The Internet of Behaviours – A Paradigm Shift

The Internet of Things has played an explosive role in the technological revolution of today, which has led to the creation of smart systems and environments. But the truth is, although we hear the term a lot, we may not fully understand what the Internet of behavior is capable of, and also how we can be a part of it.

We decode it here.

Table of contents:

Internet of Behaviour - Definition

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a field that brings together different entities such as the Internet, sensors, and processors among others, to develop a system that is capable of processing data derived from the nodal devices for the purpose of monitoring and controlling an environment. With billions of IoT devices currently deployed all over the world, there clearly isn’t a dearth of data. However, the enormous amount of data generated by the IoT devices wasn’t being manipulated to understand human behavior, which paved the way for an upgrade in the form of the Internet of Behaviors.

The Internet of Behavior or IoB is a concept that brings together the best of data analysis, behavioural analysis, and technology along with human psychology. Through this amalgamation, the system is able to predict human behavior, draw insights from available data, and even influence human behavior based on the activities and interests of persons collected from their interactions. Organizations that are looking to sell products or services can influence our behavior based on targeted content that has been curated specifically for an individual based on their preferences and interactions.

The data is collected using the same methods that IoT uses to collect data. Although most IoT devices seem to work on a surface level where they collect data from sensors and other connected devices, IoB collects information from transactions, geo-tagging activities to relate particular locations to certain interests, browser history and cookies, social media interactions to understand what every user relates to, and other online activities that reflect personal behaviour.

The data that is collected from all of these sources are then processed through various means in order to understand what kind of data needs to be generated for an individual. For example, if a device picks up instances of a person’s increased interaction with grocery shopping, targeted ads or suggestions could pop up in that person’s feed related to various offers and discounted prices for groceries. And that is just one of the myriad possibilities.

Different applications of IoB

Due to IoB’s ability to generate insights for individuals, it can be used in many applications that provide very specific and personalized support to users. A few of them are discussed below.

a. Digital Marketing and Advertising/ Social Media

Based on customer interactions with specific products, marketing agencies and organizations can personalize advertisements so that every individual sees what piques their interests the most. For example, if a sensor or a device understands that a person spends more time at the gym, then he would get advertisements about brands that sell protein supplements, gym trainers, equipment, etc. If a person focussed on training a specific muscle all the time, the wearable could essentially advise him to shift his focus and train other body parts as well. Noticed how Google or YouTube advertises products you had searched for within the last hour or discussed with your friends? Yup, connected devices making use of IoB.

b. Healthcare

A large number of the world’s population currently suffer from chronic illnesses. Healthcare providers can monitor their patients’ behavior in real-time. From understanding how to react to certain medications to keep a tab on their regimens, physicians can now do everything with the help of Internet of behaviors. What’s more, these devices can be trained to give out insights based on user activities so that the healthcare providers can easily form diagnoses.

c. Government/Policymaking

The government can use the data generated by IoB devices to track the activities of persons of interest and avoid mishaps from taking place. The government can also undertake surveys to understand what the citizens are collectively interested in and track behavioral patterns of large groups to maintain law and order. Of course, there is an element of over-regulation but a committee to monitor such activities could also be set up to uphold the privacy of citizens.

d. Insurance

In sectors like vehicle insurance, the insurance companies could monitor the activities of drivers using IoB to gauge their roles in accidents so that insurance companies can correctly identify whose fault the mishap was.  These devices could also play a role in preventing driving under influence or even identify medical emergencies.

These are only a few of the areas where IoB’s use has been prevalent. Other areas include defense, facial recognition, geolocation-based activity reminders, and predictions, finance management, efficiency and productivity, cutting costs, and industrial automation among others.

The Internet of Behavior and our society

With the Internet of Behavior set to keep a tab on the activities of approximately 40% of people across the world, we are set to witness a large-scale, individual-centric approach to data analytics. By monitoring the behavior of people, these systems can predict patterns that can be used to link behavior to activities. For example, in the current scenario, an IoB network based on facial recognition and image processing could be implemented to check whether people wear masks or not.

Although IoB has the potential to be a game-changer, it does have its drawbacks and ethical concerns. Because of its dependence on data related to human interactions and activities for personalized analytics, many have been concerned about privacy issues and other threats that may stem from constant monitoring. However, some applications in the fields of defense, healthcare, and finance are set to gain advantage of constant monitoring and analysis. In fact, with enough transparency to the system and better security, the IoB technology can prove to be a valuable addition to our technological arsenal.

Opportunities in the field

The popularity of Internet of behaviour has been increasing manifold recently which has opened up some interesting career opportunities for those looking to be a part of the revolution. Some of them are listed below.

  • IoB architect
  • IoB developer
  • Data Analyst
  • Researcher
  • IoB solutions engineer
  • Sensor architecture and design
  • Software development
  • UI/UX design
  • AI and ML engineer
  • Network engineer
  • Cyber security engineer
  • Embedded systems programmer

These aren’t the only opportunities available for those looking to jumpstart their career in internet of behaviours. Technicians are also in great demand within the field due to the nature and the sheer number of devices that are deployed. It goes without saying that possessing the right skills can improve one’s chances of landing a great job!

The necessary skills to begin a career

Starting out in the field of IoB can be tricky if one doesn’t possess the right skills. Listed below are some of the most sought-after skills in the industry.

  • Analytical skills
  • Behavioral Science
  • Data management
  • User application development
  • Sensor development
  • Software development
  • Data acquisition and management
  • Cloud/edge computing
  • Business intelligence
  • Software testing
  • Programming knowledge in Python, JavaScript, embedded languages etc

The future of the Internet of behavior

Personalizing information is the future. Targeted advertisements, custom notifications and reminders, data acquisition for personalized care, and influencing behaviour positively are some of the applications that are set to see a reinvigorated approach with the inclusion of IoB technology. With almost 3 billion people set to experience IoB in various capacities, the technology is sure to have an impact on the future of service effectiveness. However, as IoB is still in its nascent stage, all we can do now is wait for it to unfold its potential.

Keep watching this space to know more about the different courses that one could take up in order to learn all there is to know about the Internet of Behaviors.

Check out also what is a difference between old and new economy.

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