IIoT - What is it?

The industrial internet of things (IIoT)­ – sometimes called Industry 4.0 – is radically changing how businesses, especially industrial companies, operate. As companies digitally transform, a gap opens up between their physical and digital assets. Industrial IoT provides the link between the two. Virtually any physical object can be transformed into an IoT device if it can be connected to the Internet. This provides a great deal of data that can be used to improve performance, drive better decision-making and boost innovation.

Defining the Industrial Internet of Things

Let’s begin with a short IIoT definition: The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) refers to the vast number of machines and devices – or ‘things’ – a business uses that are now connected to the Internet. Protecting this critical operational data, secure IIoT forms a closed, private Internet network where the devices can communicate and share data with other people, systems, and things. This data can be used to improve existing work practices and business processes as well as creating entirely new ways of doing things.

When you define the industrial internet of things, it’s very important that you understand there’s more than just the industrial IoT devices. IIoT forms an ecosystem where people, applications and devices interact. That’s why most large industrial IoT solutions are based around a central industrial IoT platform that can manage every aspect of the industrial IoT network and the data flowing through it.

What are the benefits of Industrial IoT?

As IIoT devices become smaller, cheaper and smarter, they can be applied almost everywhere. The data they create can be turned into actionable insight that delivers incredible business benefits including:

  • Improved operational efficiency

Industrial IoT software allows you to create environments of connected assets that bring a wide range of operational efficiency benefits. Sensors located in production systems, assembly lines, warehouses and vehicles produce data that helps managers monitor exactly how an asset is performing and address issues before they arise.

  • Increased productivity

Industrial IoT solutions provide real-time information on the performance of equipment and people to help streamline and improve business processes and workflows.

  • Cost reduction

Deploying IIoT offers large cost saving benefits for organizations. For example, industrial IoT devices can save dramatically on energy bills – by as much as 70% on lighting and 30% on air conditioning according to some estimates.

  • Enhanced customer experience

By placing industrial IoT sensors within products, manufacturers are able to capture and analyze data on how customers actually use their products – enabling them to improve future product upgrades and releases.

  • Reduce waste

Inventory management is one of the most important benefits of IIoT software. By attaching IIoT devices to products, warehouses and vehicles you can make the entire supply chain process more effective, reducing the need for excess inventory and the potential for stock-outs.

  • New business models

Industrial IoT technologies lay a foundation for delivering new, innovative and data-driven business models. For example, manufacturers can take the industrial IIoT data from sensors on their product to provide associated services such as remote diagnostics or predictive maintenance.