What is the Industrial Internet of Things – IIoT?

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) refers to interconnected sensors, instruments, and other devices networked together with computers’ industrial applications, including, but not limited to, manufacturing, transportation, and energy management.  Also, known as the industrial internet or Industry 4.0 – leveraging the power of smart machines and real-time analytics.

IIoT enables technologies such as cybersecurity, cloud computing, mobile technologies, machine-to-machine, 3D printing, advanced robotics, big data. IIoT is a network of connected devices that allows for data collection, exchange, and analysis, facilitating improvements in productivity, communication, and efficiency.

IoT versus IIoT

The internet of things and the industrial internet of things have many technologies in common, such as availability, intelligent and connected devices.  IoT applications connect devices across multiple verticals and most used for consumer usage with low-risk impact.

IIoT applications, on the other hand, connect machines and devices for industrial purposes such as manufacturing, supply chain, and management systems.  Downtime and system failures in IIoT deployments can result in high-risk situations. Hence, IIoT applications are more concerned with improving efficiency and safety, versus the user-centric nature of IoT applications.

Why Industrial Internet of things?

According to IDC, Worldwide spending on the Internet of Things (IoT) is forecast to reach $745 billion in 2019, an increase of 15.4% over the $646 billion spent in 2018. The industries that are forecast to spend the most on IoT solutions in 2019 are discrete manufacturing ($119 billion), process manufacturing ($78 billion), transportation ($71 billion), and utilities ($61 billion).

Significant advancements in connectivity, storage, data, software utilization along with cheaper and more efficient sensors and machine learning have resulted in increased productivity, speed, efficiency and lower costs. This all comes together to help manufacturers predict potential problems, streamline inventory and improve ROI.

IIoT Examples

Asset tracking, predictive maintenance, and automation are some of the most popular and beneficial IIoT solutions. Machine Design Magazine offers some examples of common IIoT use cases available.

  • Preventive maintenance: Records and communicates run-times or equipment cycles to avoid or predict asset downtime before it happens.
  • Predictive maintenance: Provides warnings for conditions that indicate impending failure.
  • Energy consumption monitoring: Energy management is becoming increasingly important. Accurate consumption and reporting of data are critical to decision making to adjust equipment power usage to low demand periods thus avoiding peak-use energy penalties while reducing cost and helping to reduce the environmental footprint.
  • In-line quality sensors: Delivers real-time data to the quality-assurance department. Instruments that respond quickly and in real-time help reduce labor for regulatory sampling. Blind spots can be eliminated and quality issues with raw materials or finished products can be reduced to prevent product loss and increase quality and plant uptime.
  • Batch optimization: Gives process engineers real-time batch data and trends to optimize production. Depending on the industry this can include improvements to mixing, heating and cleaning times among a range of other industry-specific benefits.
  • Inventory planning: Provide real-time inventory information to improve scheduling, shipping, and ordering of raw materials and finished goods.

While there are challenges to IIoT adoption and implementation, IIoT is not going away.  Therefore, industrial organizations should consider embracing IIoT solutions in the coming years to increase competitiveness, innovation, and efficiency – ultimately improving the bottom line.

How to Get Started with IIoT

With potential IIoT use cases across an entire manufacturing process, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

Start with a Challenge

A common misconception is that IIoT adoption is not worth the cost or effort, but the value far outweighs any initial costs.  An IIoT solution must solve a problem and it is an evolution to start this transformation.

Let’s consider:

  • Does your facility run at 100% efficiency? If not, where are the breakdowns?
  • Do you ever experience unscheduled downtime? Why?
  • If communication breakdowns occur, where do they happen?
  • What key metrics or KPIs do you track?

Do any of those situations sound familiar? IIoT solutions can help you resolve them. For example, manufacturers can benefit from real-time, actionable insights by integrating data from operations with their ERP system.  Imagine the power of a machine alerting a plant manager when a sensor fails, triggering the procurement system to order the necessary part and scheduling a technician to fix it.

Find out How to Improve your Manufacturing Efficiency with IIoT Data Strategy.  Call for an IIoT Consultation.

Next – IIoT Part II series will address “How to manage Cybersecurity risks in IIoT.”

VantageOne Software is a leading onshore software development provider offering web, mobile, and enterprise-level custom software and application development services. For more than 20 years, our teams have used their technical expertise and in-depth domain knowledge to streamline an organization’s operations for optimal success — a real competitive advantage. Certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) through NEORSD and WBENC.

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