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Say Hello To The Internet Of Behaviors: What Is It & Why You Should Care

If there’s anything that modern tech loves more than progress, it’s acronyms. From the Internet of Things (IoT) to brain-computer interface (BCI), there’s a new term everywhere you look. 

Today we’ll look into the newest member of the acronym club, the Internet of Behaviours (IoB). Billed by Gartner as one of the buzzwords to look out for from 2021 onwards, the Internet of Behavior is an extension of the Internet of Things. 

What Is The Internet of Behaviours (IoB)? 

The IoT is a network of interconnected physical objects that gather and exchange information and data over the internet. What the IoB does is make sense of this data and attach it to specific human behaviors such as purchasing, or following a specific brand online. 

Think of it as an amalgamation of technology, data analytics and behavioral science. It is essentially trying to make sense of human behaviour through data mining. Devices related to location, facial recognition and more can essentially act as guides to mapping customer behaviour. 

Here is what VP, Distinguished Analyst, chief of Research and chief Gartner Fellow, Daryl Plummer had to say on IoB. 

With IoB, value judgments are applied to behavioral events to create a desired state of behavior. Within Western countries, the most notable example of a usage-based and behaviorally based business model is in property and casualty insurance. Over the long term, it is likely that almost everyone living in a modern society will be exposed to some form of IoB that melds with cultural and legal norms of our existing predigital societies.”  

Now that we have a good understanding of what the IoB is, let’s dig a bit deeper on its value.  

The Value of IoB

If it still hasn’t become crystal clear, the IoB can become the ultimate marketing and sales weapon in the hands of businesses and organizations around the globe. It can give them the in-depth, personalized understanding of their clients they have been striving for. 

Analytics, tracking A/B testing and all the beautiful things that companies have been using for the better part of this decade, have all been a rat race into mapping the perfect user journey. Here’s how the Internet of Behaviour is the missing piece that will push them over the line. 

It will not be simply giving companies insights to past performance, but it will allow them to guesstimate future behavior. The data gathered from the IoT will be the foundation upon which companies will be able to plan their development, marketing and sales efforts. 

Internet Of Behaviors: The Risks & Ethical Questions 

IoB might be a powerful weapon in the hands of companies but it also opens Pandora’s box regarding the policing and sharing of personal information.

The problem with this technology is not of technical nature. The IoB raises questions about how we gather, navigate, and use the data, particularly at scale. 

Companies will now be able to build a profile with a lot more than what you like on Instagram. Their sources will expand to:

  • Smartphone 
  • Laptop
  • In-home voice assistant
  • House/car cameras

The level of access they’ll have will be hard to monitor and regulate. 

Here’s what Chrissy Kidd, researcher and technology author had to say in an interview with bmc blogs:

The IoT does not gather data solely from your relationship with a single company. For instance, a car insurance company can look at a summary of your driving history. As a society, we’ve decided this is fair. But the insurers might also scour your social media profiles and interactions to “predict” whether you’re a safe driver—a questionable and extralegal move.” 

Then, there’s the issue of security. No matter what human society is acceptable or not, there will be the people that will try to steal information such as hacked property access codes, delivery routes, and even bank access codes.

Phishing attempts will be on the rise too. As more people enter the IoB loop, the more susceptible they will be to online scammers. 

The bigger the network and the more detailed the data, the more lucrative is the price for cybercriminals. 

What Does The Future Hold For IoB?

According to Gartner, IoB might still be in its early days, but by year-end 2025, over 50% of the world’s population will be exposed to at least one IoB program, whether that comes from the government, or a private company. 

It goes without saying that since the IoB is an extension of the IoT, the pair will grow simultaneously. 

Furthermore, Gartner estimates that by 2023 individual activities of 40% of the global population will be tracked digitally in order to influence our behavior. Can you see where this is going?

In a few year’s time, IoB will be so much more than an acronym. It will be the ecosystem that has defined human behaviour in a digital world. For now, we know for sure that IoB turns data to information. The real question is whether it can turn information to wisdom. 

Stay tuned as we will be back on this subject.