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What is the difference between IoT and IIoT? (And why you need to know)

Cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning…. and now IoT. Or is it IIoT?

Keeping up with technology advancements and how they impact manufacturing is an ongoing mission. Miss a development or two and you can severely hinder your company’s position in the marketplace. However, staying abreast of tech changes is no small feat. You practically need a scorecard. What’s next?!

By now, most manufacturers understand cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. But how do IoT and IIoT come into play? For many, connectivity is at the heart of their digital transformation efforts, but you may not even realize the role these technical advances play.

We don’t want you to miss out on important tech-related opportunities. The following dispels the IoT and IIoT confusion and clarifies why they matter to manufacturers, what benefits manufacturers gain by using them, and how Braincube fits into the picture.

IoT vs. IIoT

First things first. What are IoT and IIoT?

IoT stands for Internet of Things. These are objects with sensors, software, and processing abilities that allow these things to connect and exchange data with other devices and systems via the internet or a communication network.

A simple example of IoT is the smart tv. These appliances have the computing ability to capture your favorite shows, display live tv, allow you to listen or watch third-party content, and even sync with other devices. If you are disrupted while watching a show from your comfy couch, you can pick up where you left off from your phone. In this example, your phone and your tv are IoT.

This concept of an interconnected web of objects sets the stage for IIoT.

IIoT stands for Industrial Internet of Things and is a subset of IoT. IIoT is specific to industry. It refers to a system of sensors, instruments, machines, and other industrial devices networked via industrial management and/or business intelligence (BI) applications; IIoT is the connectivity between systems, machines, and people.

So, think interconnected, internet-enabled, industrial “things,” like climate controls, programmable logic controls, robotics, human-machine interfaces, cameras, etc.

As IIoT platforms continue to evolve, this collection of industrial “things” is expanding to include more and more manufacturing components. From conveyor belts to machine health, IIoT platforms are becoming the new end-to-end manufacturing system.

Why IIoT matters

In today’s marketplace, data is king. Accurate real-time information is critical to effective data-driven decision-making and management. IIoT platforms make data collection, exchange, and analysis quick, easy, and universally accessible.

It’s that last point – universally accessible data – that gives IIoT its importance.

The rise of citizen data scientists and the shift to data democratization are transforming the manufacturing landscape. Gone are the days when technology pros (data analysts, plant engineers, data modeling specialists, etc.) were the primary data users. Today data is often democratized so that plant workers through executives use data as a daily work tool. IIoT facilitates universal data usage.

IIoT Benefits

Obviously, IIoT’s ability to collect, model, and share data in an easily digestible manner is beneficial in itself. Not only does IIoT empower your knowledge pool (current employees) with the ability to work more effectively, but it also provides real-time insights into production processes, machine performance, distribution activity, and general business health.

IIoT’s day-to-day functionality is enough to make it ROI-positive. However, its data-rich environment brings other benefits to the table that have a larger impact on business management and goals.

Other IIoT platform benefits include:
  • Upskilling employees’ technology abilities allows for deeper insights into plant performance and productivity at every level.
  • Quality insights into where and how to cut costs without sacrificing product quality or losing production time.
  • Effectively and affordably combatting the current labor/skills shortage with a highly efficient workforce.
  • Better data analysis capabilities and advanced computing power, including artificial intelligence and machine learning.

IIoT platforms make it possible to track the pulse of your business via a constant stream of data. It creates an interconnected infrastructure that supports a future-focused management environment.

IIoT vs. Braincube’s Smart IIoT

Just when you thought you had a handle on IIoT, Braincube’s Smart IIoT platform gets thrown into the mix. Scrambling for your scorecard?

So, what’s the difference? What makes Braincube’s IIoT platform “smart”?

The key to differentiating IIoT from Smart IIoT is understanding the standard IIoT offering. In most cases, IIoT vendors provide connectivity and data connection with limited built-in tools for advanced data analysis. If there are advanced analysis apps available, they’re usually add-ons that come at an extra cost or that are delivered through a third-party partner ecosystem.  

In other words, your technology investment dollars get you connectivity and data exchange and that’s about it. Extending the IIoT platform’s capabilities and functionality requires more investment dollars and implementation time.

Looking for an IIoT vendor? Learn about the vendor types here.

By comparison, Braincube’s Smart IIoT platform takes the IIoT concept and elevates it to a more advanced business tool by incorporating over 25 Advanced Business Intelligence Applications into the IIoT technology. These apps bring advanced data analysis to the IIoT platform making it “smart.” Oh and let’s not forget powerful digital twins to provide you with a single source of truth for the organization.

Still confused as to how these apps make Braincube’s IIoT platform smart?

Let’s compare it to apps on a smartphone. Your smartphone hosts a central platform from which you can access email, news, schedules, games, movies, shopping outlets, and more via the apps you add to the phone’s system. These apps make your phone ‘smart.’ You use your phone to deposit a check, order coffee, and take pictures. It’s the cockpit to your daily tasks.

This is what Braincube’s Advanced Apps bring to the Braincube Smart IIoT platform. They allow manufacturers to perform advanced analytics, data visualizations, custom reporting, quality control, predictive maintenance, etc. from anywhere in the world. The Advanced Apps allow teams to do something with data, not just view it. The apps and digital twins make the IIoT smart.

The benefits of the Smart IIoT platform magnify the benefits of non-smart IIoT platforms. It does have a few notable pros of its own.

Planning an IIoT platform implementation? Here are five considerations to keep in mind.

In short, the Smart IIoT platform is industrial internet of “things” specific to the manufacturing industry. Its smart capabilities stem from the advanced applications and digital twins included in the software that allows users to perform advanced analytics directly in the platform.

Conclusion

IoT has been around since the 1980s. IIoT got its start in 1968. Their rise in prominence in the marketplace is due to a wide range of technology advancements: ethernet, cloud computing, advanced sensors, etc. So, this concept of interconnected things isn’t new. It’s simply becoming more advanced. And as IIoT functionality improves, manufacturers continue to incorporate it into their manufacturing process.

In this age of Industry 4.0, digital transformation, and data democratization, IIoT is a key component to manufacturers’ current and future success. Having a clear understanding of what it is, what it does, and how it benefits your business positions you for sound decision-making, effective goal-setting, and infrastructure development. It makes your business future-ready.

Want to know more about IIoT and how it can benefit your business? Interested in seeing the Smart IIoT Platform at work? Contact us! We’re happy to answer questions and give free demonstrations.

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