Industrial-strength IoT (Internet of Things)
If you want to compare IIoT vs IoT, we’ll probably need to define the Internet of Things first. The term refers to the connection of devices (the Things) through the internet so they can collect and share data without human assistance. IoT devices range from smart thermostats to vehicle systems to biochip transponders on farm animals. Even people can be outfitted with sensors connected to the internet.
The IoT revolution isn’t just benefitting consumers; it’s also being harnessed for industrial purposes – so much so that it has its own acronym: IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things). IIoT is the use of IoT technologies for industrial purposes – from gas pumps to HVAC systems to machinery on the factory floor.
Benefits of Industrial IoT
The idea of industrial devices exchanging information isn’t new; they’ve been doing it for years. IIoT, however, brings this to an entirely new level, because it provides a system and standards for universal interconnectivity over IP (Internet Protocol). IP is the key protocol used to exchange information over the internet, no matter what type of device is doing the exchanging.
Many currently networked industrial devices are closed systems. They can only communicate with other devices that are on their network and “speak” the same language- i.e. use the same protocols and architecture. By IP-enabling devices, the potential for interconnection over existing network infrastructure is vastly expanded.
IoT “things” aren’t just dumb devices that can be turned on and off remotely, they:
- are “smart” devices with their own local logic and processing
- have protocols for exchanging information with each other
- send and receive information and commands over a network (including the internet)
IIoT brings the potential to bring machine learning and big data technology into play to bring automation technologies to a new level of self-contained performance. Think of sensors (pressure, temperature, vibration, flow, and many more), that are already collecting data, but now that data can be combined with data from other systems and collected, analyzed, and exchanged in new ways.
Use cases range from basic system monitoring and control through developing insights and analytics that change the way systems and businesses function. Industrial IoT experts report that these technologies will greatly improve quality control, support sustainable and green practices, and vastly improve supply chain management and efficiency.
Making the Connection
Industrial IoT brings lots of potential, but it also comes with substantial challenges. One of the biggest is figuring out how the millions of existing automated devices can be retrofitted and connected to use industrial IoT. Existing automated processes use proprietary protocols, different architectures, and have limited networking ability. They tend to be isolated islands of technology.
The Industrial Internet Consortium, a global nonprofit founded in 2014, is addressing this problem. It recently published the Industrial Internet Connectivity Framework (IICF), a blueprint of connectivity standards and a reference architecture for designing interoperable solutions.
The IICF framework will make it possible for developers to roll out industrial IoT solutions that are compatible and connectable at a much faster rate.
Thanks to the millions of industrial sensors already in place and the development of many new, low-cost wireless sensors, the industrial internet of things is poised to take off. As it does, it will bring new levels of efficiency and capability to all levels of industry.
If you’re looking for an embedded solutions provider who knows the world of IIoT, look no further than WINSYSTEMS, Inc. We’ll partner with you to take you from planning to production, and ensure you have a cost effective solution that does all you need. Contact us today!