Gartner: The Internet Of Behaviors Will Transform IoT

August 3, 2021  |  Mark Hillary

The industry analyst Gartner recently published their guide to the top strategic technology trends we need to be aware of in 2021. One key trend I noticed when reading the document was how they believe that the world we presently talk of as the Internet of Things (IoT) is evolving into the Internet of Behaviors (IoB).

I’m not sure if the Gartner name will catch on as it has taken many years for the industry to even accept and understand IoT, but it’s interesting to observe how they believe the IoT will develop to capture the digital dust everyone now leaves.

I think that perhaps ‘digital breadcrumbs’ is an even better description because it is this trail that advertisers are constantly following now.

“This information can be used by public or private entities to influence behavior. The data can come from a range of sources, from commercial customer data to social media to facial recognition, and as more and more data becomes available, the IoB will capture increasing amounts of information.”


Gartner is really describing a world where almost all our actions are measured by sensors and recorded – for private or public use. I know that – I am often surprised by how much data my iPhone captures without me even asking for it. I can see how far I walked, how many floors I climbed, how many steps I took and an exact map of where I have been – and that’s all captured by default without me needing to set up any specific monitoring apps.

Insurance companies today are often asking drivers if they can monitor car use in real-time. The advantage for the driver is that the insurance can be priced more competitively if the driver can prove that they drive carefully and rarely drive at night. This ability to price risk more accurately also works better for the insurer. However, if the insurance company is cross-checking driver location against known locations of crimes in partnership with the local police then is that an invasion of personal data or a useful civic duty?

I recently wrote another article for IBA about the development of digital twins into healthcare – I think that this is going to be a dramatic move forward in how sensors inside the IoT are used, but the question of privacy remains.

For example, if I know I have a heart problem and my cardiologist creates a model of my heart so he or she can compare feedback from my real heart with the digital twin in real time then this has tremendous potential for my health. My doctor should be able to use the model to predict any problem before it happens, but does a private company or government now have access to a real-time model of my heart?

To my mind, what Gartner is describing as an evolution from IoT to IoB is really this transition from being aware of what we are sensing and collecting and then moving into an environment where everything is monitored by default. Our health, our finances, our travel… every interaction. Everything.

As the insurance example indicates, there can be serious consumer benefits, but strong oversight is required for the public to trust these systems and all governments should stay well away from citizen data – but I doubt that is going to happen. Unless people are aware of what is about to happen.

Read more about IoT and how it creates a need for digital twins and what gives a dramatic boost to digital twins.

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