The Internet of Things or IoT is slowly but surely becoming an integral part of our daily lives, which makes our work easier and offers unprecedented opportunities for use. Thanks to the organic interconnection of technological devices with the Internet and the interaction of individual systems, it brings a new view of the world and its future perspectives.
Industrial Internet of Things or IIoT refers to billions of industrial devices – anything from factory machines to engines inside the aircraft – that are filled with sensors, connected to wireless networks and generating huge amounts of data. The arrival of inexpensive sensors, programmable IoT gateways and high bandwidth wireless networks means that any devices can be connected to each other while connected to the Internet, allowing them to monitor and share their status data while communicating with other devices. All collected data can be processed and analyzed in real time to make business processes more efficient
IIoT should not be confused with the consumer Internet of Things, although functionality often overlaps. Internet of Things consumer devices can range from smart watches to smart home speakers (and bulbs and door locks and other smart home devices) and even shoes or clothes. However, the basic idea of the Consumer Internet of Things is essentially the same as the idea of IIoT: using sensors and automation to streamline processes.
Several alternative designations are used for IIoT. Machine-to-Machine (M2M) is one; others speak of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” or of Industry 4.0. All these signs are mostly interchangeable; the key concept is that ubiquitous real-time data and dynamic decision-making can deliver significant efficiency and performance gains for businesses.
IIoT is important because of its potential to make decisions faster and better. The change that IIoT can bring is closely related to the digital transformation projects many businesses are working on. By providing extremely detailed real-time data, IIoT can help companies better understand their production and business processes, and by analyzing data, it can streamline its processes and even open up new revenue generation opportunities.
The easiest way is to imagine three main components of the IIoT infrastructure: sensors and IoT gateways, networks and IoT platform. The use and combination of the individual components of the IoT infrastructure depends on the particular project.
The programmable IoT gateways are designed to connect any type of data source, including wireless sensors, for continuous data collection and processing from the entire enterprise infrastructure.
Through the IoT gateways, all collected, processed, and consolidated data is quickly transferred to an enterprise data center or cloud for subsequent analysis and further processing.
IoT platform is a complete package of software tools for processing and analyzing data and events in real time. The task of IoT platform is to process and analyze all data from sensors, machines and equipment, control units, information systems, databases or other data sources of the company. The comprehensive IoT platform helps you quickly create, test, and deploy IIoT applications or services, enabling intelligent businesses to efficiently handle their data and turn it into useful information.
Most of the IIoT applications require cloud computing in some form. It can only be data storage or data analysis, or more sophisticated management of all IoT devices or the entire ecosystem. Cloud computing, however, does not offer services that extend to the edge of the network – called. Edge computing, where data analysis is performed directly on or near IoT devices rather than a remote cloud data center. By reducing the distance that data needs to travel, companies get faster responses while increasing the security of the solution.
Edge Computing is a programmable IoT gateway complemented by advanced analytics tools that include all the necessary functions for data collection, temporary storage and real-time analysis of data and events. The device processes and analyzes data at the edge of the network and unlike IoT gateways, which transmit the complete so-called data center to the data center. raw data, sends only useful information to the data center.
There are a wealth of examples of IIoT applications, and more new solutions are added literally every day. IIoT solutions can be used in (almost) any industry. In industrial automation to integrate and communicate heterogeneous control systems from different manufacturers communicating via different protocols, or to automatically diagnose devices and monitor their status with the possibility of alerting on upcoming faults predictive maintenance. In building management for the integration and intelligent management of heating, ventilation and lighting systems. In transport and logistics to control the quality of the goods being transported – monitoring vibration, shock, location, temperature and other parameters or tracking packages and locating shipments – instantly locating assets, information about an asset or item and its location where it is or is currently located. In the power industry to monitor and actual energy consumption and automated shutdown of equipment when the limits are exceeded. In environmental environments to monitor temperature and humidity, wind or precipitation speeds, air quality monitoring (CO, CO2, SOx, NOx), particulate matter, including hazardous gases, groundwater level monitoring or water pollution up to landslides or soil contamination monitoring.
The first step towards IIoT is to understand what you are trying to achieve. IIoT projects can focus on predictive maintenance, industrial automation and integration, increased operational efficiency, reduced downtime or better business decisions, and generating new revenue streams.
Keep in mind that each project will need a different set of hardware components, networks and analytics and require the experience of various sensor and IoT network specialists, programmers, industry knowledge process analysts, and data analysts to turn numbers into useful information.