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We’ve heard a great deal about the Internet of Things (IoT) and how it’s going to change the face of business as we know it. However, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) goes a step further, particularly with reference to how smart sensors and actuators can enhance and improve the manufacturing and industrial processes. So, what exactly is the IIoT and how will it really change every business? Read on to find out more.

 

What is Industrial IoT?

To put it simply, the IIoT aims to dramatically improve efficiency and productivity within the industrial industry. It leverages the power of smart machines and sensors to take advantage of the data that machines have produced in industrial settings since they began. The combination of real-time analytics and smart machines is not only better than humans at capturing data, but it’s also more accurate in reporting the information.

How it Works

Though it sounds rather complicated, in practice, it’s really quite simple. This network of intelligent devices will work together to monitor, collect and analyse data. It works like so:

  • The intelligent devices gather information
  • They then transmit this to the data communications infrastructure
  • It’s converted into actionable information for humans
  • This can be used for routine maintenance as well as optimising business processes

 

IIoT vs IoT – What’s the Difference?

IIoT and IoT undoubtedly have plenty in common, from cloud platforms, sensors and connectivity to machine communication and analytics. However, there are a few differentiating factors. For example, IoT applications connect devices across multiple fields – between healthcare, agriculture and enterprise for instance. IIoT, on the other hand, only connects machines and devices within specific industries such as oil, gas and manufacturing.



What Are the Benefits?

Though the technology has received inordinate amounts of funding, technical due diligence is still frequently required from some sceptics. On the whole, however, there are many positives that investors simply cannot ignore.

One of the main benefits is the aforementioned predictive maintenance. This will almost allow industrial businesses to operate like clock-work. It will predict faults in machinery before they actually happen, allowing for swift work in fixing any issues. This prevents losing any time from production due to a defective machine which may have previously cost the business money.

A further benefit is asset tracking. Now, suppliers, manufacturers and even customers can use asset management systems to monitor the location and status of products throughout their life cycle. This will include everything from manufacturing to dispatch. It can send alerts to various stakeholders if it’s thought that the product might be damaged, allowing them to take preventative action before it’s too late.

What is the Future of IIoT

Interestingly, the top three industries investing in IIoT are transportation, manufacturing and utilities. Where some businesses may be reluctant to adopt new technology, it seems that the IIoT is different. It’s an exciting prospect, which continues to accumulate more appeal across the globe as it develops. Time will tell just how quickly this technology will change the way many industries operate.



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Paul Matthews is a Manchester based business and tech writer who writes in order to better inform business owners on how to run a successful business. You can usually find him at the local library or browsing Forbes' latest pieces.

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