What is the Industrial Internet of Things?

What is IIOT?

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is the use of intelligent technologies to improve manufacturing and industrial processes. IIoT, more widely known as Industry 4.0, uses data that has been collected for years by machines in industrial environments, e.g. in the cloud, using the power of intelligent machines and real-time analytics.

The collected data allows companies to identify inefficiencies and problems faster, which saves time and money, and at the same time supports business analytics activities.

In manufacturing, IIoT expresses its potential in terms of quality control, sustainable and environmentally friendly processes or in the overall efficiency of the supply chain.

How does it work?

IoT is a network of intelligent devices interconnected into systems that constantly monitor, collect, exchange and analyze the transmitted data.

IoT or Internet of Things refers to a wide range of technologies that are connected devices that can sense, communicate and store information about each other.
Such a network is any structure that connects devices, allowing data to flow between them.

The most common type of network is a private or public ICT infrastructure.
Analytics and apps that turn raw data into business intelligence. Edge devices and smart assets feed data directly to the ICT infrastructure, where it is transformed into actionable information about how a specific piece of equipment works. This data can be used for predictive maintenance or further process improvement.

There are many sectors that are already using IoT, a good example being the automotive industry which is using IIoT gadgets in its manufacturing process. The automotive industry relies heavily on industrial robots, and IIoT can help prevent potential production disruption issues through preventive maintenance of these systems.

Agriculture makes extensive use of IoT solutions, an example of the use of technology in this sector can be the collection of data on soil nutrients, moisture and other factors by industrial sensors, so as to best assist farmers in cultivation.

The oil and gas sector is another very important user of industrial IoT devices. Some oil companies operate a fleet of autonomous drones that can use thermal imaging to check the condition of pipelines. This information is then integrated with data from various types of sensors to collect the largest possible set of data that can guarantee safe operation.

What is the difference between IoT and IioT?

While many technologies are common to IoT and IIoT, such as cloud platforms, sensors, communication links, machine-to-machine interactions, and data analytics, they are used for different purposes.

Connected devices across multiple industries including agriculture, healthcare, business, consumer, utilities, and government and cities are examples of IoT applications. Smart devices like activity trackers or other apps that usually don’t cause emergencies if something goes wrong are also examples of IoT gadgets.

On the other hand, IIoT applications are used in sectors such as oil and refineries, mining and gas management, utilities and manufacturing. Failures and downtimes of IIoT systems can put personnel at serious risk and even loss of life. Unlike IoT applications, IIoT applications are more focused on performance, improvement, and security than user experience.

What are the benefits of IIoT?

One of the most frequently cited benefits of IoT devices is predictive maintenance in production. Manufacturers can use the extensive real-time data generated by IIoT systems to predict when a machine will need service. IIoT technologies help field service technicians detect potential issues with customer equipment before they become major issues, enabling them to fix issues ahead of time.

Another advantage of the Industrial Internet of Things is asset tracking and control. Suppliers, manufacturers and customers can use asset management systems to track the location, status and condition of products throughout the supply chain. IoT also has a direct impact on how facilities are managed. Manufacturing equipment is susceptible to wear and tear, which may deteriorate under factory conditions. The sensors can therefore monitor vibration, temperature and other characteristics that can lead to operational problems.

Is IIoT security a problem?

Manufacturers who have developed IoT solutions from the start with no regard for security as a major factor, giving users the impression that IoT devices can be inherently insecure. Given that IIoT devices are comparable to IoT products, is it safe to use them?

One of the most important issues with Internet of Things (IoT) devices is that they must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. You can imagine that one brand’s solutions are safe and others are not. However, today, manufacturers of new IIoT solutions and devices are prioritizing security more than ever before.

What are the risks and challenges of IioT?

The biggest concern with the use of IoT is security. Even after they go into production, many IIoT devices still use default passwords. Many IIoT devices also transmit data in plain text, which is generally unsecured.

The concept of data security is a major concern for those responsible for IIoT devices in an organization, but administering such solutions poses a similar problem. As manufacturers add more and more IIoT devices, the need to effectively manage such solutions will grow.

IIoT + 5G

The 5G standard is currently a very fashionable word in the mobile industry. The technology has been developed to provide fast data transmission speeds with low latency. 5G will allow download speeds of up to 20 Gbps (gigabits per second) and sub-millisecond latency.

The widespread arrival of 5G is expected to have a significant impact on the use of IoT devices. Capacity and low latency will allow devices to communicate in real time. Previously, this was only possible when gadgets were connected to private networks with high-speed connections. This real-time connection will help, for example, in the implementation of autonomous cars or the construction of smart cities.

The impact of 5G on IoT will be significant, firstly, it will lead to an increase in the number of such devices. We will also see IIoT solutions applied in locations where current low-speed Internet limitations have prevented the use of IioT.

What is the future of IioT?

The future of the Internet of Things (IoT) is closely related to the movement known as Industry 4.0 as the fourth industrial revolution.

IIoT technologies will be essential to future digital transformations, especially as companies seek to digitize their production lines and supply chains. Moreover, big data analytics will be extended with IioT information, which will allow companies to detect changing circumstances in real time and take appropriate action much faster.

While IIoT devices have been around for several years, real-world implementation is still in its early stages, making it quite a challenge. This will no doubt change as 5G becomes more popular and corporations start to see the potential of IIoT.

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