Internet of Behavior (IoB) – a new stage in the information age

Recently, there has been more and more talk about Internet of Behaviors, and in 2021 Gartner even called it one of the top nine strategic technology trends for the year. But what IoB really is and what benefits and dangers can it bring us? Let’s try to figure it out.

What is IoB?

The Internet of Behavior extends from the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT is usually defined as a network of physical objects (things) that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the Internet. Internet of Behaviors (IoB)  is the 

collection of data on the use of these devices to obtain information on user behavior, interests, and preferences. In other words, IoB attempts to understand the data collected from users’ online activity from a human psychology perspective. 

In 2012 Gote Nyman, a retired professor of psychology at Helsinki University, first announced the study of data-driven behavior. Nyman supposes that behavioral analytics can predict a person’s intentions and all that can happen in the connected world.  Despite the fact that the idea of IoB itself is not new, it is now more relevant than ever, because with the advent of the pandemic, almost all services have moved exclusively to the digital world.

One of the most important components of any successful service is personalization. The effective range of relevant customers facilitates prosperity of the company. The concept of the Internet of Behavior involves converting data into valuable information about various user preferences that can serve as a benchmark for calculating customer behavior. Based on this analysis the system detects which psychological variables to influence to bring about a certain outcome. That brings plenty of new marketing approaches to engage extra customers or to promote some product. That also makes marketing activities more targeted, so people get right ads ad products and feel more satisfied.

IoB also helps to get rid of a lot of special research and surveys. Various applications can collect and analyze almost any information that remains on the Internet in a short time and effectively.

A bit of statistics

Statista reports, between 2010 to 2020, the creation, capture, copy, and consumption of data have grown globally by a whopping 5000% and grow further at a CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of 26% from 2021 to 2024.

The amount of data generated by IoT devices is expected to reach 73.1 ZB (zettabytes) by 2025.

Currently, there are over 4.66 Billion internet users worldwide, who will together spend over “1.3 Billion years of human time online in 2021.” With such an incremental speed, imagine how much data the Internet will generate in the coming decade.

It is at this juncture when IoT extends to become the Internet of Behaviors.

Where can we use it?

Let’s take a closer look at the spheres that can gain benefit from IoB:

  • Marketing and advertising

The influence of IOB is most clearly seen in the field of marketing and advertising. To be competitive in this area, organizations also have to use advanced technologies. IoB plays a significant role in re-defining the way sales and marketing teams work, 

helping them to get in-depth and personalized understanding of customers. Organizations can not only obtain more detailed information about where a customer is in the buying process, but also accelerate the process of curating “the right” customer journey.

  • Healthcare

The active use of IoT solutions in the healthcare sector can serve as a good catalyst for the development of IoB there. According to i-SCOOP, Comparitech, 86% of healthcare organizations were using IoT technology in some way in 2019. 

Forbes estimates 646 million IoT devices were used in hospitals, clinics, and medical offices in 2020. In an IoT-powered industry, the volume of medical data doubles every 73 days on average.

There is already a wide range of applications that analyze user behavior based on data from devices and give them recommendations aimed at changing their behavior to a healthier lifestyle. For example, there are some apps that track diet, sleep patterns, heart rate or blood sugar level, and can alert to abnormal situations in the user’s health and suggest behavioural modifications according to this.

  • Insurance

The insurance industry can also get a boost from the use of IoB. Namely, the analysis of customer behavior based on data from IoT devices can help in a fairer calculation of the cost of insurance. For example, there is an Aviva Drive app that could gather information, such as the speed of the car,

 distance travelled, the time of the day the customer is travelling, etc. Car insurance companies can use this data, so that more responsible drivers could pay less for the insurance. Also, health insurance companies can use IoB to track physical activities of clients to decide on the amount of premiums.

  • Transportation

Some transport companies such as Uber use IoB studies on drivers, passenger locations and preferences to renovate perception of customers’ experience with their business or brand. Also, large companies, Ford, for example, have joined 

other start-ups, such as Argo AI, to design unmanned cars that vary their behaviour in each city based on vehicle traffic, pedestrians, bicycles and scooters.

  • Smart homes

Internet of Behaviors allows homes to become really smart. If earlier you could control appliances, thermostats, lighting and other devices remotely using a smartphone or tablet via an Internet connection, now all the functionality of 

smart homes will be able to automatically adjust to your preferences using data about your behavior patterns previously obtained by your devices.

Are there any threats in using IoB?

Though, IoB has a positive effect on our life as it guides a lot of spheres, but we should keep in mind that the system collects personal data and a lot of responsibility lies on companies that keep it. There were dozens of scandals and court cases based on the data leak. Nowadays people are more and more concerned about letting some applications collect their personal information. However, it is almost impossible not to leave a mark while using the internet. 

Another controversial point about IoB is its legal aspect.  The IoB concept, that converts our data into valuable information of our decision-making pattern, involves altering our cultural norms and laws, which were formed before the Digital Ages. Personal information is connected not only from the relationship with only one company, but it is exchanged among all the services you have ever used. Nowadays trading users’ data has become a reason for many scandals. Lots of companies like Facebook and Google were fined since they had applied private information without consumer’s agreement, to affect the same consumer and manipulate them according to their digital behaviour model. Now data protection activity is being updated, nevertheless, it is still imperfect.

Conclusion 

Thus, IoB is just beginning its journey, but it is already confidently gaining momentum, as more and more organizations begin to use this technology to maintain and develop their competitive advantage. Despite the ambiguous issues with the security of personal data, the benefits of using the IoB for both companies and customers are obvious, so we believe that the IoB era is just beginning.

And what is your opinion on the IoB? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!