Can Internet of Behaviour (IoB) influence Consumer choices?

Data has been one of the most important tools since the Internet era started. The Internet of Things (IoT) further paved way for collecting and exchanging of data over the Internet via a network of interconnected physical objects. The data thus collected by the IoT devices provide valuable information about users’ behaviour, interests and preferences which led to a new technology area named IoB (Internet of Behaviour).


The Internet of Behaviour emergence provides more opportunities to collect and analyse data. This is the trend that will ensure that companies continue to grow in the face of significant upheaval related to COVID-19 and the economic climate of the world. Analysts see a variety of ways to use IoB in business, sales, finance, insurance and so on. In the strategic predictions for 2020, Gartner stated that we will be increasingly aware of IoB in the years to come and the technology will be prevalent in the coming years. It also predicted that by the year 2023, the individual activities of 40% of the global population will be tracked digitally to influence human behaviour.


What exactly is IoB and what does it contribute?

Internet of Behaviours (IoB) is the collection of data from various gadgets used by a user to capture, analyse, understand and respond to all types of behaviours in a way that allows tracking and interpreting those behaviours using emerging technological innovations. IoB in simple words refers to the process by which user-controlled data is analysed through a behavioural psychology perspective and the data thus collected is used to understand how to market the end products and services offered by companies.


People’s behaviours are monitored and incentives or disincentives are applied to influence them to perform towards a desired set of operational parameters. What is really relevant about IoB is that it not only helps in analysing behaviour but in detecting which psychological variables to be used to influence and bring about a certain outcome. To conduct IoB is technically not that complex as it is from a psychological perspective. This requires statistical studies to be conducted – mapping everyday habits and behaviours without fully disclosing consumer privacy for ethical and legal reasons.


According to Gartner, IoB combines technologies focused on tracking location and facial recognition of the people, connecting the data and mapping them to behavioural events. It can be considered as a combination of three fields viz. technology, data analytics and behavioural science. Behavioural science can further be divided into four areas that we consider when we use technology. These are decisions, emotions, augmentations and championships. For example, a health app on your smartphone can help you keep track your sleeping patterns, blood sugar levels or heart rate. The app can then alert you to adverse health situations and suggest behaviour changes for the positive and desired outcome.


Is IoB beneficial?

This evolving technology is proving beneficial in many from positively engaging customers, knowing where the customer’s interest in a product begins, their journey of purchase and the methodology they use to make their purchase. The IoB makes it easy to study previously unattainable data on how users interact with devices and products, obtain more detailed information about where a customer is in the buying process and analyse customer buying habits. Moreover, it provides real-time notifications, targeting and resolving problems quickly to close sales and keep customers satisfied.


Gartner predicts that by 2025, more than half of the world’s population will participate in at least one IoB program. In a few years, IoB will become an ecosystem that will define human behaviour in the digital world but despite all the convenience and benefits it will raise many questions, including those related to security.