The digital transformation of enterprises continues today, and for businesses, it is inevitable.
Ten years ago, incorporating futuristic technologies into manufacturing processes was a way to gain an edge over most competitors and move to the forefront. However, companies could afford to postpone innovations for the future since only a few were still following the trends.
In 2024, moving away from state-of-the-art solutions means falling behind and losing the market, as almost all enterprises are already using technologies such as the Industrial Internet of Things, which allows them to track assets, organize remote monitoring, and predictive maintenance effectively.
This guide describes the benefits of implementing the Industrial IoT and presents a list of the leading Industrial IoT Platforms in 2024.
What is the Industrial Internet of Things?
To put it as simply as possible, the Industrial Internet of Things is a bridge connecting physical assets and an enterprise’s IT infrastructure. It is a smart device enhanced with built-in computing capabilities and connected to industry monitoring and data collection systems.
The connectivity network in industrial IoT is built using physical computing equipment such as routers, hubs, gateways, switches, etc. Such networks allow equipment in enterprises in any industry to interact without manual input and human intervention. Networks are not always local, and cloud solutions are often implemented, allowing systems to be remotely monitored or even controlled through mobile and web applications.
The Industrial Internet of Things enables workflow automation and efficiency gains across industries. Thanks to the implementation of IIoT, the management of enterprises gains a deeper understanding of business processes and makes timely, informed decisions.
What is the Difference Between IIoT and IoT?
The Industrial Internet of Things is part of the Internet of Things technology but has its own characteristics that make it stand out as something special. First of all, we mean more stringent requirements for devices, their reliability, safety, compatibility, and accuracy.
Let’s dive deeper into these differences and see how the IIoT differs from the IoT in a number of key ways.
1. Use cases
In the broadest sense, the Internet of Things is designed to help consumers every day and make their lives better and more comfortable. Smart home technologies, wearables, connected vehicles, and more are making what we saw in science fiction movies yesterday a reality.
The Industrial Internet of Things, as is clear from the term itself, is used in manufacturing, logistics, energy, oil and gas production, transport, and other industries. And if a mobile application is usually enough to manage consumer-connected devices, then IIoT devices require the deployment of a remote IoT management system and other solutions.
The environmental requirements in industrial IoT are much more stringent than in consumer smart devices. If IoT can afford unstable connectivity and power, IIoT must be as reliable as possible.
3. Data volume and complexity
Industrial IIoT implies the need to process a fundamentally different amount of data than the usual Internet of Things. Moreover, the complexity of this data is also higher, and they must be efficiently processed in real time.
As enterprises begin deploying Industrial IoT networks, they must be mindful of their scalability. The IoT infrastructure must be built so businesses can easily add new sensors and equipment in the future while maintaining support for analyzing large datasets, regardless of their size and complexity.
Regarding reliability, the classic Internet of Things is also more tolerant of minor interruptions than IIoT. Outages in the operation of consumer devices rarely lead to tangible consequences. At the same time, the connected equipment in the industrial IoT must work as stable as possible so as not to cause critical problems in operation and security.
Of course, security is always a top priority for any IoT developer. The architecture of this technology is such that it always contains potential vulnerabilities that must be securely protected.
However, it is often incomparable if we are talking about the security risks for the consumer and industrial Internet of things. The most severe consequences that can arise from security issues with consumer-connected devices are associated with a violation of personal privacy. Of course, this is unacceptable. However, the potential consequences of hacking industrial IoT systems can be catastrophic for both businesses and the environment.
IIoT security breaches can lead to financial and operational consequences and, in the case of malicious hackers, to man-made disasters with severe environmental consequences. Advanced encryption technologies, firewall configuration, and identity management strategies must be used to prevent this from happening.
Ideally, consumer smart devices should be as compatible as possible and be able to interact with each other when using automation scenarios. However, this almost never happens in practice, which is not a problem for the user.
Industrial IoT cannot afford this kind of incompatibility, as the equipment is interconnected and part of large and complex enterprise systems.
Data accuracy in the consumer Internet of Things is desirable, but errors are not critical. In the case of industrial IoT, high accuracy is crucial due to the nature of the use.
Thus, if we summarize everything we learned above about the differences between IoT and IIoT, then the main conclusion that we can draw is that industrial IoT is a more advanced and technologically sophisticated version of IoT. The responsibility that falls on IIoT developers is much higher. They are required to be more professional and use the most advanced technologies and tools.
One of the key strengths of the Industrial Internet of Things is that it allows real-time data collection and instant interpretation. The ability to manage this data means excellent business value.
The key components of IIoT include the following:
- smart machines,
- radios & controllers,
- the cloud.
Core Capabilities of the Industrial Internet of Things
In 2024, we can highlight the following key capabilities that should be at the core of industrial IoT:
- data collection,
- data analysis,
- data integration,
- IIoT device management,
- running apps and machine learning models.
A. Data collection
An Industrial IoT platform for enterprise needs to manage four fundamental components of device connectivity: drivers, data collection, data normalization, and data storage. These platforms provide swift data linkage to both contemporary and traditional industrial systems without the need for coding. Afterward, they organize and store the data in a standardized format, making it readily accessible for utilization by both edge and enterprise applications.
B. Data analysis
IIoT platforms conduct edge analytics to generate transformative insights on the factory floor, yielding rapid ROI. These insights range from condition-based monitoring for comprehensive asset performance understanding to OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency) enhancement for improved manufacturing productivity. Through an intuitive drag-and-drop interface and pre-designed KPIs, users can effortlessly extract data and create personalized analytics within minutes.
C. Data integration
Within IIoT platforms, you’ll find a multitude of ready-made connections to prominent cloud and corporate systems. Swift and secure bridging between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) facilitates the prompt exchange of data with applications, data lakes, and machine learning systems. The utilization of sophisticated data-sharing scenarios, like transmitting specific or altered data exclusively, can significantly curtail expenses related to cloud computing.
D. IoT device management
Industrial IoT platforms must provide device management tools that allow users to remotely monitor, control, configure, and update connected devices.
E. Running apps and machine learning models
Users of an enterprise Industrial IoT platform gain the capacity to centrally host and reach both public and private applications. This encompasses the capability to deploy and execute applications as well as machine learning models at the edge. Additionally, these platforms facilitate the seamless flow of standardized and organized data to any pre-existing or tailor-made application, which can then be executed at the edge location.
Advantages of Implementing Enterprise Industrial IoT Platform
As we said above, in 2024, the refusal to implement IIoT solutions means a deep lag behind competitors and a decrease in competitiveness. Businesses cannot afford not to use the solutions already used by other market players. On the contrary, they need to implement even better solutions, allowing him to take or maintain his position.
Speaking about the advantages of implementing industrial IoT solutions, we should highlight the following ones:
1. Improving Operational Efficiency
The process automation that IIoT platforms make possible means increased efficiency. Using machines avoids human error, and optimizing production processes ultimately leads to savings in resources.
2. Predictive Maintenance
Good IIoT platforms avoid equipment downtime by predicting device failure before it happens. This is possible thanks to data tracking and analysis, including using machine learning methods. The Industrial IoT platform for enterprise notices inconsistencies in the equipment’s operation in time, making it possible to involve specialists in preventive maintenance timely.
3. Enhanced Security
When we talk about improving security, we don’t just mean computer security and data protection, although they are essential. We’re also talking about enhanced worker safety, which is made possible by real-time tracking of working conditions.
4. Making Decisions Based on Data
The vast amount of data that the enterprise industrial IoT platform accumulates eventually becomes the basis for more accurate forecasting and better business strategies.
5. Cost Savings
The beauty of implementing industrial IoT is that this technology allows businesses to reduce costs in several ways at once:
- Reduction of labor costs due to process automation.
- Reduction of downtime and repair costs through predictive maintenance.
- Timely detection of all kinds of problems thanks to real-time monitoring.
- Improving overall business efficiency and lower insurance costs through increased security.
The Best Industrial IoT Platforms in 2024
If you are looking for the best industrial IoT platform in 2024, we advise you to take a look at the following list:
- AWS IoT SiteWise
- HPE Industrial IoT
- IBM Watson IoT
- SAP Leonardo IoT
How to Choose an Industrial IoT Platform
When choosing an enterprise Industrial IoT platform, we recommend paying attention to the following key parameters:
- Accessibility and connectivity. Ensure that the Industrial IoT platform for enterprise can easily connect to existing systems or tools, so you don’t have to spend extra time integrating it into your existing infrastructure.
- Data security. You need to be sure that the enterprise Industrial IoT platform uses robust security measures to protect your valuable data from cyber threats.
- Scalability. Try to look into the future of your business and understand how you will use the platform over time. You will likely realize that you will soon need additional resources such as storage capacity, processing power, and bandwidth. Find out if these are included or can be added later at a reasonable cost.
- Price. Industrial IoT platforms vary in cost depending on the features and capabilities they offer. Explore the various options available and determine which ones offer the best value for your budget.
- Support. Check what type of customer support the vendor offers during registration and after purchase so you can access assistance when you need it.
Industrial IoT stands as a favored platform within the realm of industry professionals, yet it remains unfamiliar to the general public. The valuable insights harvested from the industrial IoT platforms empower companies to craft proactive, business-centric strategies. This, in turn, leads to reduced development costs and an expedited growth in revenue.
There are many players in the enterprise industrial IoT platform market in 2024. Thanks to this, enterprises have an excellent choice and can select the best supplier, focusing on their own needs.