The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Vs IoT

A sea of sensors

Since Caption Data began we’ve been involved in connecting sensors, machinery, assets and other things to the internet, this is the Internet of Things. 

Through which time our kit has been used in 15 countries worldwide, providing operational information to industries such as damage restoration, construction, facilities management, insurance, utilities, environmental monitoring and many others. Over the years we have developed a strong reputation for being able to collect data and transform it into operational information through the CDLSmartHub our customer portal accessible online in real time, from any internet-enabled device.

There are many ways to explain our offering such as remote monitoring, M2M and IoT, but a recent article about IIoT published by Tech Radar really encapsulates what we do, see an extract below.

What is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?

The phrase was a term coined by GE a few years ago as an update to machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies, while the German government calls it Industry 4.0, but what does it mean?

“It’s not new, but the vernacular has evolved,” says Mike Troiano, VP, Industrial Internet of Things Solutions at AT&T, which presently has 18.5 million machines connected to the internet. The IIoT is engineered very differently to the consumer-centric Internet of Things. “Think of jet engines, wind turbines, medical devices in hospitals … if I leave my Fitbit at home, it’s not the end of the world, but a jet engine’s connectivity solution has to run for up to 10 years – a consumer device might be thrown away after 18 months.”

At its core the IIoT is about adding big data to create automated buildings, lighting, security, energy production, transportation, and industrial automation on a massive scale – it’s the latter that currently makes up about half of the IIoT.

Why do we need the IIoT?

The IIoT is for mission-critical problems, and it’s changing economics. For instance, there are companies out there that have been building simple streetlights on poles for 100 years, but with cost savings from using more efficient LED light bulbs it could be possible for them to fit each light with a radio that sends an alert when the bulb finally goes. Or even fit it with a seismic sensor to measure earthquake technology, or an emergency callbox, or even digital signage, or a camera.

“You take a ‘dumb asset’ and you’ve made it intelligent by using wireless technology … the light bulb company can now sell services to municipalities,” says Troiano. As well as expanding a business, the IIoT is being used to drastically cut costs – a car rental company that uses sensors to detect exactly how under-filled a returned rental car is could potentially save that company millions.

Compare those two examples with the consumer-driven applications like the ‘smart’ light bulb that can be controlled by an app, or the ability to listen to internet radio while you’re driving; both are clever, but they’re not going to save anyone millions of pounds. In the wider economy, the IIoT is critical in reducing unplanned downtime of production facilities and plants.

Why has there been relatively little talk about the IIoT until recently?

The IIoT is built to last and, consequently, doesn’t grab headlines. “The equipment in the industrial market tends to have very long lifecycles – in many cases 10+ years, so the pace of innovation tends to be slower by nature,” says Morelli. “In addition, it has historically been a very fragmented market, dominated by proprietary communication protocols.”

However, the benefits of the IIoT are starting to attract the attention of CEOs, MDs and other upper management – real-time data on production, and more advanced analytics to improve productivity and efficiency are hard to resist. “Also, we have started to see industry initiatives,” says Morelli. “And many of the big IT companies like Cisco, Oracle and SAP, and industrial manufacturers like Rockwell, Siemens and ABB are working to address many of the unique challenges that have held back the growth of IIoT.”

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