The Internet of Behavior: A Boon for Businesses or an Ethical Nightmare?

You’ve heard a lot about IoT (Internet of Things), but get ready for the Internet of Behavior. IoB seems like the natural progression of IoT, the numbers of which swelled massively in just half a decade. 

While IoB seems like great news for businesses hopping onto the digital transformation wagon, it is more than just a very fancy marketing tool. Instead, there are several delicate ethical issues that need to be approached with nuance. This article will look at some of the ways in which the Internet of Behavior is a great thingーand a few things we all need to be aware of.

What is the Internet of Behavior?

Before we get started on IoB, let’s step back and take a long, hard look at IoT. It gathers and swaps information across the internet through a connected system of physical objects. The IoT isn’t fixed in time or place; instead, it grows and changes and becomes more complex with the increase of networks and data exchange.

This massive collection of information through IoT began to create a pattern or picture of user/customer preferences, choices, and behavior. This became known as the Internet of Behavior (IoB). 

What makes it so interesting (in a sci-fi sort of way) is that the IoB can analyze this information from a psychological behavioral perspective. It can analyze the data collected to gain next-level insights and apply them to different business areas, like marketing, research, and advertising.

The IoB gathers this information by collecting digital dust from users as they journey to different parts of the internet. And while digital dust may sound super cool and futuristic, it is simply the traces of ourselves we leave behind online from which one can get the idea of our tastes, interests, and even a bit of our personalities!

How Does the IoB Impact Businesses?

Put simply, the IoB is great for most client-facing businesses. It stands to revolutionize market research because it allows businesses to get a complete picture of their audiences’ choices, habits, personalities, and preferences.

The data gathered by IoB will derive new insights that drive decision-making in the advertising and marketing sectors. Engaging with customers will become easier than ever, and businesses will understand exactly what the customer wants in a product or the kind of service they are looking for. Businesses are in a unique position because they can partially understand the psyche of individual customers, thus anticipating their needs, or predicting how customer preferences can change.

Similarly, businesses will be able to perceive consumer spending patterns and buying preferences across different stores, outlets, and even franchises. This means certain products, services, and even experiences can be tailored to the tastes of their customers, which goes a long way in obtaining customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Understanding how customers interact with your organization and its products is another aspect that comes to good use. In addition, IoB helps business leaders put themselves in the shoes of their customers: what they want, how they think when buying something or using a product. These unique insights can result in better decision-making, especially when it comes to marketing research. 

Together with artificial intelligence, IoB can change the way businesses operate and interact with their customers and is yet another example of how digital transformation can put customer satisfaction front and center for mutual benefit.

What Are the Ethical Issues Regarding the Internet of Behavior?

As with all things that involve collecting user data, there are some pitfalls of the IoB. This is complicated by the psychological aspect of the Internet of Behavior. The most obvious one is data security. If information about customers falls into the wrong hands, malicious hackers can blackmail and extort people, leading to disastrous consequences.

Moreover, one might wonder, just how much information about customers is too much? Things like personalized ads can be useful, but they can also be intrusive, annoying, and even downright creepy. 

Businesses have a reputation to responsibly collect and use the data gathered from customers, whether the data was gleaned by digital dust or willingly divulged by consumers. Privacy and respect for consumer data should be a priority no matter what.

Wrapping Up

What makes IoB so fascinating, is its uncanny ability to understand human nature and derive valuable insight from the traces of individuals left across the internet landscape. It basically analyses behavior and creates a profile that makes it easier for businesses to serve their base of customers. And in doing so, it redefined the scope of customer service and experiences.

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