What, you ask, is the Internet of Behavior, also known as IoB? Good question. This term is suddenly becoming more common after the pandemic, and it’s a concept with important implications for the future. IoB refers to internet-connected technologies that collect, integrate, and analyze data related to people’s behavior within a space.
Will the Internet of Behavior Improve Everywhere You Go?
How people interact with space has become extremely relevant in the wake of the pandemic. When a deadly virus can spread through minimal contact, it’s vital to manage public health and maintain social distancing by whatever means necessary. That’s where IoB comes in.
Better Understanding the IoB Space
Many workplaces welcoming employees back on site for the first time in over a year now have IoB technologies installed. So, for example, there could be RFID tags tracking hand-washing or sensors detecting mask-wearing, coupled with automated alerts if someone isn’t following protocols. These are some of the most common applications for IoB technologies right now, but they’re hardly the only ones.
Combining data from multiple technologies (cameras, scanners, sensors) and multiple sources (private sector, public sector, social media) helps distill the dynamism of spaces filled with human beings into a format ripe for analysis.
Understanding how and why people occupy spaces helps those spaces become safer, cleaner, more convenient, and more attractive — better in every way.
IoB allows us to know what we couldn’t know before — which means that we can improve and innovate upon spaces in ways that used to be impossible.
How We Live
There are plenty of reasons to be excited about IoB — and to be alarmed about a world that tracks our every move. But, unfortunately, both sides of the coin require debate because it looks all but assured that IoB technologies would one day be everywhere.
Rapid expansion looks likely, given how many different things IoB can do.
Consider that there are already billions of connected devices collecting data about where people go and what they do on a very granular level. Those devices are in offices, stores, and restaurants — not to mention in our cars, phones, and wearable devices, all collecting troves of data about the details of modern life.
There will be more than 42 billion connected devices in use by 2025, generating more than 1 billion GB of data daily.
Previously, we used this data only for specialized purposes like tracking our health, and we made minimal effort to integrate disconnected data sources. IoB, at its core, is about using more of this data to understand more about how we live.
Fixing Complicated Problems with IoB
The implications are huge, yet the applications are hyper-specific. For instance, a company could use IoB to track when people join and leave Zoom meetings over time and then use that data to set a better schedule.
Another use would be deploying facial recognition technology during the meeting to track the participant’s facial cues and identify employees who may feel overworked or under-engaged, thereby allowing for early intervention instead of inevitable burnout.
IoB applications aren’t limited to the workplace, either.
Traffic data could be used to prevent slowdowns and accidents and design future roadways for maximum safety and efficiency. Crowd data could be used to keep protests or large celebrations from erupting into riots, just as it could help more people pass through airport security in less time. Schools could even use IoB data to help prevent or stop school shootings and fights.
Any place where people interact could literally leverage IoB to identify and eliminate pain points for all involved.
Where IoB Could Go Wrong
It’s not at all an overstatement to say that IoB can solve some of the most common, consequential, and complex problems affecting humanity. But, unfortunately, these outcomes are far from guaranteed.
IoB may be promising — but it’s also problematic for many reasons.
Because internet-connected devices are currently subject to relatively few regulations, it’s often up to whoever collects data to decide how to use it. Harnessing the power of IoB will require sharing that data early, frequently, and completely. But sharing it will also require a firm commitment to ethics and a clear understanding of how things could go wrong.
Good Versus Evil
Here’s a hypothetical that illustrates the fine line that IoB must walk: Let’s say a surveillance company has data showing everywhere someone went for the past month. The company may agree to share that data with a partner as long as the person’s identity is obscured or to supply it to a judge who issues a warrant. However, they could also decide to sell that data to the highest bidder or give it to government officials who use it to quell dissent.
For every piece of IoB data, there are ways to use it ethically or exploitatively.
Another potential drawback is that people’s movements aren’t great indicators of their motives. For instance, if a fitness tracker registers that someone heads for the bedroom every night at 3 a.m., are they staying up so long because they’re working late, partying hard, or struggling with insomnia?
Enough IoB data can usually answer that question. When it can’t, however, it leaves companies with lots of data and very few actual insights.
How We Make IoB Work
Companies involved with IoB, whether with developing or implementing the technology, need to seriously take legal and ethical issues. The question remains, will the companies do the ethical thing? And then think of the costs. Who bears the costs of keeping the internet safe? You? The government? The company?
They must be transparent about what data they’re collecting and why.
More importantly, however, companies and individuals need to use IoB as a force of good: something that improves people’s experience rather than punishing, rejecting, or stalking them.
In a nightclub, for example, IoB could help monitor the sentiment of the crowd and then adjust the ambiance accordingly by playing different music. Armed with this information, the nightclub could be admitting more or fewer people, switch drink specials, or tweaking the lighting.
Over time, this data could help a club owner fine-tune a space that makes everyone feel like a VIP when they step inside. But potentially more important, the club owner will increase his business by catering to his customers’ special needs and wants.
Endless IoB Possibilities
Another area where IoB could have tremendous impacts without raising ethical concerns is inside the home, where people control what technology sees and tracks. For example, the right mix of technologies could detect when someone is running late for work and then automatically turn up the bedroom lights, start the coffee maker, and get the car warmed up.
As long as we get creative and stay conscientious, there’s little that IoB can’t transform for the better.
Image Credit: jacek dylag; unsplash; thank you!
RUSSIA’S DEFAULT IS A REALITY AS GRACE MONTH IS OVER
Russia’s default has finally arrived on its sovereign debt in foreign currency for the first time in more than a century. Moscow has been unable to pay the interest on two bonds in dollars despite having enough foreign exchange reserves to do so. Investors assure that they have not received payment after the grace month.
Russia is showing the consequences of the sanctions the West has massively imposed on it after the war against Ukraine.
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For months, the country has managed to find ways and shortcuts to wade through the measures that tried to isolate the government of Vladimir Putin and make the country fall into technical default. In the end, the West has achieved its goal, albeit somewhat later than expected.
Although Russia had the capacity to meet this payment, leading economic indicators —the composite PMI sank in March and remain below 50, indicating that the economy is contracting— reveal that the country is facing one of the major economic crises of recent decades.
With double-digit inflation and several leading companies on the way out, Russia will face a deep recession and perhaps years of economic stagnation.
The one-month grace period expired on Sunday on around $100 million of trapped interest payments due May 27, a deadline that is considered an event of default if not paid in the correct currency, according to Bloomberg.
Russia’s default is also backed by other data. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reveals that the Russian Government had a debt of around $40 billion in hard currency at the end of 2021 —a relatively small amount.
Although the total foreign debt exceeds $470 billion, only part of that amount is in foreign currency and a smaller part is still a liability to the Russian Government.
This is a clear symptom of the rapid transformation that the country is facing, both financially and economically. Russia will have to go on without the foreign capital flows that have historically helped finance investments in emerging countries.
The nation’s Eurobonds have been trading on the secondary market at very low levels since early March, while the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves remain frozen. Russia’s largest banks are cut off from the global financial system, leaving the country in isolation.
Published First on ValueWalk. Read Here.
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Take Inspiration From Trending and Successful eCommerce Businesses
Believe it or not, online shopping has become a massive trend nowadays, and its popularity is increasing daily. Of course, we were already in the era of digitalization, but this entire pandemic situation has made eCommerce industries flourish more than expected in the last few years.
Nowadays, everything is digitized as people buy food, groceries, cosmetics, clothes, and even electronic gadgets online. This digital revolution has made it easier for creative founders to convert their dreams and ideas into a waking reality.
Old ways and patterns of handling businesses are changing every day, and business owners need to adapt to the fluctuating market trends. And in this, some trending eCommerce businesses have taken this eCommerce industry to a whole new level. They are ruling and conquering like a boss.
Here in this blog, we will be discussing such inspiring eCommerce businesses. So, keep reading to find out more and cope for the better.
What are The Types of eCommerce Businesses?
E-commerce businesses are not limited to one particular business model. Instead, there are various sorts of eCommerce business models as per their business offerings. So have a look at some of the highly prevalent eCommerce models.
- Business to Consumer (B2C): The process of selling from business to customer comes under B2C type E-commerce.
- Business to Business (B2B): The buying and selling process between businesses comes under the B2B type of E-commerce.
- Direct to Consumer(D2C): This new idea of selling directly to end customers without the involvement of any retailer comes under D2C type E-commerce.
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C): Consumer-to-consumer sales on platforms like eBay, Etsy, Fiver, and many more come under C2C type E-commerce.
- Consumer to Business (C2B): An individual selling their services to different businesses comes C2B type E-commerce.
Examples of Successful E-commerce Businesses
1. Warby Parker
Warby Parker is popularly known for producing designer, reliable and inexpensive frames for eyeglasses. An MBA student, Neil Blumenthal, and 3 of his friends launched this eCommerce company in 2010. They proposed the idea in 2008, and took nearly two years to implement.
Their idea of business was something very essential at that period because Luxottica (Another eyewear brand) was one of the few companies that used to sell designer and reliable frames, but they were costly as compared to Warby Parker.
Warby has a free try-on policy with free shipping and numerous return offers, and this is what the brand has adopted to stand out from the crowd and appeal to its customers.
An online Mattress retailer is helping people sleep better and comforting their sleep cycle. The whole idea behind this business model was to help people realize the importance of sleep and how an adequate amount of sleep can increase their productivity and quality of life.
Their first-ever mattress was “Universal Adaptive feel.” It was so flexible that it could easily adjust to all body types.
The 100-night free trial policy worked well for their customers and made the business model a huge success. Leesa had traditional showrooms at first, but with time they also opened online stores.
ModCloth is an eCommerce company launched in 2002, selling women’s clothing worldwide. They sell fun and quirky clothes that are not so exclusive but are comfortable and budget-friendly.
Everything about their store is creative and exciting – which customers nowadays love. The copies describing their clothes are also fun to read because every product has a name and story behind it – now, this is something very catchy.
ModCloth became a brand within a few years of its launch because of its targeted marketing strategy. They know who their target audience is and what requirements they have. Knowing this has made their business reach exceptional heights within a short period of time.
Mostly we know Amazon was launched in 1995 as an online bookstore and has been flourishing since then. Now amazon is not limited to books anymore because now it sells almost everything you can think of. From groceries to clothes and even jewelry, Amazon has it all.
Right now, Amazon is one of the largest eCommerce stores by revenue worldwide. Though amazon started with no competitors, now it has Walmart as one of its biggest competitors. Last year Amazon made a revenue of $470 billion.
Amazon has adopted a stellar marketing strategy, which is targeting the right customer and offering products at comparatively lower rates.
Shopify is a SaaS (Software-as-a-service) company that provides all the tools needed by a business to run its eCommerce business smoothly. It helps them with website building, marketing, payment processing, financial tracking, and everything in between.
It is a tech infrastructure that supports more than 2 million merchants and various operations ranging from mom-and-pop businesses to global brands. Shopify made $389 million in revenue in 2016 to $4.6 billion in revenue in 2021.
The profitability of Spotify has been improving with time because, just like every SaaS business, it has also scaled up.
LARQ is a business model that makes self-cleaning water bottles that are reusable, rechargeable, and also have some advanced features. For example, it has UVC technology used to eliminate viruses & bacteria from water bottles.
LARQ has the initiative to provide clean water to everyone. They also raised $1.7 million for the same. In addition, LARQ donates 1% of its earnings to help maintain clean water worldwide.
The product was so unique and exciting that it attracted numerous customers. As a result, many environmentalists and aware citizens switched to these LARQ bottles and saved their money from buying single-use water bottles.
7. Beer Cartel
Beer Cartel, as the name suggests, is Australia’s number one beer subscription service. It is said that some ideas sell themselves; the same was the case with this one.
Beer Cartel sells beers from all around the world to their subscribers at their doorstep. This online store gives people the freedom to select their unique beer bottles at a price better than traditional stores.
One of the significant reasons for Beer Cartel’s success is that they offer exclusive taste under budget. In addition, they have a wide range of varieties that keeps their customers interested and coming back.
8. Berlin Packaging
Berlin Packaging is well known for sourcing, designing, and even distributing containers and closures for companies like fortune and various family-owned startups.
They have always provided products at a lower cost to their customers to increase the overall efficiency of their enterprise. One interesting fact about it is that it is not a new startup; it is 80 years old, in fact. But Berlin Packaging has somehow still managed to bring their customers the latest and top-quality beer.
They started this eCommerce business model to keep up with the times, which worked out well for them.
With the introduction of eBay, Bonobos knew that the eCommerce business was getting more competitive with each passing day. So, they introduced a unique business model targeting only a super-specific audience.
This strategy of narrowing down to a particular audience helped them make loyal customers who also flourished their business in the long run. Bonobo’s success made everyone realize that focusing on the competition is not good for your business’s health.
They should focus on the value they provide to their customers, and they will reach greater heights of success.
The name of the company seems fascinating, right? Well, so is their initiative. TOMS is an eCommerce company that sells its customers quality shoes that are reliable, comfortable, designer, and inexpensive.
What separates TOMS from other similar eCommerce is that with every transaction, they will help one in need. Yes! Not only this, but they also run various social media campaigns with hashtags like #withoutshoes and many more to stand out from the crowd.
Everything about their business model is catchy and interesting, making it easier for them to drive more traffic to their online shop.
What are the Biggest Benefits of eCommerce?
Shopping in the comfort of home: eCommerce has made shopping easier and more convenient for our customers. Buying and selling things is a child’s play nowadays. As a result, our purchases are simpler, faster, less time-consuming, and not so hectic.
Markets are globalized: Now, you can shop from anywhere around the world at the convenience of your home. The impact of eCommerce on the planet can easily be visible. There are no limitations or barriers to buying from a different state or country.
Building startups is not so expensive anymore! Yes, in this era of digitalization, anyone can set up their online store at a meager cost. In addition, the operating cost is minimal because both buyers and sellers are now digital.
Technologies are evolving rapidly because of this, eCommerce businesses have to see a lot of changes frequently.
If you have an eCommerce business that is not growing as expected, you must adapt to new business models that add value to your customer’s life and your e-commerce services (my business: krishaweb dot com).
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What Does the G7 Russian Gold Ban Mean for Gold Stocks?
The G7 plans to announce a ban on Russian gold imports. But does that really matter for investors? While there hadn’t been an official Russian gold ban until now, this news isn’t exactly a surprise to the industry. Today, we’re seeing that lack of reaction in gold prices.
Typically, a ban on imports for a particular commodity sends prices soaring higher. Just look at what happened to oil after Russia invaded Ukraine. As it pertains to gold, prices also initially ticked higher this morning, with the futures opening up by under 1%.
However, it has now turned lower on the day, as have the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX) and the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDXJ).
Does the Russian Gold Ban Matter?
This latest decision does matter. However, it will have a limited impact on the global gold market and gold-mining stocks. Warren Patterson, Head of Commodities Strategy at ING Groep NV (NYSE:ING), had the following to say:
“The impact from a ban on Russian gold imports by G-7 nations is likely to be fairly limited, given that the industry already took steps to restrict Russian gold […]It looks as though its largely symbolic.”
Russia has the world’s fifth-largest gold stash according to the World Gold Council. However, it only exported roughly 5% of the world’s gold supply in 2020. A bulk of those exports — over 90% — went to the United Kingdom, a G7 member. Still, Russia will likely find buyers in China and India.
In actuality, the buying pool may shift, but it will not completely evaporate.
How Does This Affect Gold Stocks?
At this point, the ban does not seem to have much of an impact on gold stocks. There’s multiple reasons why this is the case.
- The industry seems to have largely prepped for such a ban.
- Russia is not that large of an exporter of gold.
- The efforts from central banks to raise interest rates and strengthen currencies is likely playing a more important role in regards to precious metal prices.
Ultimately, a Russian gold ban certainly doesn’t hurt gold prices — if anything, less supply is a bullish catalyst — but right now that catalyst is not reverberating through the market. However, removing Russian supply from the market will be a modest positive for gold miners.
Published First: InvestorPlace. Read Here.
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