What is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?
IIoT: The Rundown
IoT refers to the Internet of Things. From FitBits to traffic lights, IoT describes the online network through which countless devices, products, and systems connect and transfer data. The IoT has come to serve consumers in many different ways: most notably, smartphones have evolved into an extension of many people’s lives and provides immediate access to endless information.
In 2012, GE coined the term Industrial Internet to differentiate between internet connectivity for consumer convenience items, such as smart home assistants, and internet connectivity for industry-specific products and machines with higher stakes related to their functioning, such as oil and gas remote monitoring systems. The term Industrial Internet then evolved into the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). IIoT is now known for its disruption across many, if not all, industries.
IIoT can bring business operations to the next level, in which efficiency, productivity, performance, and decision-making are enhanced. Where humans fall short of being able to quickly collect mass data, analyze it, and create problem/solution feedback or reports, machine to machine (M2M) communication via IIoT excels at this. Through communication technologies, which are the basis of IIoT’s capabilities, any machine or piece of machinery can collect and exchange data, analyze and deliver valuable insights, and monitor system functions. The result is a variety of industries which end up avoiding costly errors, downtime, plant and facility shutdowns.
What will IIoT do?
IIoT creates a triad between machines, humans, and analytics. Three is not a crowd in this case, as the dynamic can offer predictive analytics, real-time production data, and overall knowledge/awareness for more control over systems, which all play a part in better and faster decision making. With broadband being widely accessible and relatively cheap, the potential for things to become connected to the internet continues to increase. As more machines, systems, and devices enter into the network, more data becomes available, which creates even more opportunities for critical insights into industry operations, and consequently, the possibility of more purposeful action.
The image conjured by IIoT is, understandably, one clad with high-ceilinged factories, robotics arms, and conveyor belts, but this is far from the whole picture. IIoT is causing a disruption in the industry for the basic fact that products which used to offer one function can now become products-as-a-service, involving an interactive nature between product and consumer. Customer service and support on the part of manufacturers must, therefore, be prioritized to ensure a positive client experience. This is different from the historically divided operations between engineering and products, and customer experience satisfaction.
What impact is IIoT having?
Industrial processes are being disrupted by IIoT technology, from the manufacturing to warehouse to transportation and dispatch. New ways to service customers and create revenue, automation, optimization and smart technology manufacturing are just some of the changes taking place across industries.
Watch out! As with any online network, IIoT is faced with the very real threat of hacking and cyber risk. Industries are now being influenced to invest in software and operating systems developments, which can be easily upgraded and better protected against devastating breaches in security. The entire cybersecurity products and services market will boom in response to IIoT dominance.
Running parallel to developments in software and hardware is the recent convergence between operational technologies (OT) and information technologies (IT). OT and IT traditionally function based on different ideologies; OT focuses on keeping things consistent and unchanging to ensure production with no disruptions, and IT aims to continuously innovate. The convergence of OT and IT is a phenomenon mostly discussed in relation to IIoT. Why? As OT become more embedded with sensors, etc., the expertise of IT becomes necessary in the face of problems, such as OTs being used as hacker portals into businesses main computer systems.
As OT and IT continue to converge, IIoT will provide critical responses to the business challenges of tomorrow. With a secure IIoT approach, companies and entire industries will be able to keep up with tightening regulations, outpace market speed and changes - and enjoy more efficiency, profitability, and data-based decision making.
At Seldat Technology Services (STS), we are problem solvers, next-generation thinkers, and efficiency aficionados. Operating at both local and global scales, STS offers comprehensive solutions packages developed by in-house industry experts, tested against real-world scenarios, and designed for the changing supply chain. Learn more about Seldat Technology Services’ IIoT approach and get in touch with our experts today.