IIoT: Internet of Things meets Industry

Dec 1, 2016

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The factory of the future looks fantastic. Smart machines work together like a well-matched team. They communicate with each other; each one knows exactly what to do to make a product just the way the customer wishes. The machines keep a constant check on which of the robots has free capacities and consistently calculate the most efficient way to produce a customized product. Moreover, every machine always knows the current manufacturing status of each workpiece and its’ exact location in the factory. Industry 4.0, also known as „smart factory“, is expected to give rise to the next industrial revolution.

What is IIoT?

IIoT refers to the connection of industrial machines, transport vehicles (cars, trains, airplanes), medical devices and mega-systems like smart buildings, smart cities and smart grids.

In manufacturing, the most important aspects of IIoT are the improvement of operational efficiency, flexibilization of production as well as productivity increase. Besides, IIoT systems enable manufacturers to stand out from the competition by offering additional services.

IIoT benefits

Networking a great number of devices and machines provides a range of benefits, e.g.:

  • All devices and machines can be managed from anywhere and at anytime
  • Control and information flow are absolutely mobile
  • Comprehensive information for diagnostic purposes by audio and video content streaming

IIoT applications include

  • Motion Control
  • Machine-to-Machine
  • Predictive Maintenance
  • Smart Energy
  • Smart Grid
  • Big Data Analytics
  • Smart and Connected Medical Systems

What does IIoT mean for companies?

IIoT provides companies with great opportunities:

  • New business models
  • Improved machine efficiency
  • Better services
  • Straight-through-processing, transparency and high automation degree
  • High-performance technologies

Security challenge

The basis for Industry 4.0 is a reliable communication infrastructure that enables decision makers to gain valuable data from machines, factories and devices.

Various technologies incl. sensors, communication and big data processing are growing together and form function blocks for Industry 4.0. Due to IIoT technologies, it is possible to achieve efficiency improvements by up to 30 percent. The data obtained help to optimize manufacturing process, enable better business decisions and pave the way for new business areas.

Concurrently, the convergence of information technologies and operational technology (OT) makes both environments more vulnerable to hackers. For that reasons, experts predict more cyber attacks on industrial IoT in the coming year.

Facing the challenge, the manufacturing industry will have to extend physical security controls and use regulations for IT and OT network threat defense.