Consumerisation of IT driving IoT adoption in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Linksys survey

Linksys, announced that there is rapid adoption of IoT in the Middle East with a growing number of people investing in smart devices for their home, according to latest study by Linksys on consumer Wi-Fi usage trends, ahead of GITEX Technology Week.

The possibilities of IoT in the home are endless, from smart lighting and thermostats to smart fridges to machine learning devices. Linksys’ study shows there is growing use of voice assistants and TV signals that are primarily Internet based.

Smart TVs

According to the Linksys study, 85.4% of respondents from the Middle East own at least one smart TV, out of which 27.9% respondents own multiple smart TVs. UAE ranks above Saudi Arabia in the adoption of smart TVs, with 86.6% and 84.2% respondents respectively.

Watching TV through the Internet is very popular in the Middle East, with Internet-based entertainment being the primary source of TV for 22.3% of respondents. This is widely seen in the UAE, among 26.8% of respondents, and 17.8% seen in Saudi Arabia.

Subscribing to TV services is still big in the Middle East and the study highlights about 25.5% of Middle East respondents using their smart TVs for subscription-based TV services. Of this figure, 52.1% use it to download TV series and movies, and 31.4% use it to live-stream sport events.

Voice Assistants

The use of chatbots and virtual assistants, commonly called voice assistants, is rapidly increasing. The use of voice assistants such as Amazon Echo, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home is on the rise, with 35.7% ownership amongst respondents.

Other smart devices that have reached the 40% adoption barrier include connected security cameras and smart lighting, with 39.3% and 39.6% of Middle East respondents owning such devices respectively. While the use of smart doorbells is very popular – they are owned by almost half of the Middle East respondents 46.5% –thermostats by Nest and Netatmo lag behind, with only 24.6% of respondents owning such devices.

Linksys’ study forecasts that 58.5% of respondents who do not own any smart home devices are keen to adopt IoT in their homes, with UAE at 55% and Saudi Arabia at 62%. Adoption of smart lighting was higher, at 58%, and 52% of respondents are considering investing in this by 2020. The Middle East will see a steady adoption of voice assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, with 28.5% of respondents considering such a purchase by 2019.

Numbers by country


  • Most likely 24% of all to be classified as smart home adopters
  • Most likely of all to own a smart or connected TV 87%, and smart plugs 43%
  • Most likely of all to consider purchasing a smart or connected TV 88%, and smart plugs 64%

Saudi Arabia

  • Most likely 38% of all to be classified as extreme smart home adopters
  • Most likely of all to own smart doorbells 48%, smart lighting 42%, smart switches 41%, connected security cameras 40%, voice assistants 38%, and smart thermostats 27%
  • Most likely of all to consider purchasing smart lighting 68%, connected security cameras 67%, smart doorbells 63%, smart switches 63%, voice assistants 62%, and smart thermostats 47%

“The number of people using smart devices in the home is increasing rapidly, which means there is also a growing need to upgrade to bigger, faster home Wi-Fi systems,” says Amanulla Khan, Managing Director Linksys Middle East, Turkey and Africa. “People may not realise that even if they only stream Netflix on a smart TV, it affects the overall Wi-Fi experience for others in the household by using bandwith.”

Khan explains: “While we are now talking smart lighting and voice assistants, in the next couple of years we will move to even smarter connected devices in the home driven by Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. Solutions include Phyn, a smart water management system that protects your home from leaks by learning from your usage, and Whirlpool’s smart kitchen range, which automatically preheats the oven and cooks dishes based on recipes.

These innovations will accelerate the number of IoT devices in the home and also the need for up-to-speed Wi-Fi. Whoever wants a smart home needs to be smart and futureproof his or her home network too.”

Vanson Bourne conducted this research on behalf of Linksys part of Belkin International. The results are based on a web-based survey of 8,000 consumers. Respondents were interviewed in May and June 2018; they came from the UK 2,000, the Netherlands 2,000, Germany 2,000, France 1,000, the United Arab Emirates 500 and Kingdom Saudi Arabia 500.

In order to qualify for the survey, respondents needed to meet the following screening criteria:

  • They had to be between 18 and 64 years old
  • They had to have some form of decision-making responsibility in their household for purchasing new technology
  • They had to use either a Wi-Fi router or a Wi-Fi router or modem combo device at home