The Internet of Behaviours (IoB)

Internet of things (IoT) has been gaining popularity recently. IoT has constantly evolved in terms of its complexity, thereby opening a realm of opportunities for the wide variety of data collected. While IoT focuses on connecting devices, IoB aims to personalize services, thereupon increasing the effectiveness of the service provided. Predominantly, IoB is an extension of IoT. 

So, what exactly is IoB?

While IoT connects various devices, IoB tracks and collects the data from these gadgets to procure information on user behaviour, preferences, and interests. IoB can be thought of as a combination of technology, data analytics, and behavioural science. Behavioural science, when considering technology, can further be subcategorized as emotions, decisions, augmentations, and companionship. IoB aims to understand and involve data to generate and promote products. The data thus collected serves as the benchmark to map customer behaviour. This data is utilized to create new approaches for developing user experiences and for optimizing search experiences. 

Gote Nyman first announced the study of data-driven behaviour in 2012. He believed that in an extensively connected world, behavioural analytics could predict one’s intention. Very recently, Gartner described IoB as one of the world’s significant strategic technology trends for 2021. Gartner predicted that by 2023, 40 percent of the people globally would have their behaviour tracked through the IoB. By the end of 2025, almost half of the world’s population would be subjected to at least one IoB program, irrespective of it being commercial or governmental. 

Data can originate from umpteen sources, from tracking our geolocation data to credit card purchases and even food preferences. Every passing day gleans more of such data; hence the IoB will be able to secure more data about one’s behavioural pattern or choices. 

The IoB plays a vital role in consumer choice. Some users are cautious of providing data, while a section of the population is ready to do so as long as it helps in adding value. This is beneficial for companies as they can change their image and market products effectively to the customers. This helps to improve the Customer Experience (CX) of a product or service. It gives companies that we do not foresee involving ourselves with an opportunity to change the way we presume about them, like the insurance providers or banks. 

In fact, IoB opens a vast arena for marketers to analyze. It helps to thoroughly review the customer journey and collect information from various points of contact. For instance, companies can easily find out what led to the customer’s interest in a particular product. Through this, they will be able to identify common points of contact and communicate constructively with their customers. Moreover, the IoB could be of great help in the current times. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has resulted in severe changes in our day-to-day activities. With the help of IoB, the public’s welfare could be ensured by tracking people’s behaviour. 

All this put together means that someone always accesses almost all our data. This leaves us contemplating our privacy and cybersecurity. Increased personalization indisputably leads to privacy and security concerns. Behavioural data provides cybercriminals with endless opportunities to access sensitive customer data such as delivery routes or even banking codes. Cybercriminals with this information can take phishing to greater levels, thereby endangering the users.

Considering the risks involved with collecting vast amounts of data, there needs to be a clear differentiation between personalized offerings and intrusiveness. Companies opting for IoB need to ensure that they have an inviolable security system. Introducing cybersecurity training and spreading awareness should be the need of the hour. 

IoB is still in its developing stages. Technically it is pretty easy to implement; however, it involves very complex psychology. It must be transparent without endangering anyone’s privacy. One drawback of IoB could be that the context of specific actions might not be revealed entirely, thereby causing a misinterpretation of it. However, IoB could prove to be of great use in the years to come, provided that the dark side of privacy and security is taken care of with utmost care. 

Alina Thomas Thanangadan Rajagiri School Of Engineering And Technology

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