The concept of mining data to gain valuable insights into user preferences is far from new. Traditionally, companies relied upon physical surveys and in-person interviews to identify potential areas for business growth. Subsequent technological advancements gave enterprises opportunities to evolve their information-gathering infrastructure mechanisms. The humongous amounts of data generated by human activities over the internet have become a rich source of data-driven business decision-making and predictive analytics.
The Internet of Things (IoT) consists of everything from smartphones to smart homes and cars – basically anything electronic, connected to the internetwork which can transmit electrical information. With the upsurge in data volume, IoT is expanding rapidly. Intricately connected, this network of data is becoming complex, so is reliable information extraction.
In this article, we will talk about an idea that extends from the concept of IoT – the Internet of Behaviors and the challenges that we will face as this new trend gains popularity.
What is the Internet of Behaviors (IoB)?
Considering the significant amount of user data at our disposal, it is now possible to anticipate how the human mind works. This idea of predicting human decisions based on personalized data is not entirely a new one. Gote Nyman, a retired Psychology Professor at the University of Helsinki, was the first to come up with the concept in 2012. He said that it was possible to use behaviors for data mining, which seemed far off at the time. But less than a decade later, Gartner listed the Internet of Behaviors (IoB) as the top technological trends of 2021.
In his study, Nyman stated that implementing IoB was easy but accepting it psychologically was the tricky part. The idea behind this concept is to amass user data for predictive data analysis to understand the consumers, strategizing business plans in accordance with the way human psychology works.
Experts have been trying to analyze user data to gain meaningful insights into businesses through data analytics and tools like A/B testing. With IoB gaining significant popularity, enterprises can also perform predictive analysis that will significantly impact how they will plan the product development and marketing approaches.
The Internet of Behaviors can be quite useful in several scenarios like:
Businesses will know more about us than we can anticipate
In many ways, IoB is already underway. For example, with smartphones today, companies can track online customer transactions. They have information about user interests and, they can adopt marketing strategies based on it, allowing organizations to alter their products based on consumer preferences.
Influence our decision-making process
IoB can also prove to be quite essential in altering human behaviors and decision-making processes. For example, during the on-going pandemic, enterprises can leverage IoB through Computer Vision to ensure that the staff is wearing masks at the workplace, which can help in establishing a healthier work environment. Taxi-hailing software can also make use of IoB to check driver behaviors, promoting a safe driving experience. With such IoT applications underway, we can direct human behaviors towards a desirable, positive outcome.
Looking towards enhanced marketing strategies
With data becoming user-centric, the dynamics of the on-going marketing strategies will need to change. Analyzing data through a psychological-driven behavioral-lens will impact the products and services that organizations are offering and their marketing strategies. Enterprises will need to hire Data Science and behavioral psychology experts to understand data and perform informed business decisions.
Like with every technology, IoB comes with its set of security problems. Enterprises need to understand that the data that they have is critical. Therefore, its usage should be transparent. Some of the challenges that the IoB industry will most likely face are:
An increase in cybercrimes
Unauthorized data access will be a big challenge that the organizations implementing IoB will need to cater to. Cybercriminals will have the ability to hack into systems and retrieve personal user information for unlawful gains. Phishing will likely reach new levels and, impersonating individuals for fraudulent activities will become common. The consequences of such malpractices can be insurmountable if hackers gain access to critical data like user bank codes or other personal information.
Although experts are already investing substantial time and resources in improving the existing cybersecurity mechanisms, with the way IoT is evolving, this progression needs to be very fast.
Sticking to the cultural norms
Chrissy Kid, a technology author:
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.
The way IoB is embedding itself into everyday user life, a change in the cultural norms is necessary. In the interconnected world of technology, it is not a problem for businesses to link smartphones with various home-based appliances, laptops, and other smart devices. They may further dig deeper into cell phone records to retrieve personal user data. Big game players in the IT field are even selling user data across organization lines which, may or may not be with permission.
The way forward
According to Gartner, by 2023, enterprises will be able to track 40% of the world population digitally so that they can impact human behavior, a significant step towards progress in this domain. Furthermore, paired with the Internet of Things(IoT), it can completely alter the dynamics of the modern world because data is getting bigger and, IoB can help predict and analyze these zettabytes of information for enhanced business growth and decision-making capabilities.