Innovations That Matter

Tapping aggregated smartphone data for new, community-level insights


Behavio seeks to use the masses of data smartphones collect to identify patterns of behavior across society.

A wealth of data is generated by smartphones around the globe every day, yet rarely is it tapped in aggregate form. The NextTrain app we profiled last year is perhaps one exception, but startup Behavio aims to take such efforts even further. Specifically, Behavio seeks to use the huge amount of data smartphones collect to identify patterns of behavior across society. A product of the MIT Media Lab, Behavio has created an open source Android platform dubbed Funf that monitors how participants use their phones, how they communicate with others, and environmental factors like sound, light and motion. With the resulting data, Behavio “can understand trends and behavioral changes in individuals as well as entire communities, and help them understand and make use of this information,” it explains. Behavio is also creating a software development kit designed to help programmers build apps for journalists and others who want to see trends in community data; with access to such data, journalists could get insight into how many people had access to Twitter and YouTube during the Iranian revolution, for example, as TechCrunch points out. Meanwhile, the company is also working on a mobile application that lets individuals explore data about their own lives, it says. Behavio recently won USD 355,000 from the Knight News Challenge on Networks; it also won the 2012 SXSW Accelerator Competition in the News Related Technologies track. Data-minded entrepreneurs: one to get involved in? Spotted by: Hemanth Chandrasekar



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