On any given network in the Internet of Things (IoT), thousands of devices produce data that is logged, cultivated, analyzed, and used to refine system functionality. There's no arguing that the way people interact with their devices greatly affects their behavior. For example, individuals utilizing wearable fitness technology such as a GPS watch, a step counter, or a heart rate monitor generally alter their activity, and thus their behavior, to fully-utilize the device's functionality. Another example is the use of GPS monitors for traffic flow patterns in an urban environment -- the information gathered and reported to the user can affect the route they decide to take on their daily commute.

The Impact of Data Exhaust

It should come as no surprise that technology integrated into everyday life tells a robust story about user behavior that's worth exploring. As noted above, the wearable fitness technology industry is booming with innovations that match the real-life applications and have become expectations in the consumer market. Whether it's planning a running route, helping to create smart city networks as detailed by Strava, or even identifying health risks -- data analysis on this level directly affects user behavior.

Industry-based Implications

Here at CenturyLink Cloud, we've been exploring how data analysis in the form of data exhaust affects the freight industry(pardon the pun). With many devices generating data streams and schemas that are collected and logged in the cloud, a massive amount of computational output, known as "data exhaust", is produced. In essence, data exhaust is data created as an output or byproduct that is based on users' actions and activities with devices, computers, and pieces of software. One example of data exhaust can be classified as the user-generated files on web-based systems and networks such as cookies, logs, temporary browsing history, and indicators to help websites, companies, and developers improve the way they serve their target audiences over a broad user base.

According to TechTarget, "Studying data exhaust can also help improve user interface and layout design. As these files reveal the specific choices an individual has made, they are very revealing and are a highly-sought source of information for marketing purposes. Websites store data about people’s actions to maintain user preferences, among other purposes. Data exhaust is also used for the lucrative but privacy-compromising purposes of user tracking for research and marketing."

Cloud-based Capabilities

Understanding data exhaust is incredibly important in this era of emerging smart cities and networks. Through the careful and streamlined collection of an individual's or a user group's digital footprint, digital communities, communication methods, and online systems can be refined to help people. Naturally, the capabilities of a cloud-based platform with cloud servers and virtual machines, APIs, simple backup services, and containers make capturing a company's or individual's digital footprint more akin to creating an accurate digital portfolio or profile composed of the relevant data required to meet their personal and business needs, which can be accurately traced back to the source.

According to Computerworld's article on data exhaust, big data, and data analytics across business markets, data exhaust is, "essentially all the big data that isn't core to your business."

At a basic consumer behavior level, data exhaust manifests as data channels generated by things like wearable fitness devices, computers, and smartphones. As stated by the article, "If big data is "primary" data that relates to the core function of your business, data exhaust is secondary data, or everything else that's created along the way." The article lists numerous ways data exhaust affects markets and user behavior and is well worth the read.

Another insightful article on Storagecraft's Recovery Zone site frames applicable ways data exhaust affects user behavior in relation to big data and the world of IT integration to accomplish tweaks and augmentations across platforms and systems with ultimate aim to educate and address business needs in realtime, assess KPI success and failure rates, and improve testing processes.

Looking to Learn More about the IoT?

For those of you working with the IoT, CenturyLink Cloud® Platform is the perfect place to build your applications. Our global network provides superior performance for your IoT sensors and cloud applications. Our managed services handle operating system and application operations – allowing you to focus on more important objectives.

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