Just as we had started to understand what the Internet of Things (IoT) means for small businesses, it has now become essential to gain insight into the growing importance of the Internet of Behavior (IOB). Your organization should understand what the IOB is and how it will affect business and everyday life in the near future.
What is the IoB?
In short, the IoB refers to the analysis of all the behavioral data collected from the IoT and other sources and the attempt to make use of it. This data, which is amassed via personal wearable technologies as well as household electrical devices and individual online activity, provides valuable information about users’ behavior and interests. Using the IoT and IoB, it is now possible to track, collect, and interpret the massive amount of data generated through a variety of personal behavior and online activities including commercial transactions and social media habits.
The IoB concept revolves around the proper analysis and understanding of behavioral data, and the desire to apply that enhanced knowledge to create and promote customized products and services that will be of more value to the consumer and businesses. Corporations and other organizations are investing heavily in this technology to improve their bottom lines, but the IoB will also provide benefits to consumers by better tailoring goods and services to their needs and desires.
The Predicted Growth of the IoT and IoB
Whatever one’s take on the IoT and IoB is, experts predict that they will only continue to have more growth and influence in the near future. The technology experts at Gartner predict that there will be more than 25 billion connected devices by the end of 2021; the majority of the IoT is currently made up of smartphones, but other devices are becoming more common. The number of connected devices is expected to increase to more than 75 billion by 2025.
These experts further predict that by 2023 the individual activities of 40% of the global population will be tracked digitally in order to influence their behavior using the IoB concept. That percentage will represent more than 3 billion people worldwide in 2023.
Benefits of the IoB
For businesses, the main benefit of the IoB is the ability to analyze a wide range of consumer behavior and then effectively respond to it for their gain. Most commonly, businesses will use the IoB to market their products and services more effectively to current and potential customers and to influence them to purchase their offerings.
Even though businesses are trying to make profits using this technology, the IoB can also help consumers in many ways by providing data-driven value. One example would be an insurance company that would rework your premium based on your positive or negative health habits or your driving record. In another example, a financial company could utilize your personal data to encourage different types of savings or investing plans after analyzing your spending behavior.
In addition, individual health and lifestyle applications can assist the consumer in monitoring important variables such as sleep, diet, heart rate, weight, and blood sugar. The collection and tracking of this personal health data can help the individual, as well as their health care providers, formulate more targeted and effective treatments and recommendations for better physical and psychological health.
Companies will also be providing a service to individuals with access to this more insightful personal data as they will be able to resolve more potential issues ahead of time and provide improved products and services that will keep their customers happy.
Security and Ethical Concerns
As a result of the growing interconnectivity in all aspects of life, there is an ongoing debate about finding a legal and socially acceptable balance to the benefits and concerns of the IoT and IoB. Security experts note that most customers, while definitely being concerned with companies having too much access to their personal data, are willing to trade off an acceptable amount of privacy in order to get access to the best deals on products and services that matter to them. Similarly, most job seekers will accept some online investigation and analysis of their background by a potential employer if it is relevant to the position and results in finding them a better job fit.
For example, most people would find it acceptable for a logistics employer to gain access to a summary of your driving history, so that they could determine if there are any issues that might prevent you from being a productive delivery driver. However, the majority of people would balk at that same company diving deep into your social media activity to determine if you would fit in at their workplace. In a similar vein, most consumers would not object to a company reviewing and analyzing their latest purchases and searches on their company website, so that they could generate some customized and better targeted offers. However, most people do not like the idea of that same company analyzing their social media behavior. In short, both the ethics and legality of different aspects of the IoB remain unresolved.
In addition, with the rapid growth of the IoT and IoB, the rising number of interconnected devices presents a significant cybersecurity concern. As we have noted in our previous articles, every new portal connected to your personal or business network presents a corresponding threat for your sensitive data to be compromised or stolen. As the reach of IoT and IoB expands, our recommendation is to pay even greater attention to your cybersecurity efforts and follow good cyber hygiene at work and at home.
Consult with a Trusted IT Support Partner about the IoB
The growing importance of the IoB represents an area of opportunity and concern for your company. We recommend that you take the time to speak with a trusted IT Support partner, like Network Depot, to assess how this new concept could benefit your small business as well as how to minimize the threats associated with it. The technology experts at Network Depot will advise you on how to best utilize this groundbreaking new tool to ensure your organization continues to thrive.