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What is IIoT? – Industrial internet of things

The industrial internet of things (IIoT)­ – sometimes called Industry 4.0 – is radically changing how businesses, especially industrial companies, operate. As companies digitally transform, a gap opens up between their physical and digital assets. Industrial IoT provides the link between the two. Virtually any physical object can be transformed into an IoT device if it can be connected to the Internet. This provides a great deal of data that can be used to improve performance, drive better decision-making and boost innovation.

Industrial IoT is growing rapidly. Estimates suggest that the industrial IoT market will be worth over $992 billion by 2025. Accenture has predicted that IIoT will add over $14 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Spending on industrial IoT will outstrip consumer IoT by almost three to one in 2019. The reason for this is easily explained. With the application of IoT industrial automation and productivity enhancements can be achieved through maximizing asset and operational data that has previously been under-utilized.

Defining the Industrial Internet of Things

Let’s begin with a short IIoT definition: The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) refers to the vast number of machines and devices – or ‘things’ – a business uses that are now connected to the Internet. Protecting this critical operational data, secure IIoT forms a closed, private Internet network where the devices can communicate and share data with other people, systems, and things. This data can be used to improve existing work practices and business processes as well as creating entirely new ways of doing things.

When you define the industrial internet of things, it’s very important that you understand there’s more than just the industrial IoT devices. IIoT forms an ecosystem where people, applications and devices interact. That’s why most large industrial IoT solutions are based around a central industrial IoT platform that can manage every aspect of the industrial IoT network and the data flowing through it.

What’s the difference between IIoT vs IoT?

Although the internet of things (IoT) and the industrial internet of things (IIoT) have many technologies in common–such as cloud platforms, sensors, connectivity, machine-to-machine communications and data analytics–they are used quite differently.

Consumer IoT is deployed to augment or improve aspects of a person’s everyday life such as smart phones, smart homes and smart cities. IIoT is much more focused on improving the performance of an asset, piece of machinery or an entire business process. Unlike consumer IoT, industrial IoT software is often involved with handling business critical data where failure can cause emergency situations. This requires enterprise-strength performance in areas such as security, privacy and business continuity.

What are the benefits of Industrial IoT?

As IIoT devices become smaller, cheaper and smarter, they can be applied almost everywhere. The data they create can be turned into actionable insight that delivers incredible business benefits including:

Improved operational efficiency

  • Industrial IoT software allows you to create environments of connected assets that bring a wide range of operational efficiency benefits. Sensors located in production systems, assembly lines, warehouses and vehicles produce data that helps managers monitor exactly how an asset is performing and address issues before they arise.

Increased productivity

  • Industrial IoT solutions provide real-time information on the performance of equipment and people to help streamline and improve business processes and workflows.

Cost reduction

Enhanced customer experience

  • By placing industrial IoT sensors within products, manufacturers are able to capture and analyze data on how customers actually use their products – enabling them to improve future product upgrades and releases.

Reduce waste

  • Inventory management is one of the most important benefits of IIoT software. By attaching IIoT devices to products, warehouses and vehicles you can make the entire supply chain process more effective, reducing the need for excess inventory and the potential for stock-outs.

New business models

  • Industrial IoT technologies lay a foundation for delivering new, innovative and data-driven business models. For example, manufacturers can take the industrial IIoT data from sensors on their product to provide associated services such as remote diagnostics or predictive maintenance.

What are the challenges of Industrial IoT?

Many organizations have been attracted by the benefits of industrial internet of things but realizing those benefits is not straightforward. There are many industrial IoT challenges to overcome before an organization can institute a successful IIoT program. These include:

Industrial IoT Security

  • Security is one the biggest challenges for IIoT adoption. Many devices are collecting extremely sensitive data but, in many cases, the devices have been designed with little thought to security. Industrial IoT security must ensure that the identity of every person, system and thing on the network is properly managed and detected.

Data Privacy

  • As more and more devices are connected to the Internet, concerns surrounding how personal and sensitive data are captured, transmitted and stored also grow. The value of IIoT lies in the ability to access, integrate, and analyze this data while maintaining data privacy.

Industrial IoT Standards

  • Standards lie at the heart of the development and adoption of IIoT. Today, there are many IIoT standards but little standardization. For example, IIoT devices use a variety of methods to connect and share data, including LTE, LP-WAN, wi-fi, Bluetooth, satellite and even Ethernet when connected directly to a network.

Data management

  • Handling the volume and velocity of data being created by industrial IoT devices is a significant challenge for every organization. All this IIoT data must be collected, stored and analyzed before it can be turned into actionable insight that can drive improved decision-making.

Deployment models

  • According to PTC, 62% of IIoT deployments are on-premise, while 38% are in the cloud. The vast amounts of IIoT data being created places greater pressure on delivering flexible and scalable capacity. For industrial IoT, a cloud deployment offers performance and security gains over on-premise solutions. Hybrid industrial IoT cloud deployment – splitting processing between internal systems and the cloud – is a fast-growing deployment model for many businesses.

Range of IIoT devices

  • IIoT has many different components and there are many different types of industrial IoT devices. Typically, industrial IoT device examples include sensors, actuators, tags, beacons and receivers. When creating an IIoT network, all these devices have to be effectively and securely integrated to derive the full value of your IIoT investments.

What are the different types of Industrial IoT services?

IIoT services break down into two related categories: Applications of IIoT that enable organizations to improve their complex production and operational process and those that allow companies to create new business and revenue opportunities. Popular industrial IoT services include:

What are the features of an Industrial IoT platform?

IIoT requires a new level of integration and management as with thousands of IIoT devices connected to the network an organization has more vastly more endpoints to manage than ever before. Comprehensive industrial IoT platforms allow you to integrate IIoT devices with enterprise systems and establish a digital ecosystem connecting people, systems and things. The best industrial IoT platforms provides capabilities including:

  • Device management – is responsible for the device provisioning and management as well as the automated data capture and ingestion.
  • Data integration – eliminates the cost and complexity of managing changing document types, data formats, protocols or creating and syndicating integrations for machine-to-machine and application-to-application scenarios.
  • Messaging broker – a processing engine for streaming events and commands across devices, systems and processes using workflow and analytics. Advanced messaging capabilities are key to all IoT ecosystems, especially those that impact disparate source and destination systems
  • Ecosystem services – establish, enable and manage secure and trusted interactions across the digital ecosystem of people, systems, data and devices.
  • Data analytics – augment IIoT applications with real-time, interactive, highly scalable data analytics for actionable visualizations, reports and dashboards.

Why select OpenText for IIoT?

OpenText is one of the leading industrial IoT companies that delivers a complete range of industrial IoT services based around our IIoT platform. The OpenText IIoT Platform provides an identity-centric approach to managing day-to-day operations of industrial assets and connected things. The platform provides key capabilities to remotely monitor equipment, create secure interactions and integrations to back office systems and optimize business operations.

Visit our website to find out more about industrial IoT.

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Bob Slevin

Bob Slevin is the Director of Product Marketing for IoT at OpenText. Bob is an Internet of Things (IoT) architect and evangelist with more than 25 years’ experience in telecommunications spanning Military and Private sectors. He has collaborated with partners to deploy millions of connected devices across business and consumer markets. An IoT thought leader with an MBA in Technology Management, Bob is focused on identifying business challenges and building innovative solutions to improve operational efficiencies, drive growth and mitigate risks.

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