The world’s leading IT research company, Gartner, introduced the Internet of Behavior (IoB) as a technology trend of 2021. Big companies like Google, Amazon, Uber, and Apple use IoB to improve their services. But what is IoB? In this article, we’ll explain what it is, what the benefits are and what the downsides can be.
What Is IoB?
We are familiar with IoT. IoT or the Internet of Things is a network of interconnected “things” which transfer data through the Internet. Some real-world examples of IoT are wearable health devices, biometric cybersecurity scanners and voice assistants. By interacting with IoT devices, we are constantly sending data to the Internet. In fact, the information gathered is exceptionally valuable. It shows the behavior, interests, and preferences of users. Analyzing the data collected from IoT devices with a behavioral psychology viewpoint is called IoB. The analyzed data is used to influence the consumer’s behavior and to create the desired impact. Gartner has stated that “The Internet of Behavior collects the digital dust of people’s lives from a variety of sources. Public or private organizations can use this information to influence behavior.”
Data has always been an important topic in computer science. But the idea of obtaining information from users’ behavior while interacting with IoT devices first came in 2012. Retired professor of psychology at Helsinki University, Göte Nyman, introduced “human IoB” in his book. You have probably seen recommended products sections while shopping online. The accuracy of these suggestions may have left you in awe. This is a simple example of the outcome of IoT and IoB working together. The data collected from searching for products is stored on your laptop or smartphone. This data gets analyzed and the best suggestions appear on your screen. As we can see, IoB can play a big role in marketing and sales. For instance, companies can track customer behavior to modify their strategies according to the collected data.
What Are the Benefits?
1. IoB in Marketing
Professionals use IoB mainly in marketing. Implementing IoB can help marketers have a better perspective of customer’s buying habits. Moreover, it enables them to understand how customers interact with devices, services, and products. They get to know where their customers are from or where they’re using the service. Providing real-time notifications about point-of-sale (POS) and targeted advertisement is another benefit of implementing IoB. Therefore, all the aforementioned benefits can improve customer satisfaction and increase sales. Not only does IoB give insights into customers’ past behavior but also helps predict their future intentions.
2. IoB in Healthcare
IoB has the potential to become a vital marketing organ but that’s not all. The healthcare industry is another area where we can implement IoB. With the COVID-19 outbreak, measuring body temperature and checking the presence of personal protective equipment (PPE) became mandatory. Thanks to computer vision, we are able to detect whether or not people are wearing their masks properly. Moreover, thermal sensors help measure their body temperature. IoB enables us to monitor social distancing. We can even check if employees are washing their hands properly. Furthermore, analyzing citizens’ medical records can detect virus transmission and distinguish virus carriers.
3. Other Areas
Self-driving cars can use IoB to make better decisions in different situations. In several companies and organizations, IoB can help improve employer-employee relationship by tracking employee behavior. Also, this technology allows us to fetch the demographic information of various regions. This information includes people’s age, gender and even their mood. Social credit score system in China uses face recognition and AI to track citizens and ensure security. IoB has limitless benefits but we have to be cautious about ethical issues and cybersecurity.
What Are the Downsides? What is the Solution?
Knowledge is power but with great knowledge comes great responsibility. Nowadays, data can be gathered from your smartphone, smartwatch, laptop, car camera, and other IoT devices you interact with. With the increase of using IoT devices, our private information is under the spotlight more than ever. Here comes the security issues. Cybercriminals can steal sensitive information and perform phishing attacks. Companies can misuse this information, too. Facebook scandal is a bold example. In today’s information age, we should develop advanced protocols to protect consumer privacy. In order to improve privacy preservation policy, we need to monitor and regulate access levels.
IoB is now taking baby steps but it has a bright future. With more than half of the population being exposed to at least one IoB program by the year of 2025, more and more organizations are heading towards this technology. The main concern these organizations must note aside from their profit, is cyber security and consumer privacy.