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​Internet of Things still confusing the most digital-savvy Australians

Despite being the latest buzzword on the digital frontier, nearly half of Australians are in the dark when it comes to understanding the Internet of Things, and a staggering 15 percent think it's the name of an email service.

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The Internet of Things is seeing everyday objects connected in new ways. LIFX

That's according to new research from AVG, showing that small business owners across Australia understand the importance of IoT, but don't necessarily understand the true meaning of the term.

In a modern digital economy where it's not just PCs that have an internet connection, IoT refers to "a network of connected devices that are able to communicate with one another" according to AVG -- computers, mobiles, tablets, printers, smart TVs and even that hyped appliance of the early millennium, the Internet Refrigerator.

Despite the ubiquity of smart sensors and connected devices (and the potential enticement these objects represent to hackers), the AVG research, released only last month, indicates that Australians' understanding has not caught up.

A survey of 250 small businesses across Australia found that 52 percent knew the meaning of IoT, but 26 percent had no idea what the term meant, and 15 percent thought it was a type of email service.

When it came to objects around a workplace that respondents believed to be Internet of Things devices, printers, scanners and monitors topped the list, with 61 percent listing refrigerators as IoT devices, and 52 per cent listing coffee machines.

And while there were concerns about the potential risks associated with the proliferation of internet-connected devices, the research found that only 20 percent of respondents were concerned about the products themselves -- 80 percent were more concerned about "dumb users" than "dumb devices".

According to AVG Australia Security Advisor Michael McKinnon, security around the Internet of Things isn't just about securing devices, managing data or training device users. Instead, he said it comes down to "a triad of concern".

"We've got people, we've got data and we've got devices," he said. "The Internet of Things typically is a conversation around just devices, but there's a whole lot more happening. It's about those things coming together, it's about people who are using devices that contain data, and it's how you manage that."