What is the Industrial Internet of Things?

First, let’s define a term that you are probably more familiar with – Internet of Things (IoT). IoT refers to the connection of devices through the internet, such as smart tv’s and thermostats, so they can collect and share data without human-to-human interaction. Gartner, a global research and advisory firm, estimates there will be 20.4 billion IoT devices by the year 2020.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a subcategory of IoT that focuses on industrial applications to increase efficiency and safety. Also known as Industry 4.0, IIoT uses IoT devices and remote sensors to autonomously collect and share data with one another over an IP connection on the narrow and broadband communications networks you already have in place.

This connected world of people, devices, and machines has created opportunities to enhance operations across critical infrastructure sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation. IIoT can help improve the way you collect, analyze, and share real-time information to help your organization make better decisions. Machines can detect and correct potential failures before they become a catastrophe and objects can operate autonomously while being monitored by personnel from remote locations.

A lot of companies have already been reaping the benefits of IIoT by way of predictive maintenance. A broken machine in a manufacturing process can mean millions of dollars in lost productivity. Predictive maintenance means using more sensors to collect better data on machines and then using data analytics and machine-learning to determine exactly when a machine will need maintenance.


By 2025, 66% of the world’s population may suffer water shortages that could lead to starvation and health problems. Preventing water loss is also a major issue for utility companies. 34% of water is lost in transmission and distribution globally. Some regions are seeing reduced rainfall due to climate change.

Sensors capable of machine-to-machine (M2M) communication in lakes and aquifers can monitor water quality and raise alarms if pollutant levels rise. Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) can provide remote control and data communication across distribution systems. This can alert to hotspots and leaks across your network and allow correction measure to be taken automatically (e.g. lowering temperature, pressure or water flow) to prevent a breakdown.

Global energy consumption will rise by over 50% over the next 30 years. Right now, utilities are faced with $200 billion in annual losses of electricity, with $85 billion due to theft.

IIoT can help utility companies identify and take immediate corrective measures where power is being lost or stolen. Smart meters – of which there could be close to a billion by 2020 – are expected to help cut global power consumption significantly.

With the population due to increase from around 7.7 billion today to 9 billion by 2050, farm productivity needs to rise from 1.5 tons of grain per acre to 2.5 over the same timeframe.

Real-time weather combined with soil condition data can turn crop irrigation from an educated guess to a science. Water management technologies, remotely monitored and efficiently automated, enable water supplies to be better used and protected.

If you have any questions about what the Industrial Internet of Things can do for your business operation, contact our Wireless & IoT Team today. We can design, deploy, and manage an IIoT system specific to your organizational needs.

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