What Is IIoT?
You might have heard of the Internet of Things, but you might not yet be familiar with the Industrial Internet of Things. It’s to do with how devices used in industrial processes communicate with one another and collect data. It’s an emerging idea in the industrial world, and it’s set to change things even more in the years ahead.
Of course, it’s a big concept with a lot to understand. If you want to find out all about it and what it means, you’re in the right place because we’re going to talk more about it today. Read on to find out all about the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and what it all means, both now and moving forward.
What is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?
At the most simple and fundamental level, the Industrial Internet of Things refers to lots of industrial devices, such as machines, sensors, gadgets, networks, and motors, that are connected to each other. The devices contain sensors that are connected to networks that then gather data. They also communicate with one another as data is shared and transferred.
Because of the advances in technology seen in recent times, the sensors used for these devices can be made smaller than ever. This means that now even very small industrial devices of various kinds can be connected, allowing for ever greater levels of monitoring, tracking, and data collection as they communicate with other devices.
The point of all of this is that businesses can take that data and analyze it to better understand how their functions are operating and how their business processes are performing. The more data you have, the more complete picture you get of those industrial processes and performance levels. And that’s one of the key reasons why the Industrial Internet of Things is so valuable.
What Can It Do for Businesses?
So what can IIoT do for businesses in a practical sense? What needs do businesses have that can be addressed through the Industrial Internet of Things? One of the most important things it can help with is the making of decisions and the most efficient ways of doing that. By collecting and analyzing data, insights can be found that inform the next decisions that need to be made.
The level of detail provided in this data can be very high. Businesses and business owners can then understand their processes better than ever before, and in turn, this helps them to make their processes more efficient. As they make decisions, they can be led by the data rather than less tangible estimations that might not offer the same accuracy.
The Industrial Internet of Things also helps when it comes to managing supply chains better and coordinating directly with other businesses. When businesses work together better in a more carefully coordinated way, they can be made even more efficient. And that’s something that benefits both businesses.
How Does it Differ from IoT?
As we mentioned earlier, lots of people have heard of the Internet of Things or IoT, so how does that differ from the Industrial Internet of Things or IIoT? There certainly is some overlap between the two, and the two concepts can become confused in certain ways as well. But it’s important to make clear that IIoT and IoT are not the same and there are key differences.
The consumer standard IoT can cover things such as electronic devices like TVs, speakers, and smartwatches and even home appliances such as refrigerators and security systems. The technology behind IoT is the same as IIoT. They both use sensors and networks to allow devices to communicate with one another to deliver efficiency and/or performance benefits.
The lifestyle efficiencies IoT offers, however, are more about small matters and making things more convenient for users in their day-to-day life. IIoT, on the other hand, is more about planning, analysis, and business efficiency. As a result, there’s more analysis and data crunching that goes into IIoT.
Which Industries are Beginning to Adopt IIoT?
There are already lots of companies out there that are using and benefiting from IIoT, and there are some industrial niches that are using it more than others. As we’ve mentioned, the Industrial Internet of Things is particularly useful when it comes to coordinating companies, so it makes sense that a lot of supply chain management and logistics companies are already using the Industrial Internet of Things.
It’s also true that the world of manufacturing is starting to embrace IIoT. When manufacturing companies use the Industrial Internet of Things, it allows them to make projections about the most optimal and efficient timing of machinery servicing and things like that. This might not seem like much, but it can reduce the amount of downtime the company experiences.
Any business that wants to make sure that they don’t run out of stock and don’t have to store stock for too long before using it can benefit from using the Industrial Internet of Things. And many already are. Public sector sectors, such as health departments, can also benefit from what the Industrial Internet of Things can offer.
How Well Established is this Technology Right Now?
The Industrial Internet of Things is already very big, and although there are lots of companies already making use of these technologies, there are plenty of others who aren’t doing so yet. That means the technology hasn’t yet reached its apex and there remains plenty of room for growth, which can only be seen as a positive thing for what’s to come.
The Industrial Internet of Things is already being heavily invested in, with hundreds of billions of dollars being poured into it by businesses in a variety of industries and sectors every year. In recent years, those numbers have been growing, suggesting that IIoT is on an upward trajectory in terms of business spending.
There are many different things that businesses are spending this money on at the moment. A lot of the money is being spent on logistics and transportation to make supply chains better integrated with IIoT technology. That’ll make it possible for companies to benefit in the ways discussed above.
The Components Used in the IIoT
The Industrial Internet of Things is simply the term used to refer to the three main components used to gather data and interpret it. The first of these three components is sensor technology. Sensors have become much cheaper and more scalable in recent years, and that’s made it easier to use them on a variety of different devices.
The next component is network technology. The networks are what make it possible for the different devices to connect and share data. And the final component is the technology that makes it possible to analyze the analytics data. How these three components combine and integrate will depend on the particular situation.
The specific devices used will also differ depending on the company and the aims of the project. Some will focus on machinery, others will focus on transportation. There are so many different kinds of devices, both big and small, that can be incorporated into an Industrial Internet of Things system. That flexibility and simple customization are among the things that make it so appealing.
Security is one of the things that you need to think about if you’re going to start using the Industrial Internet of Things. The devices usually used to create an IIoT setup are not ordinarily intended to be connected with other devices and networks. They certainly can be, but you also have to accept that this brings with it an increased threat and risk level.
To ensure you don’t end up being hit by some sort of cyber hack or attack, you need to put in place the proper security measures. Basic things like strong password protection are key, but there needs to be a broader security strategy in place that can back you and your systems up.
Research has found that one of the main reasons making businesses hesitant to implement IIoT systems are the security worries that they have. That doesn’t need to be something that prevents businesses who would benefit from the Industrial Internet of Things from using it; it should just mean that extra security planning takes place.
Better Speed and Reliability for IIoT with OAS
The Industrial Internet of Things is a new revolution, but requires an enormous amount of data to be transferred and stored, and only edge solutions can provide the performance, reliability, and speed required to do this efficiently. Open Automation Software (OAS) has been so valuable in this type of efficient computing for accessing, logging, and displaying data closer to the source from which it’s generated – as well as for its speed, accuracy, and design philosophy as an open network that is easy to implement and cost-effective – that it is utilized for many high-volume systems, such as in Intel’s manufacturing plants and by the U.S. Navy on its nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers.
OAS and Its Many Applications In IIOT
With the OAS platform almost every industry can find the best-in-class IIoT solutions for high-speed and reliable data logging and transfer, device management and control, and security across network communications.
Building Automation Systems (BAS) have been developed through the OAS Platform by customers for years, being used in commercial property for lighting, HVAC, safety and security, and in ways that control building operations in more efficient, cost-productive solutions. With the OAS Data Historian, time series data and event based data can be collected over an entire building automation data spectrum to observe and act in predictive maintenance, detected downtime, and asset management for a level of advanced control more proficient than ever before in productivity and cost efficiency.
Open Automation Software offers complete operational visibility and connectivity between assets for businesses in the manufacturing industry. With real-time insights and accurate data, AI and human abilities are more efficiently merged, operational costs can be reduced, and customer/product interaction can be enhanced for enhanced marketing and product development.
IIoT integrated with the OAS platform offers endless possibilities. But its applications extend far beyond smart buildings and manufacturing. This system is being effectively implemented in a wide range of industries, such as in the:
- Marine industry
- Mining industry
- Packaging industry
- Shipping industry
- Water industry
- Chemical industry
- Recycling and waste management industry
- Telecommunications industry
- Construction industry
- Robotics industry
- Transportation industry
- And the list goes on…
Getting Started with IIoT
If you want to get started with the Industrial Internet of Things, the first thing you’ll need to do is identify your goals and what it is you want to achieve. Every business and every project is unique, so only you can identify the goals and needs that have to be addressed as you implement your first Industrial Internet of Things system.
Some projects will be all about monitoring for efficiency or operational performance, others might be integrated with automation and others will be about predicting future maintenance needs and minimizing downtime as much as possible. You need to identify the specific technologies that you want to make a part of your Industrial Internet of Things system.
From there, you should learn about how to store and analyze data if that’s something that you plan on being a part of your IIoT setup. It’s something that most businesses will want to do in some form or another. It’s also important to remember that it’s a process and that you can make tweaks and changes in the future.