• Victor Genin

Crash Course: Industrial loT

If you have ever read about the ways in which technology is transforming the world of industrial production, you have undoubtedly stumbled across the phrase “Industrial IoT” at least once. Also known as IIoT, the Industrial Internet of Things is leading to some of the biggest changes for industrial companies in centuries. Understanding what Industrial IoT is and what it can do for your operation can help you stay ahead of the curve and outpace competitors. Read on to have your burning questions on this answered.

What is Industrial IoT?

Industrial IoT is a network of computers and industrial machinery equipped with sensors and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to collect, share, interpret, and use data in ways that help industrial companies grow more connected and efficient.

Broken down, it usually looks something like this:

  1. A small, usually non-intrusive, sensor that can accumulate quantitative data (e.g., temperature, mass, or density) is installed on a company’s existing equipment.

  2. As these machines gather data, they transfer it in real-time to a designated database for further processing.

  3. The software solution uses industrial AI knowledge to interpret all of this data together, considering how every piece of data affects the others. In some cases, it also takes into account feedback from remote experts and business targets.

  4. It then controls the equipment either through a Device Control System (DCS) or by generating textual step-by-step instructions to be implemented by the operator.

  5. Using continuous machine learning, the solution makes changes to bring the production process to optimal levels.

How does this help companies?

Industrial IoT technology allows companies to increase their product quality and production rate by using the data they already have to provide new insights that allow for more efficient production. In addition, it reduces the costs of production by maintaining various systems at optimal levels and performing complex calculations in real-time without loading the staff even further.

Of course, there are non-monetary benefits as well. The increased precision allows companies to be more sustainable, and the ability to directly monitor data in real-time can ensure policies affecting worker health and safety are implemented correctly.

In short, by using data, real-time analytics, and AI knowledge-based algorithms, Industrial IoT allows for a wide range of benefits to almost all areas of industrial production.

What is the difference between IoT and Industrial IoT?

Industrial IoT is simply the application of IoT to industrial processes, and it is technically just a more specific application of IoT. However, there are certain things that distinguish Industrial IoT from other common uses for IoT that warrant a distinct term. Industrial IoT often incorporates big data and advanced process control, creating unique challenges and benefits.

One unique aspect of Industrial IoT comes from the scale of the companies use it: because so many different types of equipment are in use at once, single companies may use multiple Industrial IoT systems at the same time. In fact, a World Economic Forum report estimated that 93 per cent of decision-makers in production have considered implementing two or more Industrial IoT systems.

Another difference is created by the fact that industrial production contains very little room for error and downtime. This means the technology must be extremely precise and work as soon as it is implemented. In contrast to many other sectors for which IoT may be used, industrial production often places individuals in situations that must be monitored carefully to maintain worker safety. The stakes are therefore much higher for Industrial IoT.

Lastly, Industrial IoT is somewhat unique in that it is almost always targeted at producers instead of consumers. Whereas some of the more common uses for IoT include devices like home thermostats and smartwatches meant for personal use, industrial IoT is used for equipment and databases that help entire companies.

Industrial IoT is an innovation that will forever change the ways in which materials go from the ground to the people who use them. In conjunction with other technologies like AI knowledge and continuous machine learning, the uses for industrial IoT are near limitless.

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