[IIoT Series] 1. The Internet of Things for industrial environments

What exactly is the IIoT, and why should we distinguish from the ‘classic’ IoT?

In recent years the focus of IoT has been very much on the consumer-end, thinking of the connected home, the connected car, and the connected self. Whilst those areas are continuing to evolve and the ever-growing data derived from connected devices is being used increasingly more relevantly and predictively, the next wave of IoT has begun to roll in: the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) – in essence IoT with shifted focus to industrial environments, requiring differing treatment and approach due to different conditions.

Similarly to the classic IoT concept, the IIoT refers to smart machines with sensors that share their data with other machines through the cloud, and autonomously act upon that data with help of programmed business logic and more importantly predictive logic that continuously evolves over time. This big data can help businesses to pick up on inefficiencies and problems early in the supply chain, raise the bar on quality control, support sustainable practices and energy-efficiencies, and overall back business intelligence efforts, with the ability to operate with little or no human intervention.

The area where IoT and IIoT may arguable differ, and why we think it’s important to define it separate from IoT, is that IIoT deals with connectivity in industrial networks, infrastructure, and building systems – often extreme environments that have special needs, which we will elaborate on in our industry examples in the next blog posts of this series.

What does the future hold for IIoT?

Whilst the number of sensors and devices for the IIoT has already reached tens of billions, their full potential has not nearly been reached yet. What is yet to come is to apply them effectively within organisations through entire supply chains and across multiple industries, and leveraging the produced big data autonomously to its full potential.

Today the IIoT is improving productivity, reducing operating costs, and enhancing safety in industrial environments, but the future and long-term potential involves the disruption of markets to generate new and re-invented revenue streams.

Accenture estimates that the IIoT could add US$14.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030, which means whole sectors will be reinvented as businesses shift from selling products to delivering measurable, guaranteed outcomes based on reliable prediction logic.

The Tech Data IIoT Series

Over the past months we have seen an increasing interest from our clients on how they can either enter the IIoT space or how they can improve the intelligence of their existing IIoT infrastructure. We found that there is still a lot of misconception in this space and a lot of questions around how to approach a digital strategy with focus on IIoT, so we thought we would share some of our client’s challenges  within a variety of industries with you, and how we helped them approach the IIoT.

In a series of exciting posts over the next two months we want to bring the IIoT closer to your (or your client’s) business by sharing relevant use cases across the Hospitality, Retail, Energy, Manufacturing, and Health sector, so you can jump on the next wave of IoT for your business.

Next week we will kick things off with an industry example within the Hospitality sector, specifically looking at the pub-industry, because let’s be honest – if we go to a pub and our favourite ale is just running out of stock, neither customer, nor business is happy! Stay tuned.

Author: Gianna Illenseer

Product Strategy Lead with over 10 years industry experience, helping clients transform their businesses and making sense of their digital ecosystem. She and her team of strategically-minded people define and deliver outstanding user-centric digital experiences and product strategies.

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