What is the Internet of Behaviors (IoB)?
IoB – Internet of Behavior – “is a field of research and development aimed at understanding how, when, and why people use technology to make purchasing decisions.” In a broader sense, it is the aggregation of information from IoT devices to understand the user’s behavior, tastes, and desires.
For the first time, the term “Internet of Behavior” was voiced by a Professor of Psychology at the University of Helsinki, Gothe Naiman, in 2012. His main thesis was that statistical studies describe human habits and behavior but do not consider the context and meaning of the user’s life. He suggested that if each behavior pattern were assigned to a specific IoB address, then analyzing these patterns would provide useful knowledge for developing different industries. This is because it is behavior that is a psychological characteristic that is responsible for the propensity to act. At the same time, it depends on four other factors – emotions, cognition, personality, and communication. Thus, user behavior will allow you to understand how to influence a person. User behavioral habits are analyzed from various devices – phones, cars, app downloads, social networks, credit cards, medical information, etc. Machine learning interprets behavioral patterns from these sources. It can be used to personalize goods and services, develop new production methods, predict the consequences of actions and the possibility of changing them, etc. Thus, responding to all forms of user behavior turns information into knowledge. The long hiatus from the IoB discussion ended in 2020 when Gartner ranked it as the number one key trend, defining it as an extension of IoT that focuses on collecting, processing, and analyzing digital dust in people’s daily lives. They predict that by the end of 2025, more than half of the world’s population will be exposed to at least one IoB program, commercial or government. According to PrecedenceResearch, the IoB market size in 2023 will be 571.24 billion US dollars, and by 2030 – 2,143.57 billion. The general interest in IoB indicates the demand for a new direction.
However, in addition to the obvious benefits that IoB will provide and the obvious risks associated with security, privacy, and regulatory issues, several problems lie in the plane of behavioral psychology and ethics. In particular, the following can be distinguished:
- the degree of influence of IoB on changing ideas about decision-making options;
- providing IoB information about the desires and interests of the user can change its subjectivity;
- formation and stimulation of dependence on certain goods and products;
- determining the limits of influence on the user;
- reduced critical thinking of the user;
- changing cultural values in line with new IoB business models.
Thus, further study and development of approaches to the definition of IoB in various projections are necessary, for example, as a system for changing cultural values, as an object of influence on users, and as a technological extension of IoT.
The concept of IoB combines devices for collecting the so-called “digital dust” – individual data from people’s lives. Information is collected from various sources:
- personal devices (smartphones, smart bracelets);
- implanted chips (to check the temperature, pressure, and blood sugar levels);
- digital technologies (face recognition or car number recognition systems);
- other sources (pages in social networks).
The Internet of Behaviors (IOB) is a logical continuation of the Internet of Things (IoT). But if the Internet of Things unites devices from this category into one network, the Internet of Behavior will allow data about people to be collected into a single database.
The likelihood of using IoB technologies depends on the legislation of specific countries. An obstacle may be local laws on the population’s privacy and processing of personal data.
The global adoption of the IoB has significant societal implications. The key problem of Internet behavior is the violation of personal security. On the one hand, the collection of “digital dust” will help in the fight against crime. Thus, license plate recognition systems make it possible to quickly receive information about speeding and determine the perpetrators of an accident. On the other hand, the concept of data confidentiality is violated.
Research firm Gartner has declared the “Internet of Behavior” one of the top ten strategic technology trends “that IT professionals can’t ignore.”
What is the value of the “Internet of Behavior” for business?
The IoB concept looks, at first glance, like a dream come true for many companies.
- “Internet of Behavior” makes it possible to minimize the cost of marketing and advertising, but without the risk of reducing profits.
- The desire to customize a product or service as much as possible is easily realized using the results of data analysis, which now read almost the consumer’s intention.
- It becomes possible to have truly flexible pricing that does not infringe on the interests of either the seller or the buyer.
- It is much easier to optimize the work of personnel and increase the efficiency of work processes.
And this is only part of the opportunities becoming available to large and small businesses. It is equally important to use the “Internet of Behavior” to reduce commercial risks to almost zero in the event of a repeat of events similar to the COVID-19 epidemic since it greatly simplifies any formats of remote interaction and management.
Where and how is IoB used today?
The Internet of Behaviors (IoB) is an emerging technology, and its use is still limited. However, some organizations already use IoB to improve operations and provide better customer service. Here are some examples of where and how IoB is used today:
- Retail: Retailers use IoB to analyze customer behavior in stores and online. They use data from mobile devices, social media, and other sources to personalize shopping experiences and offer targeted promotions. For example, a retailer might use data on a customer’s purchase history to recommend products they are likely interested in.
- Healthcare: IoB is also used to monitor patient behavior and improve patient outcomes. Wearable devices and other sensors can track patient activity levels, sleep patterns, and other vital signs. This data can be used to personalize treatment plans and improve patient adherence to medication regimens.
- Transportation: IoB technology is also used to monitor driver behavior and improve road safety. For example, vehicle sensors can detect when a driver is distracted or tired and provide alerts to prevent accidents.
- Banking: Banks are using IoB to detect fraud and prevent money laundering. They use data from social media, transaction histories, and other sources to identify suspicious activity and prevent financial crimes.
- Law Enforcement: Law enforcement agencies also use IoB to monitor and predict criminal behavior. For example, predictive policing algorithms can use crime patterns data to identify areas at higher risk of illegal activity.
IoB is used in various industries to improve customer experiences, monitor behavior, and provide better services. As technology advances, we will likely see even more applications of IoB in the future.
The moral and ethical aspects of data collection through the Internet of Behaviors
Data collection in the Internet of Behaviors (IoB) raises several moral and ethical concerns. These concerns include privacy, consent, and the potential for data misuse.
- Privacy: Collecting personal data from individuals without their knowledge or consent raises serious privacy concerns. As IoB technology collects data from various sources, individuals must be informed of what data is being collected, how it will be used, and who will have access to it.
- Consent: Individuals must provide explicit and informed consent to collect their data. This means that they must be informed of the purpose of the data collection and have the option to opt out of data collection.
- Misuse of data: The data collected through IoB technology can be misused for various purposes, including surveillance and discrimination. For example, employers could use data to monitor employee behavior outside of work, potentially leading to discrimination and unfair treatment.
- Bias and discrimination: There is also a risk of prejudice and discrimination in the data collected through IoB technology. This can happen if the data collected is representative of only some of the population or if algorithms used to analyze the data contain inherent biases.
- Transparency and accountability: Companies must be transparent about the data they collect and how they use it. They must also be accountable for any misuse of data.
To address these concerns, companies must prioritize privacy and ethical considerations in developing and deploying IoB technology. They must be transparent about their data collection practices and provide individuals with control over their data. Additionally, they must ensure that the data collected is used fairly and without bias. Finally, regulatory oversight must ensure that IoB technology does not result in discrimination or other unethical practices.
Prospects for the development of IoB
Experts and futurists unanimously agree that the development of the “Internet of Behavior” will cause evolutionary breakthroughs in almost all areas of activity.
In this direction, the emergence of Wi-Fi-controlled pacemakers and “smart lenses” that can not only correct vision but also collect data on the patient’s condition if he has chronic diseases is predicted. A “smart pill” or implant would enable health monitoring, and a brain-computer interface could help patients with neuromuscular transmission disorders.
Fashion, architecture, and interior design
In pessimistic forecasts, IoB jeopardizes the existing system of updating trends, seasonality, and fashionable colors in the interior or silhouettes in the wardrobe, which threatens the disappearance of the entire industry. According to optimistic forecasts, it will make it possible to separate the mass product even more clearly and elevate high fashion and the development of premium architectural and interior solutions to the rank of art.
Analyzing the content of the working day and tracking the state of the employee in the process, assessing the behavior of employees when communicating with clients, identifying potential areas of growth and interests, based on which individual training programs can be created – these and many other opportunities will bring the “Internet of behavior” to personnel management. The costs of searching and testing applicants, minimizing the “turnover” of personnel, flexible control, and, as a result, high satisfaction of the staff, whose professional skills can be “customized” for themselves – only part of the benefits that businesses will receive from the introduction of IoB in the HR industry.
Personalized collections of proposals for travel destinations, departure times, hotels, and excursion programs will increase the efficiency of tour operators and travel agencies and the degree of customer satisfaction. Servicing the emotions of a tourist, working with his impressions, which previously could only be provided by an exclusive concierge service, will become an everyday reality in the fields of tourism and hospitality.
Here, first of all, the “Internet of behavior” will improve the quality of a key indicator – security. However, the opportunity to optimize vehicle maintenance costs by analyzing the frequency and reasons for using the car and driving patterns looks no less attractive.
The insurance industry is also changing. It will be possible to determine the price of insurance not based on subjective parameters such as gender, age, and length of service but based on reliable, objective data. In turn, careful drivers, tourists, and homeowners will stop overpaying, covering the risks for less careful and responsible ones.
IoB will benefit UX and SEO, facilitating the work of specialists in these industries and increasing user satisfaction. Streaming services will offer viewers what they enjoy rather than a guess based on general data. In the coffee shop, the guest will be served the coffee that they want right now. And you can no longer try to guess what to give your wife or spouse for an anniversary – a startup will certainly appear that will provide 100% correct recommendations.
The Internet of Behavior is a technological revolution. Along with a host of potential benefits that could lead to explosive growth in many industries and improve the quality of life of people, it can be frightening with potential disadvantages and, to some, even seem like a realized dystopian scenario.
The development of technology constantly confronts humanity with the question of respecting the boundaries between utility and privacy. The “Internet of Behavior,” as a logical evolutionary step and a system that provides almost limitless opportunities in terms of commercial and social use, is still at the start and is of interest to businesses and concerns from human rights activists. However, with a reasonable approach and the timely development of legal and ethical standards and security norms, IoB will undoubtedly become a catalyst for the transition to a new technological level.