The IoB extends from the IoT (the Internet of Things), the interconnection of devices resulting in a wide variety of new data sources.
Data mining is not a new concept. Since the advent of the Internet, data has been essential in identifying who uses the Internet and what sites they visit.
The emergence of IoT provides much more data to collect and analyze. And with more data, you get more access to information about how users behave.
Companies that sell and get people to use IoT devices are not about selling them more convenience (like a smart watch). It's about connecting people on the Internet of Behavior.
IoT devices connect people with IoB. The Internet of Behavior extends from IoT through the interconnection of devices resulting in a wide variety of new data sources.
In addition to getting data directly from customers, companies also collect non-customer information by sharing it across connected devices.
All the technology-induced devices around us act as a portal to collect information. A single smartphone can track a person's online movements as well as geographic positions in real time.
From now on, it will not be difficult for companies to link smartphones, laptops and desktops with home devices such as voice assistants, remote cleaners and car cameras.
In its recent strategic predictions for 2021, Gartner announced that the Internet of Behavior is something that we will be increasingly aware of in our daily lives and in our work.
It combines existing technologies that target the individual directly like facial recognition, location tracking and big data, for example, and connects the resulting data with associated behavioral events like cash purchases or device usage.
Organizations can easily influence human behavior using the method. For example, companies working on physical structures during a pandemic are taking a huge risk.
Therefore, it is the responsibility of the authorities to ensure that everyone wears masks and follows social distancing. By leveraging IoB through computer vision, authorities can see if employees are following protocols.
However, there is a dark side to IoT and the integration of behavioral data may allow cybercriminals to access sensitive data that reveals consumer behavior patterns, experts believe.
Cybercriminals can collect and sell hacked property access codes, delivery routes, and even bank access codes to other criminals; the potential is infinite.
The other possibility is that they could take phishing to a new level by being able to impersonate people for fraud or other nefarious purposes.
The rapidly expanding network of IoT devices means that new cybersecurity protocols are being developed and companies need to be ever more vigilant and proactive.
As Chrissy Kidd, technology researcher and author explains at the BMC blog, “The IoT itself is not inherently problematic; Many people like to sync their devices and derive benefits and convenience from this setup. Instead, the concern is how we collect, navigate and use data, particularly at scale. And we're starting to understand this problem."
He further asserts that the IoB approach, which interconnects our data with our decision-making, requires a change in our cultural and legal norms.
“The IoT does not collect data solely from your relationship with a single company. For example, a car insurance company may look at a summary of your driving history. As a society, we have decided that this is fair. But insurers can also track your social media profiles and interactions to 'predict' whether you are a safe driver, a questionable and extralegal move,” Kidd writes.
It's not hard for businesses to link your smartphone with your laptop, your home voice assistant, cameras in your home or car, and maybe your cell phone records (text messages and phone calls).
Also, it's not just the devices themselves. Behind the scenes, many companies share (sell) data across business lines or with other subsidiaries. Google, Facebook, and Amazon continue to acquire software that potentially lures the user of a single app into their entire online ecosystem, often without our permission.
This, according to Kidd, presents significant legal and security risks, and there is little legal protection for these concerns.
The road ahead of the Internet of Behaviors
IoB is still in its infancy, but as more new data and analytics become available (growing due to IoT), companies need to make sure they understand consumer behaviors or trends in order to do so.
A strong data security posture followed by best practices in data governance, the introduction of cyber security training and awareness programs would help businesses stay ahead of the curve.
In fact, Gartner sees the IoB becoming prevalent soon, by the end of 2025, more than half of the world's population will be subject to at least one IoB program, either commercial or government.
Furthermore, by 2023, Gartner predicts that the individual activities of 40% of the world's population will be digitally tracked to influence our behavior. That's over 3 billion people! The IoB will challenge “what it means to be human in the digital world” and that is something to watch out for.