What is IIoT?

By: on January 15, 2020

Nearly half of manufacturing and utility companies say the industrial internet of things (IIoT) will impact most or all of their existing technology within two years (full document available to Gartner clients).

Replacing static equipment with dynamic production techniques takes full advantage of the rich data you have piling up for cheaper, smoother output and automated maintenance.

We’ve covered use cases for internet of things (IoT) in manufacturing, including a four-step process to boost productivity, but you still need to get your management team and employees onboard when implementing new technology.

Use this report to introduce yourself and your company to the benefits, challenges, and applications of IIoT, then find out the most immediate way it can improve your operations.

What is the industrial internet of things (IIoT)?

IIoT is the concept of connected machines in an industrial setting, designed to improve asset management decision-making, operational visibility, and control. When machines can talk to each other, you can more easily identify trends and problems in context with the rest of your production line.

You have probably noticed other terms that relate to IIoT—Be aware of these concepts when discussing initiatives with your stakeholders:

  • Machine to machine (M2M) is a broad term that describes how connected assets communicate with one another without the need for human involvement, sometimes using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).
  • Industry 4.0 refers to the current fourth industrial revolution, characterized by the trends of production automation, use of data, cloud computing, and other emerging technologies for manufacturing.

The following graphic from Gartner outlines the various technologies that are driving the digital production revolution.

Top 10 Manufacturing Trends

IIoT not only supports—but underpins—the effective use of these technologies (full document available to Gartner clients).

What are the benefits of IIoT?

You’ve likely seen the benefits of IoT in your everyday life in things like smart thermometers or delivery tracking. That same technology can enable valuable manufacturing IoT use cases while also optimizing asset maintenance:

Leverage dark data Every factory is bursting with data that goes unused, like asset conditions or maintenance work completion. Attaching the right sensors to each asset delivers data for you to leverage.
Identify bottlenecks in production With this new data stream, you can quickly spot and repair low-performing machines to keep your line moving.
Optimize predictive maintenance Over time, this data builds and is better able to inform your maintenance schedules to avoid costly downtime.

What are the challenges of IIoT?

The benefits are undeniably compelling—a factory of networked machines that can adapt to changes holistically for maximum uptime. But IIoT implementations are complex in nature and come with certain challenges, no matter your budget and resources:

The vendor landscape is vast and hyper specialized Dozens of providers offer platforms, and many have aligned their solutions around specific use cases that may not fit your needs.
Investments without specific business goals often fail Implementing IIoT isn’t difficult, but getting the desired results can be. Without a specific goal, success is hard to define.
Variety of asset and production types require individual solutions Manufacturers often manage a distinct set of equipment, which requires a tailored system.

IIoT examples and applications

IIoT platforms enable the connections, data streams, and analysis necessary for an effective project. When evaluating systems, look for these capabilities that Gartner says “enable clients to obtain asset data that was previously not accessible and incorporate it in business processes or to improve on proprietary industrial solutions” (full content available to Gartner clients):

After learning about the benefits, challenges, and applications of IIoT, you may already have an idea about how to best use the technology for your business. Here you can find out the most effective application of IIoT and the platform features you need, based on a few key questions.


See how IIoT impacts productivity, quality, and maintenance

Let this article serve as a crash course on IoT for the industrial world before you dive further into the details. This will help you to visualize the best way to leverage this technology for your specific needs. Read more of our research to learn how connecting machines can improve your production efficiency.

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3 Ways IoT in Manufacturing Boosts Productivity (And a Roadmap to Get There)

See how IIoT helps you produce more