40% world’s population will be tracked to influence behavior – All about Internet of Behaviors (IoB)

Published On January 29, 2021
In Technology, Blog Archives

According to Gartner, Internet of Behaviors (IoB) has become one of the top buzzwords to look out for in 2021. As a part of the top nine strategic technology trends for 2021 by Gartner, IoB is steadily marching into our lives and will soon be quite all pervasive. 

Gartner predicts that the activities of 40% of world’s population will be tracked digitally to influence behavior. The Internet of Things (IoT) is an extremely popular technology and no longer a far-fetched trend, that has managed to trickle down to various industries already. The technology facilitates multitude of devices such as fitness watches, smartphones, cars, credit cards and other physical devices to connect to the internet and collect & share data. According to IDC, the total number of connected IoT devices is expected to grow to 41.6 billion by 2025. However, due to a significant growth of the IoT technology, a new concept has emerged known as ‘the Internet of Behaviors (IoB).  

The massive amount of data generated by billions of connected IoT devices isn’t being utilized to its full potential yet. The challenge to churn out crucial insights from the collected data, which usually helps companies increase their profits, is being addressed by the new concept – the Internet of Behaviors. 

What is the Internet of Behaviors (IoB)? 

The Internet of Behaviors (IoB) is an extension of the Internet of Things (IoT), that aims to understand the data aggregated by individuals’ online activity. The concept, still in its infancy, seeks to address the issue of understanding data properly and utilizing the insights to create new products. The idea of using data analytics to analyze consumer behavior isn’t something new. Several organizations across the world are already leveraging the power of data to analyze their customer’s preferences and behavior. So, what makes the Internet of Behaviors different? 

Internet of Behaviors (IoB)

IOB makes sense of the data and information exchanged via a network of interconnected IoT devices, attaching it to specific customer behaviors such as purchasing, product preferences, or following a brand on social media platforms. The Internet of Behaviors is a blend of data analytics, technology and behavioral science. In other words, IoB tries to make sense of human behaviour through data mining. According to researchers at Gartner, hardcore data analytics and understanding of behavioural science are required to support this concept.  

This budding concept combines existing technologies that are individual-centric such as location tracking, facial recognition and big data with generated data and associates it with behavioural events like buying pattern or device usage. This data can be utilized by companies to influence human behaviour. Today, brands have a better understanding about an individual – their likes, dislikes, purchasing behavior, way of living etc. For example, Uber uses IoT data that includes information about traveller’s location, drivers and ride preferences to improve customer experience. 

Increasing Importance  of Internet of Behavior 

Hitting the bull’s eyes, the IoB can play a significant role in re-defining the way sales and marketing teams work. It can become the ultimate weapon, helping organizations get in-depth and personalized understanding of their customers – that everyone has been striving for.  

A/B testing, data analytics, SWOT analysis, social listening and all the other tactics that organizations have been using till now, are a part of mapping the perfect customer journey and understanding individuals deeply. The Internet of Behavior will act like a missing piece, helping companies accelerate the process of curating the right customer journey. Not only can companies dig into past insights but also guesstimate future behavior. The data aggregated by the IoT devices will become the foundation on which organizations will build their marketing and sales strategies. Emerging as a new marketing frontier, companies can take their digital marketing game to the next level with IoB-data driven strategies to gain a competitive edge.  

Beyond IoT - Internet of Behaviors

As brands learn more about their customers through IoT, they can impact their behaviors through IoB. For example, a health monitoring app on your smartphone or smartwatch tracks your sleep patterns, heart rate, diet, blood sugar levels, calories burnt etc. By analysing your activities, the app can give suggest behavior modifications that can help an individual get a more positive outcome. For example, health insurance companies can use IoB to track physical activities like monitoring grocery purchases of an individual and allocate premiums: accordingly, purchase of too many unhealthy products could result in higher premiums.  

Behavior scientists and marketers believe that personalization plays a fundamental role in increasing the effectiveness of a service. As a result, customers would continue to engage with the service more. However, IoB can also be used to enhance overall public welfare by encouraging or discouraging certain behavior. For example, monitoring the compliance with government-laid health protocols, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. A tracking app on people’s smartphones can monitor their activities and locations to ensure that they are taking the necessary steps to minimize the risk of contracting the virus and are following social restrictions.  

Benefits of Internet of Behaviors 

  1. Analyze customer’s purchasing behavior across platforms 
  1. In-dept insights about how customers interact with a product/service 
  1. Gain a better understanding about a customer’s buyer journey 
  1. Customers can be targeted with personalized notifications and ads that can even alter their behavior 
  1. Reimage the way marketing and sales teams work 

Applications of Internet of Behaviors 

Improving travel booking experiences 

By analyzing a user’s past online behavior and social-demographic characteristics, travel companies can provide dynamic offers and recommendations. An app called ‘The Booking Experiences’ provides instant booking for venues and attractions in a specific location. To enhance the in-destination experience, the app continuously learns and analyses the data to provide the traveler with personalized venue suggestions. Payment can be easily done by scanning a QR code that is linked to their credit card. 

Accurate pricing of car insurance premiums 

The challenges faced for optimizing the premium of the car insurance can be addressed with IoB. Customers can install an app that could gather information such as speed of the car, distance travelled, time of the day the customer is travelling etc. Car insurance companies can use this data to price the premium more accurately. This would imply that responsible drivers could pay lowest premiums. An example for this type of an app is the ‘Aviva Drive app’. 

Achieving long-term financial goals 

Banks can analyze the data collected by the IoT devices to get insights on a user’s spending. Such an app could monitor the spending behavior of an individual. The system could be designed to roll out encouraging notifications that could enhance willpower and help the user achieve long-term financial goals. It also could send alerts when they are exceeding their spending limits. This could help customers adjust their behavior vis a vis achieve long-term financial goals. 

The dark side of IoB 

While there are various positive aspects of the Internet of Behaviors, it’s dark side cannot be ignored. The most crucial of it all – cybersecurity is of utmost concern when we talk about the IoB. The integration of IoT and behavior data can give cybercriminals immense power to disrupt our lives. They can access sensitive information about everything that an individual interacts with. Cybercriminals can even put-up sensitive data on sale in the dark web or to other hackers who can eventually get hold of property & bank access codes. The potential of disruption is so immense – it’s bone chilling! 

Cybercriminals can even take Phishing to the next level by impersonating individuals in a better manner for conducting fraud. The expeditiously growing network of IoT devices requires more vigilant and proactive cybersecurity protocols. Amendments in the cultural and legal norms would also be required while embracing IoB. 

What does the future hold for IoB? 

The Internet of Behaviors (IoB) is still at a nascent stage but is predicted to grow in the coming years. However, there are immense benefits for organizations, of which the most important – gaining in-depth insights about consumer behavior, is something that everyone would be eager to leverage. The dangerous implications of the technology should not be ruled out. A strong data security framework should be in place followed by data governance best practices, and training and awareness on cyber security could help organizations stay ahead of the curve. According to Gartner, the Internet of Behaviors (IoB) will be prevalent by the end of 2025.

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