Do you know that according to Microsoft’s IoT Signals report, 56% of companies adopt IIoT services for operations optimization, 47% indicate that workforce productivity is their major use case, and 44% cite safety and security as the driving force behind their adoption of IIoT?
In fact, according to a report from Dell, 49% of manufacturers have experienced an increase in process performance, while 33% acknowledge that they have achieved improvements to their asset utilization. As another 36% of respondents have seen reductions in downtime, it is conspicuous that businesses of today are already embracing the benefits of IIoT.
What is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a concept that describes how a plethora of connected industrial machines and/or devices that have been designed with data gathering and sharing functions, connection to wireless networks, and incorporated with sensors in order to optimize control, operational visibility, and management decision.
Through Industrial IoT, machines are empowered to communicate with each other, and thereby allowing businesses to easily identify problems and trends in context with the remaining area of their production line.
How IIoT works
IIoT is a member under the bigger IoT umbrella. It comprises a network of connected machines, computers, and devices that work to achieve the desired goal in three phases:
- Data collection
- Data transmission
- Data integration
Data collection and transmission are the stages where the systems carry out the necessary data-sharing functions. Thereafter, the information is sent to the could. Through the use of advanced software, the data becomes aggregated with other data and can be efficiently managed.
Basically, the intelligent devices that connect to form an IIoT system work by supervising, gathering, exchanging, and evaluating data. Each component of the IIoT work by incorporating the following:
- Applications and analytics that generate business information from unstructured data
- Private and/or public data communications infrastructure
- Smart assets that can identify, interact, and store data about themselves.
A lot of IIoT systems must undergo data sharing between several devices across multiple networks such as the cloud (for instance, traditional IoT applications) and the edge.
IIoT further works through the implementation of Edge computing. Edge computing enhances the functions of the devices, computers, and sensors that are engaged in an IIoT system. This, therefore, brings the computer nearer to the network edge of the items that actively produce data for swifter processing.
Intelligent assets and edge devices transmit data directly to the data communications infrastructure. There, it is converted into executable information on how a particular machine is operating, for instance.
IIoT works to help businesses to leverage real-time insights so that they can act at the moment. These businesses can therefore send the captured data to a centralized cloud system for subsequent evaluation.
How Big is the Industrial Internet of Things?
To a significant extent, the Industrial Internet of Things is growing impressively. In 2018, global spending on the Internet of Things was estimated at a whopping $646 billion. Fast-forward to 2019, the figures increased to $745 billion. In fact, the figures have been predicted to hit an amazing $1 trillion benchmark in 2022. The larger share of the spending will definitely be by businesses.
It is therefore obvious that the Industrial IoT platform is big business already. According to tech analyst IDC, manufacturers were reported to have spent $197 billion within the span of just one year. That’s not all: utility companies spent $61 billion, and transport businesses spent $71 billion.
On the other hand, the IoT spending for consumers will reach $108 billion. These would have their main focus on connected vehicle infotainment, personal welfare, and smart home.
The spending of the IIoT budget will vary from company to company. For instance, companies that focus on utilities will spend mostly on building smart grids for water, gas, and electricity.
For transport companies, their priority spending will be dominated by fleet management and freight monitoring. Lastly, manufacturers will concentrate on systems that enhance asset management and production processes.
According to IDC, the prominent IoT use cases for organizations will comprise freight monitoring ($41.7 billion), production asset management ($44.2 billion), and manufacturing operations ($100 billion).
However, the tech analyst has reported that the most rapid growth will most likely be observed in areas such as in-store marketing in retail, bedside monitoring in healthcare, agriculture field monitoring, electric car charging, and airport facility automation.
Considering the variations in technology, $258 billion of that spending will be from IIoT services. IDC further elaborated that with hardware expenditures close behind at $250 billion, over $200 billion out of that spending would be on sensors.
In total, the IoT software spending was set to reach $154 billion in 2019. Most of the spending was to be carried out by the United States and China, followed by countries like the United Kingdom, France, Korea, Germany, and Japan.
( Also Read: Internet of Things: A Complete Guide To IoT )
What are the Different Types of Industrial IoT services?
The most popular types of Industrial IoT services include:
- Management of Fleet
- Security and safety
- Pervasive visibility
- Production and operations
- Proactive replenishing
- Management of facilities
- Predictive maintenance
What are the Characteristics of an Industrial IoT Platform?
The best IIoT platforms have the following features:
For actionable dashboards, reports, and visualizations, and IIoT platform augments the IIoT apps with real-time data analytics that are highly scalable and interactive.
This feature is a processing engine that streams commands and events across computers, devices, and processes by using analytics and workflow. Indeed, all IoT ecosystems must feature advanced messaging capabilities. This is even more particular to the ones that affect destination systems and disparate sources.
This feature allows the platform to create, support, and manage trusted and secure communications across the digital ecosystem of devices, data, systems, and people.
With this feature, the IIoT platform is enabled to nullify the complexity and cost of managing protocols, data formats, changing document types, or establishing and syndicating integrations for application-to-application and machine-to-machine scenarios.
This feature accounts for the management and provisioning of the device, as well as the capturing and ingestion of automated data.
What are the Benefits of Industrial IoT?
Increase in operational efficiency
With Industrial IoT, you are able to develop an environment of connected systems that feature a vast range of operational efficiency benefits. Managers are empowered to monitor the exact performance of an asset and proactively attend to problems before they develop.
This is done through the production of data from vehicles, warehouses, assembly lines, and sensors located in production systems.
Thanks to the solutions of IIoT, manufacturers can now have real-time information on the performance of people and equipment. This helps to streamline and enhance business workflows and processes.
For businesses, the deployment of Industrial IoT comes with a big cost reduction benefit. For instance, some estimates have shown that IIoT devices can greatly save on energy bills by as high as 70% on lighting and 30% on air conditioning
Better customer experience
Manufacturers are enabled to capture and evaluate data on how customers are actually utilizing their products by placing Industrial IoT sensors within products. Consequently, the manufacturers will be able to add more useful upgrades when releasing future products.
One of the most important benefits of Industrial IoT is inventory management. The attachment of IIoT devices to vehicles, warehouses, and products will empower businesses to reduce the need for unnecessary inventory, as well as making the whole supply chain process more effective.
Innovative business models
Industrial IoT technologies have paved the way for the introduction of modern, innovative, and data-based business models. For instance, manufacturers can decide to make use of data from the IIoT sensors attached to their product so as to offer related services such as predictive maintenance or remote diagnostics.
What are the Challenges of Industrial IoT?
It is important to point out that despite the several benefits of Industrial IoT, there are a lot of Industrial IoT challenges to overcome before a company can successfully deploy an effective IIoT program. These challenges include:
Numerous types of IIoT devices
To begin with, the vast range of industrial IoT devices is a challenge. There are many various components and types of industrial IoT devices such as receivers, beacons, tags, actuators, and sensors.
Thus, in order to achieve the complete value of your IIoT investments, all these devices have to be securely and effectively integrated into the creation of an IIoT network.
Models of deployment
PTC reports that “62% of IIoT deployments are on-premise, while 38% are in the cloud”. The large amounts of industrial IoT data that is generated put higher pressure on the delivery of scalable and flexible capacity. For IIoT, deployment on the cloud offers better security and performance compared to on-premise solutions.
A fast-growing deployment model for numerous businesses is hybrid industrial IoT cloud deployment. It splits the processing between the cloud and internal systems.
Management of data
For every organization, it is a big challenge to manage the velocity and large volume of data that is generated by industrial IoT. Before this IIoT data can be converted into useful actionable insight, it must have been gathered, stored, and analyzed. Only then will it drive improved decision-making.
Standards of Industrial IoT
Standards are at the core of the adoption and development of industrial IoT. It becomes a challenge today that there are plenty of IIoT standards but little standardization.
For instance, IIoT devices make use of several different methods to establish a connection and carry out data-sharing. Some of these methods include satellite, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LP-WAN, LTE, and even Ethernet.
Privacy of data
There is an increasing concern regarding how sensitive and personal data are captured, transmitted, and stored as more and more devices are connected to the internet.
Data privacy thus becomes a challenge since the value of IIoT lies in the accessibility, integration, and analysis of data while maintaining data privacy.
Security of Industrial IoT applications
One of the biggest challenges in the adoption of IIoT is the issue of security. Numerous devices are capable of gathering extremely sensitive information, however, most of these devices lack adequate and advanced security features.
Therefore, Industrial IoT is faced with the responsibility of securing the identity of every individual and system. It is a must to make sure that everything on the network is properly identified and managed.
6 Industrial IoT (IIoT) Use Cases
This use case involves the addition of sensors and other intelligent devices to new or existing plants. This is done in order to monitor exterior parameters, like vibration levels and AC current consumption, through a retrofit process to find pumps that require maintenance or that are susceptible to impending failure.
Monitoring for Toxic Gases and Indoor Air Quality
In this regard, Industrial IoT services help to enhance the efforts of facilities that monitor their air quality for health or compliance reasons. As a result, the safety of people and goods is ensured, without having to spend on expensive integration.
Today, industrial IoT is being used to monitor the air quality in school buildings. This is done in order to avoid any problems with ventilation, heating, and air conditioning systems, which can result in a number of health issues that can have negative effects on the performance of the students.
Monitoring Environmental Conditions in An Industrial Space
It is necessary for companies involved in agricultural operations, pharmaceutical plants, and the production of other sensitive merchandise to monitor the environmental conditions of an area for quality reasons and compliance. Therefore, this IIoT use case helps to save money, and also make space more energy-efficient.
Indoor Asset Location
Many industries have a lot to gain from the ability to find out where supplies and inventory are located in a defined area. For instance, it can be restrictively costly to pay a cellular carrier to look after luggage carts, vehicles, fuel, and buses.
However, when you make use of IoT asset tracking in a defined area, it becomes possible to enhance your vehicle services and reduce some costs on employees, all without a large M2M cellular bill.
Connecting into Existing Modbus & Profibus Networks
Industrial IoT monitoring enables the acquisition of data in older plants without affecting the existing industrial control networks. Factories that have been in operation for over thirty years usually use legacy industrial wireline protocols to accumulate data and keep a tab on several machines.
Although the systems are not new, they remain functional. It may seem expensive and hard to thus replace them with a modern IoT monitoring system. Regardless, this IIoT use case allows companies to improve customer relations, at the same time making it easier to adhere to regulatory requirements.
Inventory Monitoring & Management
In certain industries, it is important to know where assets and people are located throughout a defined space. Therefore, essential IIoT use cases in the healthcare industry comprise health outcomes, behavioral monitoring, capital equipment tracking, and patient tracking.
Usually, the process of inventory management varies from hospital to hospital. Prior to the advancement of IIoT, some were eyeballing it, while others simply resorted to manual counting. Thanks to the medical asset tracking of IIoT, the number of stocks each facility has to keep track of has reduced by 23%.
Top Industrial IoT Leaders
ABB is one of the top industrial IoT leaders. The power and robotics company has embraced the IIoT concept to develop smart robotics through connected sensors and predictive maintenance.
Airbus is indeed creating a factory of the future. By adopting industrial IoT, Airbus has been able to launch a digital manufacturing initiative to streamline operations and increase production capacity.
Thanks to its adoption of IIoT, Amazon has been able to reinvent warehousing. The company makes use of a series of Wi-Fi connected Kiva robots to locate shelves of products and consequently cut down 20% on operating costs.
Boeing is an IIoT leading company that is using IoT to drive manufacturing efficiency throughout factories and supply chains. Through industrial IoT, the company is constantly maximizing the volumes of connected sensors that are embedded into its planes.
Bosch has been described as a “track and trace innovator”. In order to reduce the significant amount of time its workers spend on hunting down tools, the company decided to incorporate sensors to its tools so as to easily track them. This innovation was called the Track and Trace program.
Difference Between the IoT and the Industrial IoT?
There are indeed converging areas in IIoT vs IoT. The similarities can be seen in the use of common technologies like data analytics, M2M communications, connectivity sensors, cloud platforms, etc. Nonetheless, there is a difference between the two.
For IoT, its applications connect devices across a plethora of verticals such as consumer and utilities, enterprise, healthcare, agriculture, and even government and cities. In addition, IoT devices comprise of systems that do not usually create emergency situations if something goes off-plan. These devices include fitness bands, smart appliances, etc.
On the other hand, IIoT features applications that connect devices and machines in industries like manufacturing, utilities, and oil and gas. In the deployment of IIoT, downtime, and failures within the system can cause dangerous and life-threatening situations.
In all, the aim of IIoT applications is to enhance efficiency, as well as health or safety, unlike IoT applications whose nature centers on the users.
The Future of the IIoT
There have been bright forecast outcomes concerning the future of IIoT. In 2020, the IIoT industry would have generated over $300 billion, Bain and Company predict. This figure is set to double that of the consumer IoT sector which is at $150 billion.
In correlation to the predicted bright future of IIoT, Accenture forecasts Industrial IoT applications to add a whopping $14.2 trillion to the economy in the same period of time. IIoT is, therefore, growing at a 7.3 compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2020.
In all, it is clear that IIoT applications are already being deployed in the real world. Different companies are deploying industrial IoT applications in smart robotics, healthcare, aviation, energy management, networking industry, automotive manufacturing, and many more. IIoT is indeed the future of technology in business. And that future is now!