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What You Need to Know About IIoT

August 15, 2019


New technology can be scary. Not exactly monster-in-the-closet scary, but it has the power to completely upend the way we all do business.

The rate at which it’s changing and evolving can be overwhelming, and it’s not stopping anytime soon. Especially when it comes to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Every year, companies in nearly every industry invest more and more in IIoT 

Every year, companies in nearly every industry invest more and more in IIoT technology to see how increased visibility into faster, better data can improve their business.

So, let’s dive in. Here’s what you need to know about IIoT:

In a Nutshell: What is IIoT?

In its simplest terms, the Industrial Internet of Things—also referred to as the Industrial Internet—is the connection of machines over a network. It's also a huge part of Industry 4.0.

However, IIoT is not to be confused with IoT—the Internet of Things. While there is overlap when it comes to IIoT vs. IoT, the latter generally refers to consumer items.

Your Nest thermostat? IoT technology. Your Amazon Echo? IoT. Your FitBit? IoT. All these devices have tiny sensors in them that collect and relay data to another device (like your phone) over a network (Bluetooth, WiFi, or cellular).

IIoT takes those same principles and simply adds stakes. It connects machines that are mission-critical to the way you run your business.

What It Can Do: Benefits of IIoT

Data collection is the biggest benefit of IIoT. This technology arms business owners with a crazy amount of accurate, real-time data that can be used to make smarter, faster decisions.

Industrial Internet of Things can improve:

  • Quality control
  • Asset performance
  • Supply chain traceability
  • Energy management
  • Predictive maintenance
  • Field service
  • Overall efficiency
  • And more

There are plenty of real-world examples of how businesses benefit from IIoT technology. Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) that make parts for other businesses might employ IIoT devices to record machine repeatability. This ensures they always have data readings for how parts are supposed to turn out.

If they notice something is off with their readings, they can pinpoint where the problem is and correct it before ever sending out the part. Or, they can mark the part as defective and pass it along to an inspection station. This improves product quality and customer service. And that helps the bottom line.

How it Works: IIoT System Architecture

Device Layer
This is where the devices collect the data. Whatever your machines are doing, this is where that activity is tracked and collected.

Network Layer
The collected information makes its way onto the network.

Service Layer
A software service like, for example, a manufacturing execution system (MES) can grab the data from the network and present it in a way that’s easy to read and understand.

Content Layer
Whether through tablets, smartphones, or just plain old computers, this is where employees consume the content and interact with the data.

The Verdict: IIoT is Gaining Traction

Use of IIoT technology continues to increase every year. Adding this new tech to your factory can be a huge, overwhelming change. But the benefits are definitely there.

IIoT is a tool that empowers business owners. And it can be a foundational piece to any digital transformation journey. It’s worth it to evaluate your business to see if IIoT is right for you.