Why is IIoT Changing The Industrial Landscape?
The proliferation of smart devices has given rise to new business opportunities, as well as work automation and new challenges in understanding the possibilities of these new technologies.
According to data from Oxford Economics, the IIoT can impact industries representing 62% of GDP in G20 countries (manufacturing, energy or food).
The adoption of IIoT can revolutionize the way industries operate, but what is it? What are the challenges it faces? What are its applications? We analyze them all below.
What is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is defined as the set of sensors, instruments, and intelligent devices used to improve industrial and manufacturing processes.
This network enables data collection, analysis, and production optimization, increasing efficiency and reducing costs. It uses the power of smart machines and real-time analytics to leverage the data that traditional machines have produced in industrial environments over the past few years.
The philosophy driving the IIoT is that smart machines are better than humans at capturing and analyzing data in real-time, as well as communicating important information that can be used to make business decisions faster and more accurately.
Sensors enable companies to detect inefficiencies and problems earlier, saving time and money, while supporting business intelligence efforts.
The main components of IIoT are:
- Intelligent sensors
- Wireless Gateway Network
- Data analysis through Edge Computing and Fog Computing
- MQTT applications, COAP, etc.
Benefits of IIoT
The financial implications of IIoT within Industry 4.0 are constantly changing. The industry may still be resisting, but IIoT, like other technologies, is laying the scalable and solid foundation to bring this change to existing manufacturing plants.
Some of its key benefits are:
- Facilitates predictive maintenance: Organizations can use real-time data generated by IIoT systems to predict when a machine will need to be serviced. This improves the production line, where machine failure could lead to work stoppage and higher costs.
- More efficient field service: IIoT technology helps technicians identify potential problems with customers’ equipment before they become major issues, as well as providing them with information about the parts they need to make a repair.
- Better facility management: Equipment is subject to wear and tear, but sensors can monitor vibration, temperature, and other factors that accelerate wear and tear.
- Improved customer satisfaction: The manufacturer can capture and analyze data on customer behavior with products, allowing them to build more customer-centric product roadmaps.
- Asset tracking: Suppliers, manufacturers, and customers can use asset management systems to track the location, status, and condition of products throughout the supply chain. The system sends alerts if goods are damaged or at risk, allowing potential problems to be anticipated.
- Drives the product innovation process: By increasing efficiency and productivity, it creates new business opportunities, as well as reinforces worker safety.
IIoT vs. IoT
Current IIoT applications are more widespread in sectors such as manufacturing, transportation or energy, and current investment is expected to double by 2025.
IIoT adoption is expected to result in the deployment of more industrial robots (such as collaborative robots or cobots), predictive maintenance systems, or freight transportation.
Although IoT and IIoT have many technologies in common, such as cloud platforms, sensors, connectivity, machine-to-machine communications, and data analytics, they are used for different purposes. If we analyze the differences between IIoT and IoT, the main one is that the latter is more focused on services for consumers, while the former is more focused on increasing safety and production.
Advances in IIoT technology enable the convergence of IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operational Technology) communication in industrial automation. This translates into taking business performance to a new level. Why? Well, because IIoT solutions collect data from equipment, store it on Edge devices, process it, and send it to the cloud. This helps industrial systems gain better control of process operations and safety management.
In fact, this constant collection and transmission of data from smart devices offer new opportunities for growth and positive results for businesses.
On the other hand, IoT applications connect devices in multiple verticals, such as agriculture, healthcare, public administrations, consumers, cities, etc. On the other hand, IIoT applications connect machines and devices in sectors such as oil and gas, utilities, and manufacturing.
IIoT applications are wide-ranging and cover a large number of sectors. These are some of the most important ones:
- Optimization of machine performance: As mentioned above, one of the great advantages of this technology is that sensors help to optimize machine utilization time within an industrial plant.
- Improved logistics and distribution: Sensors provide real-time data on the location of stored products, their temperature or environmental conditions, which is very useful in sectors such as pharmaceuticals.
- Reduction of accidents: Wearables such as glasses, bracelets or gloves collect data from operators to reduce the possibility of accidents, thanks to information on their location or proximity to machines.
- Autonomous vehicles: Transporting goods around the plant using intelligent vehicles saves time and allows them to move from one side to the other detecting and avoiding obstacles.
- The future of the aeronautics industry: A concrete example is Airbus, the aircraft manufacturer, which has already implemented a digital factory that streamlines operations and boosts production by including sensors in machines and tools on the shop floor.
- Robotics: One of the most widespread applications is in the field of robotics, where sensors and cloud data analysis are used to predict the imminent failure of the components of these robots.
Although IIoT devices have been around for several years, their adoption is still on a very small scale. The introduction of 5G is changing this situation, and its use will become more prevalent in the near future, as organizations realize their full potential.
This technology will play a very important role in digital transformation and Industry 4.0. If you want to know more about IIoT and IoT, do not hesitate to contact our experts!