In Steven Spielberg’s 2002 movie Minority Report, futuristic technologies help the police analyze people’s intentions, prevent crimes, and arrest criminals before committing an offense. What if this scenario is not impossible, and we are moving toward that future at full speed?
The Internet of Behaviors (IoB) is one of the catching-on trends of tomorrow, already causing a lot of discussions. In its 2021 forecast, Gartner placed the Internet of Behaviors as number one in the top 10 of strategic technology trends “that IT professionals cannot ignore.” According to the report, by 2023, 40% of the world’s population will be tracked by IoB devices. The researchers expect this number to reach 50% by 2025.
What is IoB, and how will it affect different industries in the very near future?
What Is the Internet of Behaviors?
Until relatively recently, business strategies were mostly based on the data obtained from market research. There are two types of it:
- Qualitative research represents the consumer’s reaction to the product;
- Quantitative research allows for determining the market capacity, target audience, etc.
But the Internet’s deep penetration into all business fields has transformed the classic approach. The new instruments help marketers and business strategists collect and process huge amounts of data. It led to the emergence of holistic ecosystems like the Internet of Things (IoT). However, the interpretation of data remained manual and often subjective.
A unified system that analyzes the collected data from the point of view of behavioral psychology known as the Internet of Behaviors (IoB) was a logical next step in technological evolution. The history of the Internet of Behaviors started when the term was coined by professor Gote Nyman from the University of Helsinki in 2012.
How does the Internet of Behaviors work? The concept of IoB combines many sources of so-called “digital dust” — individual data reflecting people’s activity. These sources include:
- Personal devices (smartphones, smartwatches);
- Microchip implants (health monitors for checking temperature, blood pressure, and sugar level);
- Recognition systems (face and voice recognition, location tracking);
- Social media activity.
Have you ever noticed how paid ads in your Facebook feed change depending on what you’ve searched on Google? That is the real-life experience of how the Internet of Behaviors works (keep in mind the manipulation of user behavior by controlling data on the Internet). Imagine a pyramid with four levels. IoT would take the pyramid base with Data and Information. Having Knowledge as the next level, IoB would rest Wisdom on the pyramid’s top.
Internet of Behaviors: Where and How?
Simply put, IoB integrates big data analysis, facial recognition, and location analysis technologies that have long been applied separately. But in this approach, a human body essentially becomes a data platform. If the Internet of Things connects all the devices in an ecosystem, the Internet of Behaviors metaphorically creates a global network of living people.
The Internet of Behaviors metaphorically creates a global network of living people.
In the mentioned report, Gartner names people centricity as the first theme of the year. The social shift caused by the global pandemic showed businesses how important it is to remain customer-oriented to stay afloat revealing the meaning of behavioral technology. And this theme defines the entire IoB concept. Already today, we can predict the pathways technology will take to penetrate our life.
#1 Smart Human Resources Management Using IoB
Technology analyzing employee communication within enterprise internal systems already exists. It helps executives and HR departments identify formal and informal leaders who can become successful managers. In a multi-thousand-employee environment, such tools become vital for maximum-efficiency resource management. Besides, they automate the trajectory of an employee’s professional development.
#2 The Internet of Behaviors Technology for Improved Logistics
Already today, transportation companies use all sorts of sensors and solutions to track their drivers’ direction, speed, braking patterns, and safety belt position. And advanced algorithms based on a big data analysis plan optimal routes according to real-time traffic updates to reduce the number of left turns or the idling time at traffic lights.
Using the Internet of Behaviors applications, UPS reduced the idling time by 15.4 million minutes (that is more than 28 years!) and delivery routes by more than 1.7 million miles (that is almost 200,000 gallons of fuel) in one year.
#3 IoB-Driven Medicine of the Future
Wi-Fi-controlled pacemakers, smart lenses with AR integrations, smart electronic pills, Bluetooth-connected hearing aid, fertility trackers, and brain-computer interfaces that help people with neuromuscular disorders — although it still sounds like a sci-fi narrative, these devices are not that far from us.
Many fitness, sleep-tracking, and habit-building apps already use algorithms based on behavior analytics. Such software generates personalized health advice according to the user’s preferences, routines, and collected data.
In addition, we are close to the moment when doctors will be able to receive the patient’s medical data in real time, regardless of the location. It will enable thousands of options for remote and more objective treatment.
#4 Sustainability Among the Internet of Behaviors Trends
Environmental and sustainability issues are among the challenges humanity has been facing in the past decades. Since they are addressed on a governmental level, they require implementing cutting-edge technologies. Although the IoB trend is relatively new to the academic environment, some research already shows the potential of moving in this direction.
In their 2021 research, Elayan et al. examined how IoB can influence IoT if combined with explainable artificial intelligence (explainable AI or XAI). Remarkably, unlike many other studies focusing strictly on consumer behavior in marketing, the researchers investigated the possibility of reducing global power consumption and cost.
The proposed approach includes five steps:
- User: Tracking user behavior;
- IoT: Collecting the behavioral data using IoT devices;
- Data analytics: Using data analytics and machine learning tools to extract useful information;
- Behavioral science: Understanding obtained information using behavioral sciences to gain knowledge;
- Business strategy: Reacting to insights based on business strategies to achieve particular outcomes.
The system developed for the research proved to be functional. Moreover, the scientists reported a positive correlation between decreasing the global active power and reducing the power intensity.
#5 Enhanced Customer Experience
As business becomes more consumer-centric, customers become spoiled. Potential buyers will leave the web page if it takes longer than a few seconds to load. Existing customers will switch companies if they once had a somewhat unpleasant experience with their current supplier. Competition for the customer’s dollar and loyalty is the driving force for businesses across industries.
Competition for the customer’s dollar and loyalty is the driving force for businesses across industries.
What can be better than a timely implementation of the latest technological trends for winning the competitor race? Ultimately, any business tries to provide a better customer experience (CX). And using IoB applications can significantly improve it in several directions.
Personalization is a key to service effectiveness. People like to feel special and be heard. This approach helps companies gain and maintain customer loyalty. For example, Spotify became extremely popular due to its Discover Weekly feature. The algorithm analyzes the music you listened to in the past and creates a personalized suggestion playlist. Moreover, it tracks your reaction to the suggested tracks and adjusts the playlist if you skip some songs.
Precise suggestions are the most important part of personalization. Like Spotify and its personalized playlists, Facebook, Netflix, and YouTube actively use machine learning predictive algorithms to provide us with suggestions. In the future, these services might know if you are in a bad mood to cheer you up or help you overcome a painful breakup.
Flawless Business-Customer Interaction
IoB will inevitably become an integral part of CRM (customer relationship management) platforms. Advanced customer data analytics will help businesses provide the highest-level service and instantaneous support.
Advanced On-Demand Services
Uber is a great example of using the Internet of Behaviors technologies. The company uses IoT data on both drivers and passengers and collects feedback. Soon, there will be no need for doing surveys and rating rides manually — trained algorithms will track drivers’ behavior and passengers’ reactions and make decisions on further CX improvement.
Ultimate Customer Satisfaction
In 2018, a Sydney-based café Bahista started using facial recognition to remember and identify their customers. The technology helps the owner “remember” his regulars and suggest perfect drinks to new guests according to their age, gender, and mood.
Security or Total Control?
Despite the concept’s utopian image and all the Internet of Behaviors benefits, the global implementation of IoB has critical social implications. The main issue here is a personal security breach. On the one hand, collecting “digital dust” is a law enforcement effective tool for identifying criminals and preventing crime. Policymakers have already discussed if voice assistants can be considered crime witnesses. And on the other hand, in many cases, it means a violation of data confidentiality.
Yet, according to a Security Industry Association survey, 57% of respondents were positive about including their image in the global facial recognition database for public safety. And 68% believe using such instruments can make society safer.
As our “digital dust” contains tons of sensitive data like financial information or medical records, implementing IoB tools means more advanced levels of security. Protecting technologies, employees, customers, and investments requires a comprehensive approach using appropriate IoT protocols and instruments. Microsoft recommends a three-pronged approach — connection, devices, and data protection:
- Secure device provisioning;
- Safe ways of connecting devices to the cloud;
- Protecting data in the cloud during storage and processing.
Another point of concern for many is IoB’s legal background. As it’s yet one of the emerging technology trends, there’s no single, united legal system regulating the use of the technology and its ethical implications. Most probably, we’ll need to develop international legal instruments, norms, and ethical codes to avoid the disastrous consequences of technology misuse.
Provided the extraordinary pace of tech development, some industries will soon undergo another evolutionary transformation. Logistics will become more efficient with precise algorithms and predictions. The concept of “fashionable” may simply disappear as the fashion industry will provide personalized advice and create a unique wardrobe for each customer. Life expectancy and quality are most likely to increase with the implementation of hi-tech trends and monitoring systems based on individual characteristics.
Hardly anyone can deny the impact of Internet marketing on consumer behavior. What we are witnessing today is quite advanced ways of analyzing and influencing customer behavior. Marketers use the Internet of Behaviors marketing to get closer to consumers — existing and potential. Developers make their products as personalized as possible based on user activity analytics.
The Internet of Behaviors has unprecedented potential to change our perception of reality. At Rocketech, we have experience in creating innovative, cutting-edge digital products that created a strong competitive advantage for our clients. Contact us directly for more information.