What is IIoT?

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), at a broad brush, is the application of Internet technologies in the industrial world. This note traces its history with the evolving automation levels in manufacturing. However, IIoT technologies extend beyond manufacturing to transportation, energy, smart cities and even farming: wherever there are machines. Since the industrial world is characterized by machines, the example of manufacturing is used here to trace the history of IIoT.

Digitized manufacturing started with the introduction of a new class of machines called CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled). Today’s manufacturing is dominated by CNC machines but they evolved over time. The first generation of CNCs could be programmed to perform multiple operations without manual interventions. This brought about mass production and a leap forward in industrial productivity.

Fast forward to the 1980s: The next generation of CNCs took advantage of computer networks - CNCs were networked to each other via Ethernet. This gave rise to machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, leading to automated process from design changes in CAD (Computer Aided Design) to tooling changes in shop floors using CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing).SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems were introduced to monitor real-time data generated from the manufacturing processes and this gave rise to precision manufacturing, lower wastage and even higher levels of productivity.

The rapid commercialization of Internet as we know it today (network of computers using the TCP/IP protocol) gave rise to several technologies, one of which is the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is a network of devices communicating on an IP (ie TCP/IP) network. Two streams of IoT applications developed: for consumers and for business. IoT applications for the business world is referred to as the Industrial Internet (shorter form of Industrial Internet of Things). Today’s CNC machines and robots (using the common IP protocol standard), are not only exchanging data among themselves but are intelligent enough (through sensors) to determine health and performance of other machines in the network to effect self-correcting mechanisms or optimize themselves to avoid wastage. IIoT has reshaped factories to such an extent that digitized manufacturing adopting IIoT standards is referred to as Industry 4.0.

As mentioned before, Industrial IoT extends beyond manufacturing. It refers to any facility where there are Machines and Sensors communicating over an IP network. Combined with that are sensor analytics, control functions and more.

1 crane big is a portfolio of IIoT applications for Data Centers, ATM Sites and Telecom Facilities. Each of these is characterized by machines, sensors, appliances, devices and applications communicating over an IP network. GFS Crane brings together these “Internet of Machines.” Monitoring and beyond, GFS Crane transforms the very high volumes of different varieties of data, captured real-time from different machines and devices, through an Analytics and Business Intelligence layer. This provides deep insights for customers to achieve highest uptimes, maximize utilization, reduce energy costs and maintain highest levels of security of their infrastructure asset base. For more on our IIoT applications, write to sales@greenfieldsoft.com.

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