From the creators of the Internet of Things, now comes the Internet of Behaviours. But is it a fashionable term or it’s actually something useful? What does this refer to, exactly? Let’s dive into understanding this new dimension of the IoT and how can companies benefit from it.
Differences between Internet of Things and Internet of Behaviours
The internet of things is a collection of physical objects or devices connected to the internet and with each other.
They capture information from the real world and pour it on the Internet.
A thing in the internet of things can be:
- A person with a heart monitor implant
- A dog with microchip identification
- A car that has built-in sensors
- Or any other object that can be assigned an Internet Protocol (IP) address and is able to process and transfer behavioural data over a network.
On the other hand, the Internet of Behavior gathers and analyzes the data generated from these sources. This includes digital devices, wearable computers and human online activities.
The data is then analysed in terms of behavioural psychology to look for patterns. These patterns can be used by marketers:
- To understand and monetize the massive amount of data produced by network nodes in the Internet of Things.
- To influence future consumer behaviour.
The IoB basically tries to address the question of how to understand the data that’s being received from IoT devices, and how to apply that understanding to create and market new products, all from a human psychology perspective.
What are the applications of IoB for companies?
What is really relevant about IoB is that it is not only descriptive, like analysing behaviour.
It’s proactive: it detects which psychological variables need to be influenced to achieve a certain outcome.
The IoB not only influences consumer choice but also redesigns the value chain.
While some users are wary of providing their data, many others will be willing to provide this data as long as it is of benefit to them and adds value.
Let’s see some examples of IoB:
Through the use of sensors in household appliances, in different elements such as light bulbs or smart switches, it is possible to automatically program a heater to turn on at the right temperature when we get home from work or a washing machine to turn on at a certain time.
Smart lighting typically uses a mesh network, where each smart bulb connects wirelessly to its nearest neighbour to form a network and provide more detailed information.
Ongoing analysis of our usage patterns will result in an increasingly personalised response from our smart home according to our habits and tastes.
This can lead to energy companies providing very personalised offers to gain new customers or motivate a certain behaviour in the ones they already have.
In this case, the Internet of Behaviors represents a new opportunity to uncover clusters of the audience to reach with highly-personalised products.
A clear example would be Tesla cars, capable of automating a large number of activities such as the use of lights, car suspension adaptation in bumpy roads, breeze wipers or making the garage door open just before we arrive.
Another example would be Uber’s company cars and using them to track drivers and passengers. At the end of each trip, a survey is conducted to evaluate the passenger experience. And by applying IoB, they can interpret the passenger’s experience to automatically work on the feedback.
In this case, the IoB provides the opportunity to continuously improve the customer’s experience based on what they saw, heard, experienced and provided as feedback.
More and more people are using wearables such as smartwatches or activity trackers on a daily basis. As they are connected to our smartphone and the internet, this allows them to collect a large amount of data about our health and activity and based on that, make us health recommendations tailored to our tastes and needs.
The connection between the healthcare system and smart IoB medical devices and thanks to IoB data processing has great benefits for both companies and patients.
Even if the device is not directly connected, data analysis can be used to alert in case of an emergency.
In addition, these IoT devices can collect data such as blood pressure, weight, height, sugar level, and store it online for doctors to access at any time.
Remote patient monitoring, glucose monitoring, hand hygiene monitoring, patient management in case of emergency, medication reminders and routine health check-ups, and finding the nearest healthcare resources to the patient, such as doctors, medicines, ambulance services, and various other healthcare aids, are some of the examples of healthcare monitoring devices.
Even further, it can inspire the development of new products and businesses oriented to optimize our health, such as the Veri device, which tracks metabolic response to what we eat in order to optimise nutrition or help keep metabolic diseases (like diabetes) under control.
Consumer lifestyle information is primarily collected through IoT devices that are part of our daily lives like home equipment, wearable devices, cars etc. The analysis of this information provides marketers with valuable insights about the use habits of products and services.
The IoB is enabling a more precise understanding of consumer behaviours, which allows it to conduct more accurate campaigns and offer services and products that satisfy consumers’ needs to a greater extent.
For example, thanks to data collection and analysis we can go a step further with SEO positioning and not only focus on keywords but base our content on the user’s search intent or voice searches, all thanks to the data collected from technologies like Siri, Google Home or Alexa.
A mandatory question: How does the Internet of Behaviors align with privacy matters?
The question about the privacy matter regarding the Internet of Behaviours is the same regarding the collection and use of customer data.
The research firm Gartner, which is the firm the term is originally credited to, warns us of the effect that local laws will have on how public and private organisations will use the data to influence behaviour.
IoB initiatives must be designed and used with the aim of providing added value to the consumers, otherwise, the whole concept risks being viewed negatively.
There are some ethical criticisms that have been raised around concerns about privacy and the potentially invasive nature of the Internet of Behaviours, which will probably need to be addressed if it is to be adopted on a wider scale.
As a company that wants to develop an IoB solution, consumer privacy should be the main focus, especially in today’s digital era, where consumer data is the new gold.
Most people respond positively to product suggestions and sales funnels tailored to their unique preferences and needs because they will put companies to working on improving their lives.
But for this to happen, it is essential to demonstrate a high level of security and protect the consumer information we analyse, and last but not least, to have a balance between personalised offers and intrusiveness to avoid a consumer backlash.