One of the biggest trends in automated manufacturing today is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). In fact, it is a primary component of Industry 4.0. Further, IIoT is already making a significant impact across industries and will continue to do so. Another aspect of Industry 4.0 is the Internet of Things (IoT). In short, it serves the consumer side. Since IIoT adoption is on the rise, it’s crucial to understand how it is used and how it differs from IoT. Let’s dive in, ready?

What are Industry 4.0, IoT, and IIoT?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, is a broad term that describes the interconnectivity of the Internet-based devices and technologies we use today. Industry 3.0 depicts computerization and digitization; Industry 4.0 carries on several steps further by facilitating communication between wirelessly connected devices.

Also, IIoT drives Industry 4.0 with intelligent and autonomous systems that use algorithms for managing and tracking robots, vehicles, and machinery. In addition, Industry 4.0 describes “smart” devices, which are often embedded with AI. In manufacturing, it makes your supply chain, warehousing, and logistics “smart.” Moreover, it wirelessly connects back-end systems such as an ERP with a centralized admin console to enable a future-proofed level of real-time data access and control.

Why is this essential? Well, with big data comes “big” problems sorting and filtering that data so end-users can utilize it for accurate analytics and associated insights. Industry 3.0 fostered digitization deployments to enable the collection of “Big Data.” Thus, Industry 4.0 offers the types of technologies that can understand and make sense of the data without human intervention. As such, the data is readily accessible by automating communication between devices and systems.

Yet, there’s more to it.

The IoT is part of the consumer side of Industry 4.0 with electronics and components that can “speak” to each other via the Internet. On the other hand, the IIoT concerns the industrial impact of “smart” technologies. Additionally, the IoT and the IIoT can collaborate within “smart” networks. For instance, a consumer may purchase a “smart” refrigerator to report visibility and analytics directly to the manufacturer.

Hence, consumers can use IoT to simplify their tasks while various industries use IIoT to enhance transparency, control, monitoring, and operational efficiencies. While both technologies connect systems and devices to the Internet and share some standard technologies such as cloud computing, sensors, and analytics, they are not the same.

In this blog, we will expand upon eight ways IIoT is different from IoT to help stakeholders make more informed decisions when planning for IIoT solutions.

How does IIoT work?

Primarily, IIoT is deployed in industrial settings and incorporates smart technologies, including:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Automation
  • Interconnectivity

Therefore, you can embed smart sensors into machinery, systems, and your infrastructure to collect data with the objective of improving workflows, processes, and also employee safety. Concerning automation, some of the key advantages of IIoT include;

  • Real-time remote access of machinery and components so managers can diagnose and mitigate issues rapidly.
  • Predictive analytics to help prevent downtime and ensure proactive maintenance.
  • Frictionless communication between components, machines, and humans.
  • Automation of time-consuming, error-prone, and rules-based manual processes.
  • Enables continuous improvements of workflows and processes.
  • Plant managers can access data that offers a clearer picture of how well facilities operate on a daily basis.

Many low-power technologies are used for IIoT, such as:

  • Ultra Wide Band (UWB)
  • Sub-1 GHz Wireless Solutions
  • Wi-Fi® + Bluetooth®
  • LoRaWAN®
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
  • RFID

How does IoT work?

Similar to IIoT, IoT devices have sensors that collect data. Also, you can use one IoT device or create a network of IoT devices. Popular IoT devices in use today include thermostats which can offer data on energy use or how much energy certain rooms use. Homeowners, and electricity providers, can use this data to make data-driven decisions around efficient energy usage.

Now, let’s focus on the eight ways IIoT is different from IoT listed below:

1. Cybersecurity

Invariably, cybersecurity is increasingly crucial for every Internet-connected device. While IoT solutions do offer security, often IIoT devices come with more comprehensive cybersecurity protocols. Why? If IIoT is used on electrical grids or a plant that manufactures products consumers need, and hackers can infiltrate these “smart” networks, the impact will affect millions of consumers. Thus, IIoT often comes with more layered cybersecurity measures, including:

  • 2FA authentication
  • Encryption
  • Threat detection
  • Resilient architectures
  • Special chipsets

2. Implementation

Another difference between IIoT and IoT is where they are deployed. IoT is designed to make consumer’s lives easier, such as using Amazon Alexa or locking and unlocking your home via your smartphone. On the other hand, IIoT is only deployed for industrial applications frequently with M2M to ensure machines are more intelligent and more automated.

3. Impact

 Undoubtedly, IoT has a low-risk impact since it only affects a limited number of end-users. In contrast, IIoT has a more considerable degree of impact and requires highly complicated applications, devices, and sensors to manage analytics, remote control, and data sharing in industrial settings. You can also say IIoT has a high-risk impact.

4. Interoperability

Typically, IoT devices operate singularly or perhaps with one or two other devices. Yet, IIoT solutions have to interoperate with new and legacy technologies such as logistics systems, SCADA, M2M, ERP, warehousing solutions, and more.

5. Scalability

Concerning scalability, IoT devices are frequently limited to consumer home networks, or they might communicate with the manufacturer but not much more. However, IIoT devices should scale as organizations scale, and many are designed to support thousands of robots, applications, machinery, non-IoT devices, legacy systems, and more. It also includes integration with industrial workflows, reporting, analysis, predictive maintenance, scheduling, and extensive data collection.

6. Accuracy

IoT solutions must be accurate, but they often only collect limited amounts of data specified for one type of activity. IIoT devices are expected to be precise and accurate enough to manage synchronized industrial processes down to milliseconds. In a manufacturing or supply chain setting, “close enough” isn’t going to cut it.

7. Reliability

Industries rely on IIoT devices to offer reliability with programmable controllers to support evolving processes. Further, it’s crucial to provide programming features even remotely, such as being in the field. Therefore, IIoT devices should be adequately agile to support industrial operations. In contrast, IoT devices are expected to be dependable but do not have to manage as many components.

8. Operational capacity

If you work in manufacturing or another type of industrialized environment, it’s not uncommon to use the same machinery and systems for around two or three decades before replacement. Why? Well, industrial machines are high-ticket items, so they are typically built to last a long enough time to achieve ROI. They can also frequently operate under extreme heat, cold, various weather conditions, and pressure. So, it’s different from IoT devices usually deployed in homes, apartments, office buildings, or cars.

Embrace the future of IoT and IIoT

Unquestionably, the expansion and adoption of IoT and IIoT devices will continue to flourish. According to MarketWatch, the IIoT market will reach $771.72 billion by 2026. Further, Gartner research has discovered there are around 25 billion connected IoT devices currently.

IoT devices are already making a significant impact on a wide range of consumer goods, while IIoT transforms multiple industries from healthcare to manufacturing. These “smart” technologies will continue to amplify Industry 4.0, especially when combined with AI, automation, and data analytics. Invariably, IoT and IIoT give organizations a competitive edge. Fortunately, we can access these types of technologies right now.

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