Development and validation of the Internet of Things Skills Scale (IoTSS)

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to have a massive impact on people’s lives. However, the system’s complexity is also likely to make it an important topic of investigation in digital inequality research. Those who have the skills to use the IoT to its full potential and gain maximal benefits have a technology at hand that will have the power to increase their (already privileged) positions. Prerequisites for and impacts of user (consumer) engagement with the Internet of Things are becoming increasingly recognized as an important study area. To support related research and policy development, there is a need for more theoretically informed, reliable, and valid instruments that are able to measure what people do and gain from the IoT. In the current contribution, we focus on a key component in digital inclusion debates: digital skills. The development of the IoT Skills Scale (IoTSS) started with examining existing digital skills theory which led to a first instrument. We used a threefold approach to test the validity and reliability of the latent skill constructs and the corresponding items: cognitive interviews, followed by a first survey of IoT skills. During the final step, we examined the consistency of the IoT skills scales and their characteristics when measured in second survey among a representative sample survey of Dutch Internet users. The result is a theoretical and empirical consistent framework consisting of two types of IoT skills: operational and data IoT skills and strategic IoT skills.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 25 Mar 2021


  • Digital inequality
  • Digital skills
  • Internet of things
  • Survey instrument
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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