Earlier, a consumer’s behavior and reactions towards a product or service would be through a concentrated group study. Here, consumers of different opinions and backgrounds would react to the use of a product or service. Once that sample study is collected, it would determine the faith of that product or service in the business.
Now, you do not need to hire a group and spend on a group of people to react or opine about your product or service. A concept like the Internet of Behaviours emerges, which uses technology and behavioral science to understand and influence people’s mindset towards their products and services.
IoB is an extension of IoT. Where IoT works with data, information, and how different devices connect with one another. IoB also works with the same parameters, adding user behavior into the mix to understand how certain patterns and impressions can determine user experience.
According to Daryl Plummer, Distinguished VP Analyst and Gartner Fellow stated: “By 2023, individual activities will be tracked digitally by ‘Internet of Behavior’ to influence benefit and service eligibility for 40% of people worldwide.”
IoB links technology and a person’s action towards it and interprets the reaction. IoB can also influence a person’s behavior.
For example, Uber has been using IoT to track drivers and passengers. At the end of each ride, they have a survey to rate the passengers’ experience. With IoB, they can collect past data and need not take that survey as they can track the driver’s behavior and then interpret the passenger’s reaction and automatically work on that feedback.
IoB can be an important aspect in marketing and sales. Companies are aggressively using data and information to track their customer’s behavior and influence them to buy more products or accept more services. With the help of IoB, companies can depend on live data and behaviors to improve their products and services for the consumers.
Gartner has included the concept of IOB in the list of “Top Strategic Technological Trends of 2021”. It states that IOB is about using data to influence user behaviors. According to Gartner “IoB does have ethical and societal implications depending on the goals and outcomes of individual uses.”
They also provide an example of how car companies study the driving behaviors and utilize gathered information to improve their customer’s experience. Here, they determine the way data is used to help businesses understand their customer’s unique preferences and find a way to evolve, considering their data, to act as feedback.
Companies are constantly battling with their competitors to gain their consumer’s trust. With IoB companies will use that data, information, and behavior patterns to cater to their consumer’s needs.
For example, Netflix uses consumer insights to predict what they might like or dislike. They put on recommendations as per their interests and ratings on a particular movie or series. Now imagine if they do not need your past data to recommend you what to watch next and simply pick up your behavioral data and interpret your interests.
This will add on to your user experience and take things to the next stage.
Similarly, various businesses could interpret your live data to showcase and predict what you might need next without you having to manually search for things online.
WolframAlpha, a computational knowledge engine, created by Stephen Wolfram, can generate information from a person’s Facebook activity, in less than a minute. The British physicist has been tracking his own data for the last 10 years, to understand how it has influenced his behavioral patterns.
He believes that people and companies connect better when data is collected through personal analytics.
IoB can create newer opportunities for companies to collect and mine data, with the permission of the individuals whose data is utilized. With the assistance of IoB, companies mean to track their employees’ behaviors and work towards a better employer-employee relationship.
With benefits, IoB also has its own drawbacks, as it is still an emerging concept and people are concerned about the privacy and security of their data.
Retired Professor Göte Nyman, University of Helsinki, recently in his blog about IOB, stated that he introduced the term “human IOB” in the year 2012 in his book “On The Edge of Human technology – An Essay”. He stated that humans have a digital identity and an offline identity, both are not necessarily the same. The concept of human IOB aims to protect our identities and attract us towards genuine business and not falsely influence us.
According to Professor Göte Nyman, Gartner’s List showcases how IoB merges a person’s digital and offline identity to use that data and then influence them through various means. He also states how EU Parliament has limited the use of this data for companies.
Recently Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed the illicit use of data to influence the elections. The scandal changed the world and its view on how our personal data is used without consumer’s consent, to influence the same consumer and manipulate them according to their digital patterns.
This was a serious privacy breach that impacted a generation and made us aware of how easy would it be for fraudulent companies, who showcase advertisements on these trusted websites and dupe us into purchasing products or give in critical information. In the end, Facebook did pay a fine of £500,000.
Later, Google also had to pay an amount of $22.5 Million in a case against Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding a similar issue in 2012.
Since these scandals and cases, both Facebook and Google have taken their data protection and consent for any usage, seriously. Where both companies regularly come up with updates to improve the utilization of critical data on their website.
Google has certain sets of updates to allow relevant websites to rank on their search engine activities. Also, the ads run through Google have been monitored efficiently and then they use the same data to determine the relevancy of businesses.
Similarly, Facebook has also been updating their data protection activity by updating and monitoring the same. The most recent update that Facebook had was for WhatsApp, where the new updates are stricter and monitored closely to avoid any malpractices.
Various businesses are now using online advertising as a way to reach their customers. With the assistance of IoB they are able to identify and target certain individuals or groups that could benefit from their products or services.
Google and Facebook both use behavioral data to showcase advertisements to people on their platforms. This allows brands to connect with their ideal audiences and track their behavior towards that advertisement through “click rates”.
Similarly, Youtube also uses behavioral analytics to improve their viewer’s experience by only recommending or showcasing videos and topics that interest them.
The pandemic has made us more aware of the safety measures we must take during this time. With the help of sensors or RFID tags, employers could determine if there are any discrepancies in following the safety protocols. In fact, restaurants and food delivery apps use the information about the protocols and then carry forward their plans.
For example, Swiggy and Zomato both showcased and highlighted the safety measures taken by restaurants. They also tracked and displayed the delivery person’s temperature to assure the customers that they are safe.
Technologies like Google Home, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri enable people to directly ask them to perform an activity or do a quick search rather than them typing on a device. With IoB these smart devices can study and interpret the data as well as the behavior of the instructor and work on it accordingly.
This will create more opportunities for these devices to work with old people and children easily.
IoB can be of great use in the insurance sector. Insurance Companies like AllState and StateFarm, already use driver tracking programs to track and sturdy a driver’s behavior. Here, with the assistance of IoB they can analyze the behavior and maybe interpret if a certain incident was an accident or an insured’s miscalculated guess.
This can prevent drunk driving cases, driving under the drug influence cases, or even prevent underage or retired people from taking the wheel that may cause an accident.
The Internet of Behavior has its pros and cons, just like any other technological concept. It can refine the lives of consumers, upgrade businesses, and assist governments to determine threats.
It is a revolution in the technical sense. In the right set of hands and proper data protection laws, it shall play an important role in the near future.