Canon: we are ready for the Internet of Behavior – Hot

Canon: we are ready for the Internet of Behavior

The spread of digitalization technologies has led many to ask themselves a key question for the near future: what bridges can be built between our growing slice of life that takes place digitally and that which is realized, as always, in the physical world? What connections can be built between the two areas of our life, which for us are increasingly complementary and interchangeable ? They seem to be themes only for sociologists, in reality they have very practical implications for companies: the connections between digital and physical are obviously also realized in the world of work. So also in the management and development of business processes.

From a technological point of view, the Internet of Things solutions(IoT) are traditionally considered as the most suitable for connecting the real with the digital. They are the interface between these two worlds – think for example of the sensors of the Smart Home as of the Smart Factory – and collect the information necessary to define new activities and new processes. But now that the human element is becoming increasingly felt in the definition and carrying out of generically “smart” processes, the IoT model must also be extended.

According to various analysts – in particular Gartner, who has highlighted this evolutionary trend a lot – the next step, or in any case complementary, for the Internet of Things is the Internet of Behavior.. Simplifying, the IoB can be understood as an approach in which the widespread and massive collection of data provides useful information to influence people’s behaviors, ideally by changing them for the better. On the business side, the “behaviors” are obviously linked to how certain business processes are carried out. With a view to improving and optimizing them.

This is an approach that in the post-pandemic world of work appears much more concrete than in the past, underlines Giuseppe D’Amelio, Director of Marketing Document Solutions of Canon Italy. ” Working life, like personal life, is made up of both strong and weak relationships. With the emergence of the hybrid workplace, the latter are weakening, that is, ties towards the people with whom one has only occasional relationships are fraying. But precisely these relationships are fundamental for decision making and creativity “. Essentially closing oneself in a “bubble” of obligatory relationships – via Slack, Zoom, Teams and company – with the people we work with directly and closely, leaving out everything else, can become a disadvantage for everyone.

The role of the IoB

In the post-pandemic the role of the office as a hub for occasional micro-interactions is reduced until it disappears, because the “stable” presence in the company is reduced in favor of remote working and new physical organizations of the office itself. In this scenario – which has technological but also organizational and psychological implications – the IoB ” can definitely help – explains D’Amelio – by collecting information on the digital interactions of employees, information that can then be used to stimulate spontaneous interactions “.

Outside of the office, the IoB approach allows for many different applications that blend, in fact, marketing and psychology. “The world of retail is probably the most advanced in this sense – explains D’Amelio – and applies the Internet of Behavior throughout the customer journey. For example by analyzing the ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ points in moving customers to a physical store. Or by studying the navigation paths of a digital store. It all fits into a concept of so-called ‘Total Experience’ which, in addition to providing benefits for customers, can be an important competitive differentiator for companies. “

Applications such as these require the right technological components – Canon’s point of view is indeed that of those who mainly supply input and output technologies – but also a careful study of information flows. “The solutions must be designed taking into account the protection of the information at stake and the privacy of the data “, D’Amelio says:” We must adopt a security by design approach, design the systems in such a way that they are robust, anonymize certain classes of data, take care to regulatory compliance, starting from the assumption that any loss of information has wide-ranging implications. For example, a hostile hacker who steals video recordings can derive information about the intentions and habits of the people being filmed, information that can be used for social engineering actions. “

Today, many Canon technology components, from multifunction printers to imaging systems,they are in fact IoT systems that can support Internet of Behavior applications. For this they integrate the necessary security and data protection functions. For example, the encryption of information stored in memory or the OCR analysis of the terms used in a fax sent from a multifunction to the outside (to avoid leaks of sensitive information). And there are many supportable applications, also thanks to the growing role of machine learning.

Remaining only in the field of video analysis, we think of managing queues and flows of people, identification of gatherings in public places, people counters up to tens of thousands of people, identification of risk behaviors, statistical analysis… up to analysis of images of reinforced concrete structures to highlight cracks as large as a couple of tenths of a millimeter. It also depends on the role of those who study and implement the applications : in the case of Canon, especially the system integrators.