IoT is becoming more and more pervasive. From wearables to home security systems to personal voice devices, IoT is changing the way that consumers interact with their devices and the way that businesses consider their customers.
As we’ve previously discussed in other Dev IQ articles, IoT is the connection of “things” (devices/sensors/beacons/etc.) through the Internet that collect and transmit data over a network. When done well, IoT can help businesses connect with customers, build their brand and drive positive customer experiences.
But IoT isn’t just enhancing consumer brands. IoT is also reaching into the B2B world to help companies gather and interpret data to improve the efficacy of their goods, services and operations.
One segment of B2B IoT that stands apart is Industrial IoT, or IIoT, focuses on the specialized requirements of industrial applications. While it sounds like IIoT would simply be another scenario of IoT for business, it is actually a different beast altogether. Here are just three ways that IIoT is different:
IoT applications for industry have unique challenges and needs.
The “Things” are Often Not “New”
For industrial applications, IoT is not the revolution it is within the consumer world. This is because in many industrial solutions, some form of IIoT has been around for years. For example, in most manufacturing plants, there are already sensors monitoring the pressure, temperature, viscosity, etc., of products being made. What’s new is the ability to connect these “things” (e.g. sensors) through a standard Internet Protocol (IP), so they can communicate with each other and compare and analyze the data they collect to provide richer insights.
One of the most significant challenges for project managers looking to implement IIoT will be gathering the buy-in and budget necessary to IP-enable legacy devices, like the pre-existing sensors mentioned above.
Industrial environments have already been heavily controlled and monitored. The opportunity lies in new ways to process, present, and act on data.
Another factor that distinguishes IIoT from IoT is its no-fail imperative. IIoT solutions must be consistently reliable and secure because they’re governing systems wherein failure would have serious, perhaps life threatening, implications. For example, if the IIoT devices within a grid power system fail, the resulting power outages would disrupt basic services like communications, water and natural gas service. And if this failure occurs during the summer, the lack of air conditioning and refrigeration could severely harm human health.
As a result, of their no-fail imperative, IIoT applications are often:
- Constructed to work within extreme environments. Exposed to intense heat? Ok! Submerged in corrosive liquid? Great!
- Designed with resilience and redundancies in mind, so a failure in one area won’t stop operations system-wide.
- Built with robust cyber security measures in place, so it’s tougher for hackers to disable.
UX/UI design is imperative for IIoT dashboards and monitoring screens.
Longer Shelf Life
IIoT is almost always custom made to the system it’s working within. Engineers have to consider multiples user types, scalability, existing (possibly outdated) sensors and a wide range of autonomy requirements. Thus, IIoT takes considerably longer to develop than a B2C IoT solution. It’s also built for the long haul. Industrial systems and applications aren’t switched out like consumer devices. They can be used for 20-30 years at a time, so any IIoT component must be built to last.
These are just three of the ways that IIoT diverges from IoT. For more information about how Dev IQ helps organizations develop and support IIoT solutions, please contact us.
Marketing Strategist, busy mama & blogger extraordinaire