With the wide popularity of the internet of things (IoT), a lot of advancements and developments have happened in the field to use its potential and possibilities in other fields. As a result, a lot of advanced IoT products have born. One such advancement is the Industrial internet of things (IIoT).
What is the Industrial Internet of Things?
Industrial internet of things is referred to the use of actuators and smart sensors to promote the manufacturing and industrial processes. It is also known as industrial internet and Industry 4.0. This technology leverages the potential of smart machines as well as real-time analytics to utilize the data that the dumb machines have produced over the years for improving the efficiency of business processes.
The driving principle behind IIoT is that the smart machines are capable of performing better than humans at capturing, processing and analyzing data in real-time. They are also good at communicating important information for the betterment of business by helping to make decisions more swiftly and accurately.
The sensors and actuators that will be interconnected can pick up the problems and inefficiencies in the processes sooner, thereby helping to solve them as soon as possible. It can be helpful in saving time and money and also for supporting business intelligence (IB).
IIoT will be especially helpful in the manufacturing industry, as it has great efficiency in controlling quality and for supporting sustainable and green practices. It can also promote supply chain efficiency and its traceability.
In an industrial setting, it can be utilized for a variety of purposes including enhanced field service, predictive maintenance, asset tracking and energy management.
How IIoT Work?
This technology is a network of intelligent devices that are interconnected to form systems that are helpful in monitoring, collecting, exchanging, and analyzing data. An industrial IoT system consists of:
- Intelligent assets that are capable of sensing, communicating and storing data about themselves;
- Private and/or public data communications infrastructure
- Applications and analytics that produce business information from raw data; and
Intelligent assets and Edge devices transfer data directly to the data communication infrastructures, where it will be converted into actionable information including the working of specific machinery, and all other information regarding the business processes. This information will be then utilized for predictive maintenance and for optimizing business processes.
Benefits of IIoT
One of the main advantages of IIoT is the predictive maintenance it provides for businesses. This helps organizations to produce data that can be helpful in predicting the problems occurring in the future and for taking preventive measures in advance. For example, the real-time data about the working of a machine can be used to predict the defects or failures associated with it before it happens. This will help an organization to address those issues in advance.
Another important advantage is the improved field service. The data collected by IIoT systems can assist the field service technicians in identifying potential problems in customer equipment before they become a major issue. This will help the technical experts to fix the issues before they cause inconvenience to the customers.
Asset tracking is another benefit of IIoT. Manufacturers, suppliers and customers can utilize asset management systems to find out the location, status, condition of the products, etc. throughout the supply chain. This system will send alerts to the stakeholders immediately if the goods are damaged or are at the risk of being damaged. Hence, preventive measures can be done to remedy the situation immediately.
IIoT can also provide enhanced customer satisfaction. When the products are connected to IIoT services, the manufacturers can see and analyze the data about how their products are utilized by customers. This data will enable manufacturers to design products based on the requirements of the customers, thereby providing better customer satisfaction.
Facility management is one of the other perks provided by IIoT. Manufacturing equipment is prone to wear and tear. But the IIoT system can monitor the activities of equipment by sensing the vibrations, temperature and other related factors. This will help to address the issues before the equipment is down.
IIoT vs. IoT
Even though the industrial internet of things and the internet of things use many similar technologies including sensors, cloud platforms, connectivity, data analytics, machine-to-machine communications, etc., they are used for different purposes.
IoT applications are used to connect devices between multiple verticals, including healthcare, enterprise, agriculture, consumer and utilities, and also government and cities. The main examples of IoT products include fitness bands, smart appliances, etc. that generally do not create emergency conditions if something goes wrong.
On the other hand, IIoT applications connect devices and machines in many major industries such as oil and gas, utilities and manufacturing, etc. Therefore, the downtime or failures in the IIoT system can result in highly risky conditions or life-threatening situations.
Another difference between these two is that, the IIoT system is more concerned with boosting efficiency and promoting health and safety, whereas, the IoT applications are more user-centric.