Five worthy reads is a regular column on five noteworthy items we’ve discovered while researching trending and timeless topics. This week let’s welcome a new acronym to the club — IoB (Internet of Behaviors) and assess its impact.

Internet of Behaviour

Illustrated by Ilamparithi Raju

Organizations are making the best use of analytics, A/B testing, and more amazing things to map the perfect customer journey. Here comes the missing piece to building an ideal user journey: Internet of Behavior (IoB).

What exactly does IoB change? How is it any better than the current technology we use? We all are aware of the famous acronym IoT (Internet of Things), a network of physical objects connected together to exchange data with other devices over the internet. IoB is an extension of IoT, as it understands the data provided via IoT and attaches it to users’ online activity. The data collected from the IoT is the base upon which organizations can plan their development and sales. It is essential to combine IoB into the digital marketing strategy to quickly gain the maximum number of satisfied users.

 IoB is the right blend of technology, data analytics, and behavioral science. As organizations learn more about their users via IoT, they can influence their behaviors via IoB. Consider a regular workout app. It recommends exercises daily, tracks your weight, and your daily activity. With the help of IoB, this app can also provide suggestions that impact the user’s behavior toward attaining the desired goal. This might involve modifying an action, recommending a new one, or promoting the sale of a service or product.

IoB is a powerful tool that can be used by companies to sell more, but it’s not only about targeted advertising. Data reaped from IoT is used for a variety of other purposes, like:

  • Testing the effectiveness of an organization’s campaigns

  • Personalizing content, and helping to develop other programs

  • Measuring actions surrounding activations and engagements

Gartner, in its strategic predictions for 2020, unveiled that by 2023 individual activities of 40% of the global population will be tracked digitally in order to influence our behavior. IoB will make us wonder what it means to stay human in this digital world. 

Although many marketers and behavioral scientists believe utilizing IoB can result in an increase in service efficiency, many users view it as an intrusion into their privacy and avoid it. IoB influences consumer choice, but it also redesigns the value chain. While most consumers indicate unhappiness at giving away their data “for free”, many are satisfied with doing so as long as it gives them added value. Accordingly, for an organization to deal with IoB, it has to conduct a variety of statistical studies that map everyday habits and behaviors without breaching privacy and legal bounds. 

Many experts consider IoT and IoB as problematic due to their lack of structure or regulation. The IoB approach, interconnecting our data with our decision-making, demands changes in both our cultural and legal norms, many of which were established before the internet age. It’s not just about the devices. Behind the scenes, many companies share or even sell data across company lines or with other subsidiaries. This presents significant security and legal risks, provided with little legal protection in place to address these concerns.

Here are five interesting reads we found that discuss various facets of IoB.

1. The Internet of Behaviors

This article explains how IoB can reveal broader consumer behavior patterns as well as specific consumer targeting. More data from more places will provide more insight into how users behave, and that data will be more accessible to marketers. The rapidly expanding network of IoT devices means that new cybersecurity protocols are in development and that businesses need to be ever more vigilant and proactive.

2. Internet of Behaviors is Critical to Remodeling Customer Experience and Business Innovation  

With IoT playing a vital role for many technology-led companies, incorporating behavioral intelligence can be a game-changer. It enables companies to integrate behavioral intelligence, which is critical to turn into a behavior predictor. Moreover, because behavior drives decisions, IoB sits at the center of everything. The author explains that the ability to perform behavioral analysis by collating data from IoT can help businesses craft and deliver solutions that redefine human experiences.

3. Could cybercriminals capitalize on renewed interest in the Internet of Behavior (IoB)?  

The author starts with explaining the power IoB holds, and the first real-life implementation as a response to COVID-19. However, in April 2021, Google and Apple both blocked updates for this IoB based contact-tracing app due to privacy concerns. We’ve already seen massive data breaches, and behavior-based IoB data has a high probability of being misused by cybercriminals.

4. Three Ways the Internet of Things Is Shaping Consumer Behavior  

As IoT records and transmits personalized data, providers can collect observational data from their users’ daily activity and experiment with it. The author also describes the three ways in which IoT will continually influence consumers’ choices through the collated data.

5. The IoT meets the Internet of Behaviors

As we can expect, the threat level and exploitation potential increases as IoT devices become easier to control. The author explains this through diverse situations to illustrate the point. A comprehensive risk management strategy and a robust approach to cybersecurity (with four key tenets) need to be developed. This will extend existing cybersecurity techniques to support these new classes of devices, and their new usage scenarios.

To learn more about the intentions behind IoB, take a look at this in-depth article by Göte Nyman. The author takes us through the core idea behind IoB and our random behaviors that are addressed by data giants. Nyman believes that being able to see the intentions of the human background to know what is about to happen in the connected world is doable.

However, we cannot forget, that IoB, like any other technology, has its risks, such as leakage of sensitive data, or additional security risks. As far as cybersecurity is concerned, the huge growth in the number of interconnected devices provides hackers with a bigger opportunity to target efficiently with better personalization. There has to be a pertinent balance between the benefits and the risks.