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Canada Poised to Lead the Design and Adoption of the Next Generation of the Internet: Products and Services Related to the Internet of Things

Primus Survey: Consumers see IoT as a way to make life easier, safer, efficient and less expensive; one-in-four Canadians see themselves as early tech adopters

TORONTO - MAY 26, 2015 – A strong telecommunications infrastructure, ample bandwidth and top technology talent, combined with evidence that Canadians are ready to embrace new connected technology, have lead industry experts to predict that Canada has the potential to become a global leader in the design and adoption of products and services related to the Internet of Things (IoT).

Two key members of Canada’s growing IoT ecosystem, Primus Telecommunications Canada (Primus) and Ryerson University’s DMZ, have joined forces to help educate Canadian consumers on the many benefits of IoT. A comprehensive national online survey entitled Canadians & Their Connected Devices: How the Internet of Things is Changing our Lives conducted by Leger offers a vivid snapshot of Canadian consumer attitudes toward the rapid adoption of IoT.

IoT refers to the growing network of physical objects and the communication that occurs between these objects and other Internet-enabled devices. It extends Internet connectivity beyond desktop/laptop computers, smartphones and tablets to a range of devices and everyday things (such as thermostats, security cameras and wearable fitness devices) that use embedded technology to communicate and interact with the external environment via the Internet. According to the GSMA organization of mobile providers, there are more than 7.4 billion objects currently connected to the Internet - more than the total number of people in the world.

Canadians consider themselves early adopters of technology
Although the survey found that under half (42 per cent) of Canadians disagree Canada is ahead of the curve when it comes to technology, their attitudes towards emerging technology suggest a much higher level of sophistication. The majority (83 per cent) agree they are willing to try new technology to make their lives easier, 40 per cent consider themselves early adopters, and 68 per cent agree connected devices will save them time and make their lives easier.

Almost two-thirds want to be connected to the Internet 24/7; three-quarters own smart phones
Canadians’ affection for the Internet is evidenced by the fact that 76 per cent now possess a smart phone and 60 per cent say they like to be connected to the Internet at all times. With such strong technology usage and hunger to be constantly connected, it is not surprising that 45 per cent of Canadians have heard of ‘The Internet of Things.’

“Primus is proud to provide the connectivity Canadians will need to access the unprecedented wave of experiences and conveniences that the Internet of Things will bring to consumers and businesses,” explains Brad Fisher, Senior Vice President and Product Strategy Leader, Primus. “And what’s even more exciting is that these new technologies will help make Canadians’ lives easier, safer, more efficient and less expensive – beyond anything we can possibly imagine today.”

Canada poised to lead in IoT with top talent, like that found at the Ryerson University DMZ
A hub for innovation and commercialization, Ryerson University’s DMZ is one of Canada’s largest business incubators. Since opening in 2010, it has incubated and accelerated 190 startups which have collectively raised more than $80 million in funding and fostered more than 1,650 jobs. It also houses leading IoT experts, including Research and Innovation Director Dr. Hossein Rahnama who was recognized by the MIT Technology Review as one of the world’s top 35 innovators under the age of 35 in 2012.

“With a strong communications infrastructure, ample bandwidth and some of the top technology talent in the world, Canada has the potential to lead in the creation and adoption of products and services related to the Internet of Things,” states Dr. Rahnama. “To drive this wave of innovation—which many are calling the next generation of the Internet—Canada needs to focus on building an ecosystem that nurtures and supports cutting-edge startups introducing new ideas and technology.”

Canadians ready to rapidly embrace IoT to manage home, health, fitness and reduce stress
In the next two years, almost half (44 per cent) of Canadians say they are somewhat or very likely to adopt connected devices, and within five years interest jumps to almost two-thirds (63 per cent). The top five reasons that Canadians are interested in connected devices include: managing their home more effectively (59 per cent), improving their health (58 per cent), improving their fitness levels (43 per cent), improving their stress levels (36 per cent), and addressing their spouse’s health (34 per cent).

Among Canadians who already own connected devices, 14 per cent possess a connected home entertainment device, 9 per cent have a connected fitness device, and 7 per cent have installed a connected smoke or carbon monoxide detector.

Women and men differ on benefits they expect from connected devices
Looking at the gender divide, among those likely to incorporate connected devices into their lives women are much more likely than men to want connected devices to help improve their fitness levels (49 per cent vs. 38 per cent), and to manage stress (42 per cent vs. 31 per cent). In contrast, men were far more interested than women in using connected devices improve their driving (32 per cent vs. 20 per cent). Overall, Canadians’ optimism about connected devices is fuelled by the confidence that these devices will make their lives easier (56 per cent).

Demand for IoT driven by desire to make life easier, safer, more efficient and less expensive
The prevalence of IoT in Canadian households seems likely to skyrocket as well, since just over three-quarters (76 per cent) of survey respondents anticipate at least one benefit from adding connected devices to their lives. The top benefits consumers expect include: making their lives easier (34 per cent), expecting they will feel safer (33 per cent), hoping to run their house more efficiently (31 percent), and saving time (28 per cent). Another 27 per cent are hoping to save money.

Privacy and security tops Canadian concerns for connected devices
But Canadians acknowledged some downside to their desire for connected lives. When asked about their single largest concern regarding new connected technologies, privacy and security issues weigh on their minds. Among survey respondents, 39 per cent are most concerned about their privacy and 17 per cent are most worried about security. Another 13 per cent are most concerned about device reliability. On the flip side, 10 per cent worry most that the information will be used against them and 6 per cent most fear losing control.

“Primus is a strong advocate and champion of the startups and small businesses that are fueling the development and growth of new technologies,” states Fisher. “We need to ensure these businesses get the support and access they need so that Canada can realize its full potential in driving the design and adoption of the Internet of Things.”

About the survey
The Canadians & Their Connected Devices Survey is a nationally representative online survey of Canadians conducted by Leger between May 5 and May 7 2015. A probability sample of the same size (n=1013) would yield a margin of error of +/-3.1%19 times out of 20.

About Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc.
Primus is the largest independent telecommunications service provider in Canada. Primus offers a wide selection of consumer and business telecommunications services available nationwide including Home Phone, Internet, Long Distance, VoIP, Enterprise IP Voice Solutions, Hosted Phone Systems (Hosted PBX), Dedicated Data Access and IP connectivity solutions. In the United States, Primus provides reliable and affordable digital home phone (VoIP) service under the Lingo brand. Primus was founded in 1997 and has over 600 employees located in offices across Canada including Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, London and Edmundston. For further information, visit primus.ca

About the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University
The DMZ is one of Canada’s largest business incubators and co-working spaces for entrepreneurs. The top-ranked university incubator in Canada and fifth in the world, the DMZ is a hub of innovation, collaboration and commercialization. Since opening in April 2010, the DMZ and Ryerson Futures Inc.—its affiliated accelerator program—have incubated and accelerated 180 startups which have collectively raised more than $70 million in funding and fostered more than 1,605 jobs. For more information about the DMZ, visit www.ryerson.ca/dmz.

For interview requests or further information please contact:
Sonia Prashar
Broad Reach Communications