IIoT vs. IoT: What Is the Industrial Internet of Things?

Posted by Dave Bercovich on June 22, 2023

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) continues to drive huge gains in productivity, efficiency, and profitability across a broad range of industry sectors, including manufacturing, transportation, energy, and agriculture. The benefits are so great that analysts with Accenture have predicted that the IIoT will add more than $14 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

Business leaders are certainly bullish on the technology. According to a new report from Technavio, the increasing importance of data-driven business outcomes is accelerating the growth of the IIoT market. The research and advisory firm estimates that the global IIoT market will grow 11.25 percent in 2023.

What Is the IIoT?

IIoT stands for the “industrial Internet of things”. It’s a term used to describe all the network-connected devices that give organizations the data and tools they need to optimize their industrial operations. By enabling organizations to embed sensors and actuators in a multitude of industrial assets, IIoT systems are fundamentally changing how people and machines interact. Industries can collect and analyze more data than ever before, giving them greater insight into the status of equipment and enabling them to make better business decisions. The benefits of IIoT devices are so profound that they’ve been an essential catalyst of the fourth industrial revolution.

IIoT Technologies

The IIoT is an ecosystem of technologies that work in concert to collect and analyze data. This ecosystem includes the connected machines, tools, and other devices, the network infrastructure that supports them, the storage platforms that hold the data they generate, and the systems and applications that perform analytics. Due to the distributed nature of industrial operations, the IT systems that support the IIoT are often hosted in edge data centers. Industrial edge computing and IIoT devices empower each other the same way IoT devices and traditional edge computing do.

IIoT vs. IoT

Like the IoT, the IIoT involves connecting various devices to the data network. However, the IIoT goes further by enabling the integration of IT systems with operational technology (OT), including supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, industrial control systems (ICSs), and programmable logic controllers (PLCs). 

IIoT Benefits, Applications, and Risks

The integration of digital and physical technologies helps organizations gain a host of other operational efficiencies. Applications include:

  • Predictive Maintenance. When industrial equipment can transmit real-time data, it enables a range of remote diagnostics and maintenance solutions that can cut costs and prevent downtime.
  • Supply Chain Optimization. By collecting and analyzing data from sensor-tagged products, IIoT platforms allow organizations to continuously monitor inventory levels and track the location, status, and conditions of orders and shipments. A connected supply chain can automatically adjust to a variety of factors that could impact delivery.
  • Fleet Management. Vehicle tracking and monitoring, fleet analytics, fuel management, predictive maintenance, and remote diagnostics are among the features that help fleet operators boost efficiency and reduce expenses.
  • Facility Management. IIoT sensors can monitor various building conditions, including heating, air conditioning, ventilation, lighting, security, and safety features. Alerts can be generated if any machine or system deviates from defined operating parameters, enabling adjustments or maintenance before a breakdown occurs.

The IIoT is not without risks, however. Many industrial organizations use legacy machines, tools, and systems that have been in service for decades and lack the security controls needed for a network-connected device. A hacker who is able to breach an OT system could disrupt operations — a particularly worrisome threat in critical industries.

The Enconnex EdgeRack Industrial 8M

To gain the value of real-time data analytics, organizations must implement IT systems that enable the IIoT close to the equipment that generates the data. This requires infrastructure that provides protection from harsh industrial environments.

The Enconnex EdgeRack Industrial 8M is a dust- and water-resistant edge micro data center that includes everything you need for an industrial edge implementation in a standard rack footprint. It includes a self-contained, side-mounted cooling unit that delivers up to 8kW of cooling capacity to maintain the appropriate environmental conditions for IT equipment. View more of our micro data centers for sale and contact Enconnex to learn how the EdgeRack Industrial 8M can support your IIoT applications. 

Posted by Dave Bercovich on June 22, 2023

Dave has 20 years of data center and IT infrastructure sales experience. He has represented manufacturing organizations such as Avaya, Server Technology, & The Siemon Company. As Sales Director with Enconnex, he builds relationships and grows the Enconnex business working with partners, and resellers.

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