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Brands must consider psychological impact of internet of things or risk alienating consumers, says IAB psychologist

Brands must be attune to the psychological impact that information overload will have on consumers in an Internet of things landscape, or risk alienating their customers, according to the IAB's resident psychologist Dr Simon Hampton.

Speaking at IAB Mobile Engage in London today (14 May), for which The Drum is a media partner, Dr Hampton stressed that certain elements of fundamental human psychology and the physical actions they trigger may clash with the connected future if brands are not savvy to it.

"The connected future in so far as it is harvesting information about us will be offensive to the individual - not because of the information gathered; people don't mind really being under surveillance. The trouble with information is when it starts to reflect back to us what we don't want to hear," he said.

Wearable devices and connected items such as smart fridges, are geared around providing fast, speedy information based on things such as the individual owner's health such as heart rate, reminding you how much to exercise, and also diet.

"I call this 'mirror mirror on the fridge' - when the fridge starts to tell us what we don't want to hear, we won't like it. People don't want to be reminded that for example, they aren't eating five [fruit and veg] a day. Once the connected future starts reflecting back to us what we don't want to know we will turn it off," he explained.

He stressed that the reason people don't want to hear things that will make them feel guilty due to the fundamental self esteem issues all humans face, and that anything that "breaks the illusion" of all being well, will lead to people becoming fatigued with smart devices, and will simply tune out.

Today is the last ever IAB UK Mobile Engage, in recognition of mobile's increasing ubiquity, with plans to evolve its conference to new formats next year such as the Leadership Summit.

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