The pandemic put a spotlight on “human behavior”. For the most part, the spread and containment of the virus depended on the behavior of the people. Basic hygiene items such as washing hands regularly and using face masks became important “social evidence” for COVID-19 security and as an extension, these behavioral trends figure in most “Emerging Technologies” lists.
For instance, Health Passports (with apps such as Aarogya Setu in India, Health Code in China) and Social Distancing Technologies became notable entrants in a Gartner 2020 Report.
Corporates have taken note of this and conversations that stayed limited to the Internet of Things (IoT), are now moving toward the Internet of Behavior (IoB). The rise of AI provides new vistas for data harvesting, data analytics and ensures the insights gleaned make the service offerings more customized, thereby positively influencing human behavior.
According to an HCLTech Trends and Insights article, IoB is a transformative approach that enables businesses to forge deeper customer connections and navigate the evolving landscape of consumer preferences.
However, for such transformative approaches, analytics cannot be focused on the bottom line alone. They should “nudge” human behavior too. Putting in sensors to track water, food wastage in cafeterias and using face IDs are ways corporates are already beginning to leverage the Internet of Behavior.
The evolving pyramid of IoB
The evolving pyramid of IoB is a journey from data toward wisdom, from awareness to behavioral influence. This enables Behavioral Experience Orchestration (BEO), where enterprises can tailor their communication with customers through personalized “Next Best Actions” and timely notifications. This is powered by an AI engine that processes past behavior of similar customers in real-time to feed in timely marketing interventions that meet a pre-determined success threshold. BEO is becoming a default reality.
All leading process orchestration technologies are AI infused today and they streamline the process value chain by keeping the desired human behavior at the center of the algorithm. HCLTech, for instance, analyzes water anomaly patterns and helps a large Australia based water and sewage company to flag community communication and minimize unplanned outages.
As the variety, velocity and veracity of data multiplies and as the AI Large Language Models (LLMs) become more capable, we can see the evolving pyramid of IoB come to life in each customer interaction.
By 2025, Gartner predicts over half of the world’s population will be subject to at least one IoB program. While this sounds foresightful, initiatives around the IoB will truly fructify when the foundational digital cogs synergize, connect and collude. Let us explore how.
Triangular forces affecting Internet of Behavior
The IoB is about utilizing data analytics to influence human behavior. Sensor led driver assistance systems, health apps that track our diet, sleep, heart and other metrics tracking tools that suggest “habit alterations” are examples of the IoB that are already affecting our daily lives.
But for this to be successful in an enduring manner, along with strong sensors that can track habits and send in data, we need to make the process user amicable to ensure adoption of these trackers as a good practice.
The three very important ingredients for IoB are:
- Robust platform and tools that can help create effective apps and sensors
- Effective data and analytics so that essential insights can be drawn from the underlying data
- Excellent user experience so that the application gets adopted in the first place
The first two ingredients become redundant if there is no adoption. However, if there’s adoption but not enough data harvested and insights drawn, user behavior can’t be suitably influenced either.
A holistic synergy and connection between the above three ingredients will be key to the success of the IoB.
A peek into the three IoB ingredients
1. Excellent user experience
Before creating engaging apps or experiences, it’s important to fundamentally reimagine the interaction patterns of the user, involve the users and evaluate their persona journeys, keeping the experience cohesive and relevant for the users.
Likewise, after any app comes to life, it’s important to convey the purpose, create a usage guide, train the users and reward them through a gamified experience.
For instance, HCLTech’s approach to human centered design, in transforming the experience of a leading Cricket Board’s digital app, has provided a boost to user adoption, usage and behavior influence.
2. Robust platform and applications
Language agnostic, API led, multi-format supporting platforms, with an ability to store data are important characteristics of modern-day platforms that help create state-of-the-art applications.
They bring in fungibility and power packed functionality that delights the users. The platforms should allow for channel customizability, enable replication of centralized updates, send actionable notifications, allow social media integration and keep the interface fun and interactive.
HCLTech’s implementation of a unified digital platform enabling a holistic experience across channels for fans of a professional football club is a wonderful case in point.
3. Data and analytics
For all the user adoption and robustness in these types of platforms, it is the underlying data captured through the app which serves as the true oil in lubricating and tempering the user behavior. Actionable insights can trigger timely notifications to users, prodding and encouraging them, sometimes even incentivizing them to adhere to a desired behavior, thus helping realize the true Internet of Behavior.
For instance, HCLTech analyzes shipment caging data and passes on insights on the common “caged” instances that saved a leading logistics customer up to ~40% custom penalties by enabling timely documentation. Actionable data is the soul of the IoB.
Ethical ramifications exist
With all the good intentioned track to positively influence behavior, an underlying current running in parallel is; How much is too much? Is it ok to track a driver’s behavior through their social media to determine whether they have been flouting the rules? That is stretching the rubber band a bit too much, almost in an immoral way.
So, it’s important for decision makers to respect the various privacy laws around the world such as GDPR, PDP, POPI and DPA, while they build such trackers.
Amongst the many things that the pandemic drew our attention to, one of the very important aspects is that of human behavior. Our behavior determines our safety in the world. It is a blessing that we have technology to guide and remind us of our behavior. The IoB is a product of this trend.
As enterprises put their intelligence to develop apps and sensors to keep a track on their employees’ behavior and to positively influence the behavior of their customers, let’s hope they take care of the ethical and moral ramifications and get the above three ingredients right — right platform, right data but above all right user experience — so that users feel happy and not burdened by the Internet of Behavior.