Internet of Behaviour: A Successor to the Internet of Things

Now that developers have already established success connecting devices and collating data, it's time to analyse and mine user behaviour through the Internet of Behaviour.

It was back in 1999 when the phrase Internet of Things (IoT) first appeared. Two decades later, IoT has already connected more than 20 billion global devices. With time, technologies need to be upgraded. Now that developers have already established success connecting devices and collating data, it’s time to analyse and mine user behaviour through the Internet of Behaviour (IoB). 

IoT has already enhanced the working speed of most businesses. Interactions with IoT devices create and render data in tonnes, whether mobile phones, laptops, airplanes or Alexa. When crunched from IoT devices, this data provides insights into consumers’ behaviour, interests, preferences, habits and practices, making it a valuable treasure to most companies. The data science used for processing these tasks is called IoB. The concept of IoB enables a deep psychological understanding of data, opening doors for a variety of use cases. The technology works at the trifecta of behavioural science, data analytics and technology. Gartner popularised IoB after naming it one of 2021’s biggest strategic technology trends. A study by Gartner reveals that by 2023, activities of around 40% of the population will be tracked digitally by an “Internet of Behaviour” for benefit sharing and service eligibility.

It was Helsinki-based psychologist Göte Nyman who coined the term Internet of Behaviour back in 2012. Nyman said IoB is a new means to track behaviour patterns by assigning a specific IB (Internet Behaviour) address to each behaviour pattern and decoding it for reasons the community finds best.

How Can IoB Benefit Businesses? 

COVID has already caused a vacuum for an efficient customer engagement framework. Now that the global community is sure of facing pandemics in the future and commercial challenges stemming from them, companies must understand consumer patterns beforehand. IoB is a disruptive artificial intelligence (AI) that helps businesses understand customers’ needs, helping them make strategic decisions and, in turn, enhance consumer satisfaction. Areas such as product operation, marketing and sales can significantly improve by using IoB.

Beyond Analysis is already using behavioural insights to upscale businesses’ marketing strategies and expand their consumer base. The startup uses AI-based predictive modelling to forecast user patterns and product success. Urbanic is a London-based fashion brand that is designing products using its in-house data science and AI technologies.

Ogilvy, a marketing and advertising company, believes that today’s most impressive business gains are purely psychological in nature. Ogilvy’s sister company, Consulting Behavioural Science Practice, uses IoB to improve lead generation and offer solutions.

London-based iProov is a behavioural biometrics technology provider that scrutinises user interactions via facial and identity verification. Facial verification helps ascertain the mood, age and gender so businesses can offer customised services to their users. It also reduces online crimes and identity theft. Behavox provides enterprise risk and compliance solutions; and allows users to discover, visualise and quantify relationships between consumers, organisations, transactions and content.

IoB can also be applied to encourage and discourage specific behaviours. One example can be encouraging patients to comply with protocols beyond a hospital’s controlled environment. Healum uses the technology to enable patients to monitor and understand their health.

Behavioural analytics, or IoB, helps understand individual and group patterns in real-time and enables the calculation of events before their occurrence. Featurespace uses behaviour science to manage fraud in the financial sphere. The Cambridge-based software company uses IoB with financial institutions to automatically identify risk, catch new fraud attacks and identify suspicious activity in real-time.

Cautionary Tale

Data will keep evolving with time and forthcoming technologies. However, collating personal user data comes with great ethical responsibility. Before completely accepting IoB as a marketing tool, businesses should think twice. There are few questions enterprises must answer for themselves. Will new insights on consumer purchase patterns push companies more towards targeted advertisements? Will private companies infringe on public welfare and push the fine line of consumer consent? The data readily available at the disposal of the companies and governments for surveillance is risky and prone to cyber breaches. Monopolies and authoritarian governments can misuse the results to suit their agendas. Tracking an individual’s every moment poses massive secrecy concerns, infringing the right to privacy.

It is essential to put stringent regulatory authorities to curb the misuse of collected data (if any), so those in power do not manipulate and bend such sensitive information to whims and fancies.

Consumers have little choice but to agree to share personal information when subscribing to apps and services. This private information in the public domain is not immune to hacks and cyberbullies. With the increasing number of cybersecurity threats globally, cybercriminals getting access to IoT data integrated with behavioural data can pose severe personal security threats.

Technological advancement and its deployment in the 21st century are impossible to stop. For a leakproof and secured future, governments must put robust laws in place to prevent abuse and over-intrusion. Organisations are encouraged to build impregnable cybersecurity infrastructures to block malicious attacks. IoB doesn’t seem like a problematic technology as of now. It can help overhaul the public healthcare and policy sphere when used with precaution and care. Companies have to be sensitive in designing consumer-centric approaches. The future is unstoppable, and IoB has a significant role to play.

Avya Chaudhary
Avya Chaudhary is an engineer turned writer and an ardent potterhead. Currently associated with TechnologyAdvice as a freelance writer, Avya develops high-quality content for businesses. She also has a well-demonstrated history of working with NGOs, civil societies and currently pursuing her passion for community service and content marketing.

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