What is the Industrial Internet of Things?
By now, most people are familiar with the internet of things (IoT). IoT came to the public’s attention because of its consumer applications. IoT devices enabled homeowners to automate their heating and cooling systems, monitor their homes, track health metrics, and even brew a cup of coffee while they slept.
But what is industrial internet of things (IIoT)? What sets IIoT apart from IoT?
IIoT is widely cited as a chief example of Industry 4.0, the growing movement toward digitizing industry. IoT Analytics predicted that the market for Industry 4.0 technology will surpass $300 billion by 2023.
Essentially, IIoT is the industrial application of IoT. In industrial settings, IIoT optimizes operational and management processes by creating a communication system between connected devices.
How IIoT Works
IIoT is more than just sensors, beacons, and devices. Instead, IIoT is an entire communications ecosystem that unites physical assets with digital systems.
What makes IIoT work is the connection between devices that enable parts of the solution to communicate with each other. Sensors and beacons generate data, but connectivity enables this data to be transmitted. A cloud or edge computing platform, supported by a network, collects and stores sensor data. In turn, applications allow this data to be analyzed for better decision making. Applications can be customized to meet unique business needs.
Benefits of IIoT
IIoT enables more direct control and complete monitoring of industrial environments and assets. With IIoT, your company can streamline asset management and gain full visibility into data to increase efficiency, productivity, profits, and safety while reducing risk. Data from complex systems located anywhere in the country or the world can more easily be analyzed.
IIoT helps companies be more efficient and productive by digitizing maintenance. Sensor data can be used to conduct predictive analytics that forecast when equipment needs to be serviced, repaired, or replaced. Predictive maintenance prevents equipment failures that could shut down production.
Using IIoT, industrial companies can promote worker safety. For example, connected worker solutions ensure that employees in the field can communicate via bi-directional audio and video with the operations center/control room when they are in crisis. This communication allows injured or compromised workers to get help quickly to improve emergency response and outcomes. Certain wearable devices can also utilize sensors to monitor environmental factors (temperature, humidity, pressure, proximity to hazards) and alert the operations center if a worker is in distress, even if the worker is unable to communicate. Connected worker solutions are often hands-free, allowing frontline workers the use of both hands at all times so they can focus on safely maneuvering in hazardous environments.
IIoT Use Cases and Solutions
IIoT has use cases for companies in many industries, including oil and gas, manufacturing, utilities, automotive, and construction. IIoT can be used to streamline asset management, track supply chains, and conduct preventative maintenance.
As a leader in IIoT, CBT has created innovative solutions to address key IIoT use cases, including Asset Integrity Management, Connected Worker, Video as a Sensor, and Condition Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance.
- Asset Integrity Management centralizes your company’s asset maintenance, performance, and tracking information so you can improve inspection management and conduct preventative maintenance procedures.
- Connected Worker enables 2-way video and audio communication between frontline workers in the field and supporting workers/remote experts for better access to real-time information and improved safety. It also provides access to digital resources such as instructional videos, schematics, real-time data readings and more to improve field worker’s efficiency and productivity.
- Video as a Sensor leverages artificial intelligence to turn a live video feed into a smart sensor and alerting system that improves and automates emergency response procedures.
- Condition Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance uses sensors to monitor conditions — such as vibration, motor current, or temperature — along with predictive analytics to diagnose problems with assets before they impact operations.
Leveraging IIoT Expertise
To make the most of IIoT technologies, your business needs to partner with a technology company that is more than just a systems integrator. Many system integrators claim they can implement IIoT solutions, but they can’t provide the holistic knowledge necessary to integrate operational technologies with the underlying compute and networking environments that support an IIoT deployment. Doing so requires information technology and operational technology (IT/OT) convergence and experience delivering IIoT solutions in the real world.
CBT has a full IIoT practice that has the IT/OT convergence expertise necessary to implement and support these innovative technologies. Plus, we’ve proven our solutions in a live production environment at the Refinery of the Future. We can work with your company to identify IIoT opportunities and customize our innovative solutions for your unique use cases.
Want to find out more about what IIoT can do for your business? Schedule a meeting with the IIoT experts at CBT.