • In parallel to expanding environmental concerns, the largely pandemic-wrought prevalence of hybrid and remote work has enlarged the blur – for many workers – between the professional and the personal, resulting in new risks being ferried into the home. Per Cisco: “Despite most consumers using their broadband for tasks like banking and work, passwords are still the most popular way that the survey’s respondents protect home networks and devices; only a quarter have switched to their router’s firewall.” Even at about 53%, this figure doesn’t meet the mark for consumer safety, at large; i.e. cybercriminals will find their ways in. That said, Cisco reports that 40% plan to upgrade their broadband in 2024.

The Sustainability Connection

  • As IoT device numbers go from billions to trillions – an actual reality for us, given the popularity of smart-compatible technologies – consumers “show no sign of slowing down,” according to Cisco. That’s a lot of data we’re producing. Thus, in the era of commonplace smart lights, smart appliances and smart cars, and (on the topic of sustainability) smart water and smart energy capabilities, Gordon Thomson, Vice President Service Provider – EMEA said, “The carbon footprint of our technology sectors is estimated to account for around 2.1% - 3.9% of global greenhouse gas emissions; more than half of that comes from networks and data centers.”
  • So, Cisco is on a path to address much of this, in terms of the economics but also the sustainability of the Internet of Things, which equates to “the Internet of the Future,” Thomson added. Cisco aims to design products with better efficiencies when it comes to energy and security. The cybersecurity threat landscape is not about to stop widening, nor are the economic worries, nor our planet (which is currently on the brink of crisis, to put it generously).

“The old adage of ‘faster, cheaper, better’ still has a fine ring to it, but in truth it hasn’t been practically relevant for a long time,” Thomson concluded. “We need to not only simplify solutions, but build new ones that fuel global connectivity, economic growth, and the facilitation of protecting our everyday lives on this earth. We cannot lose sight of the impact on the future.”

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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