The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a digital version of your industrial enterprise with capabilities similar to IoT (Internet of Things). It’s a multitude of sensors that are all exchanging data in some kind of common space in order to give you a complete picture of what is happening in your manufacturing process and a software program (AI) with a “learning ability” and algorithms that could do anything from predicting equipment failure to giving you a specific suggestion on optimization.
Right now as the world around us is getting “smarter”, it’s a good time to take advantage of current technologies. And how in a world will you be able to compete with somebody who delivers a better quality product in a shorter period of time than you!?
Digital transformation is a complicated procedure, but fortunately, there are some integrators that specialize in creating a perfect digital solution for your business (see video below).
Here is a list of devices and programs that are currently used in automated manufacturing operations (automation stack):
- Cloud-based Analytics. This is a technology that is designed to analyze and sort out massive amounts of data.
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). This is organizational software that is used to manage and automate your business (mainly office functions.)
- MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems). This system tracks down and records the complete production process in real-time in order to have complete control over it.
- SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition). SCADA software collects the data from different devices and sensors, processes it, and displays it on the screen for operators to make decisions. This is how you get to find errors in your manufacturing process and fix them really quickly.
- PLC (Programmable Logic Controller). This is a rugged computer control system that is in charge of assembly lines, robotics, and production line.
- HMI (Human-Machine Interface). Process operator’s dashboard.
What will IIOT solutions give you? At this moment, it will give you an edge over your competitors that are still running their operations industry 3.0 style. The clock is ticking and somebody will take advantage of this new trend and technology.
Integrating all your devices within one ecosystem will not only give you more control over your business but keep you competitive as well.
Now let’s go over what is IoT (Internet Of Things) and Industry 4.0.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Internet of Things is a unified space that connects devices in order to collect and share data with each other.
It all started with the first internet-connected appliance – a coke vending machine and now we have Smart Cars, Smart Homes, Smart Buildings, and even Smart Cities. Whether we notice it or not, our world is filled with lots of sensors!
They are everywhere! Measuring and analyzing all kinds of data! To get a better idea of IoT scanners and sensors, let’s use a smartphone as an example.
So what kind of sensors do we have on our smartphones?
- Accelerometer and Gyroscope. If you ever wondered how your phone “knows” if you turned it and flips your screen accordingly, these are the sensors that your phone is using.
- Magnetometer. Compass, in other words, – can actually sense magnetic fields and your map could be flipped in the right direction if you want it to face the north pole. This amazing sensor can even detect metals!
- GPS or Global Positioning System. Yes, this is also a sensor and it is responsible for determining your location on this planet. Google maps to the rescue if you cannot find your way out of the parking lot!
- Microphone. Ever thought about it? This is a sensor as well. It measures and converts your sound signal into the Alexa command (for example)…
This list can go on and on. The new ones will be coming out as well.
Different IoT companies provide sensors, software, and cloud-based platforms with the capability to alert you on certain specific events and give you the best possible solution to a problem. Every device or sensor that you connect to your “things” will either have an IP address or have to be connected to a gateway that has an IP address.
These sensors generally have one function and a variety of them will give you enough information to fulfill a specific need. For example, based on the collected data (including historical and data from the internet), the IoT unit can decide if the situation is getting out of hand and call paramedics if it “thinks” that you are having a heart attack (assuming that you have your sensor bracelet on).
The more data device gets, the “smarter” it becomes. Data from the internet, like traffic and road conditions, for example, can be used to set up the best possible route for your vehicle. If you are wondering about the most unusual places where the sensors could be placed, then, yes, there are IoT-monitored wastebaskets!
Difference between IoT and IIoT
First of all, the obvious – IIoT is the Industrial version of IoT. Now, to be more specific, IoT is tailored to the needs of the consumer and IIoT – to the needs of the manufacturing enterprise.
In the consumer world, we may want to make our busy lives a little easier by automating our houses or placing a tracking device on our pets. By tracking down our electricity usage and whether or not we are inside of the house, we can easily save on monthly bills, but imagine how this can impact a large facility with a lot more things going on!
Cost reduction is only one part that any business owner can get excited about, but reducing human errors and correcting your production process way in advance is another great benefit of IIoT.
Both of these systems are using Machine Learning (ML) to analyze data and are generally divided by how they are being used. Everything that has to do with personal usage, is generally defined by IoT (Internet of Things), but if you get down to commercial and industrial usage, the breakdown is a little different:
Internet of Things (IoT)
- Transportation. This IoT sector includes the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS), Vehicle Traffic Control, Smart Parking, Fleet Management, etc. Loads of data could be collected here, including GPS location, temperature measurements, and even a face scan of a driver for any signs of drowsiness!
- Home automation. All scanners in your home are designed to set up a comfortable and safe environment for you and your family. In-home IoT will also help you manage electricity more efficiently and learn your behavior patterns in order to serve you better.
- Building automation. Smart (IoT-based) buildings have full control of whatever is happening inside. They use sensors and other devices to determine if everything is functioning properly and what can be improved on in order to reduce operating costs.
- Agriculture. Automation in farming is very important since there are a lot of things that need to be considered, such as humidity, wind direction and speed, outside temperature, and even the temperature of the soil! With the IoT system integrated, farmers will be able to have a solid fertilizing plan for their crops along with avoiding heavy pest infestation.
- Infrastructure. This segment has to do more with bridges, railways, and other urban infrastructures. With real-time data analysis, a lot can be done in terms of workflow improvement, repair schedules, risk calculations, etc. IoT “brings to the table” flawless integration of different events along with competent analysis that could reduce project costs and time spent on it.
- Smart Cities. Thousands of sensors are being spread all over cities in order to track down the behavior of its residents and whatever is happening around them. With smart traffic, smart parking, smart bus stop, and smart pollution management systems, IoT makes people’s lives a lot easier and more organized. The main benefits of Smart Cities include, but are not limited to, (1) taking control of whatever is happening inside the city and (2) taking advantage of specifically targeted (or smart) advertisements, depending on the area demographics and other factors.
Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
- Manufacturing. In this dynamic environment with lots of equipment being used, a lot of things can go wrong. IIoT can provide an ultimate solution for processing and controlling a variety of operations without actual people being involved.
Less “human factor” errors and a lot more efficiency in how information is being analyzed and handled. With ALL data being in one place at all times, including live and historical variations of it, a good software program can easily determine what needs to be done in order to make your production better and a lot more cost-effective.
IoMT (Internet of Medical Things)
- Smart Healthcare. This is the IoT platform for the health industry. Its main purpose is to gather all the information about the patient, including the vital signals (heart rate, blood pressure, etc), and be able to alert appropriate personnel to take care of him or her in case of an emergency.
IoTs are also able to power something called: “Smart Beds” and different types of wearable and implantable sensors.
Industry 4.0 and IIoT
According to Forbes:
Industry 4.0 is revolutionizing the use of analytics and manufacturing intelligence, setting the foundation for greater optimization of overall business and control, better manufacturing, and operations planning, greater optimization of logistics and more efficient maintenance of production assets and machinery.
Industry 4.0 (or 4th industrial revolution) is the most complete system that converts your entire enterprise into an intelligent and self-correcting operation.
We all want, but fear changes. We don’t know if we are going to do everything right and if it’s going to really make a difference or not. But we know for a fact, that industries always found a way to move forward with technology.
Just take a look at state of art Amazon warehouse facility. No wonder they are the number 1 online retailer today.
- Telematics solution. By analyzing real-time and statistical data, this system is able to reduce fuel costs, idling time, and accidents.
- Customer service solution. Great customer service experience starts at the production lines and this is where IIoT comes into play. The ability to predict problems and equipment malfunctions in advance reduces downtime and customer complaints. Warehouse sensors with automatic replenishment signals will keep your inventory levels always at customer demand levels.
- Marketing solution. IIoT system collects data at all levels, including what your current and potential customers are interested in. It can organize data in such a way, where you will only need to offer specific products to people who are highly likely interested in them. These marketing campaigns can also be personalized for every client.
- Manufacturing solution. Collaborating with IIoT can increase your efficiency and decrease downtime. This is because every single aspect of your production is being calculated and analyzed by the IIoT system. It’s an enormous “organizing machine” that will inform you of any breakdown, maintenance schedule and all possible things that you can make improvements on.
- Cost reduction solution. We all heard that “information is everything!” This is especially true with IIoT systems. Imagine a space where you can get all the data you need to make all kinds of important calculations. For example, fuel usage, the cost of fuel, and the route being used by a driver could be carefully analyzed by AI (Artificial Intelligence) to give you better route suggestions. The more data it collects, the more accurate the calculation will be and the more money you will save.
- Digital Factory. This is an awesome example of IIoT automation (see video below).