If someone were to back you into a corner and demand a definition of the Industrial Internet of Things, what would you say? Where would you start?
In the mad scramble to look for the next “big idea,” thought leaders across industries are pumping out frameworks, definitions, revisions, etc. in an attempt to harness this massive idea of the Industrial IoT.
As with any trend, there is the initial honeymoon period where the concept is applied liberally to many things. Then, a while later, the sobering moment, followed by inevitable backlash. Interestingly, for IIoT, the literal application of the technology can mean different things to different people, while still maintaining an overarching, relevant conceptual reality. Last week in our news round up, we featured a video from Engineering.com that pushed back on the idea that the Industrial IoT would disrupt the manufacturing industry.
The main point of the article and video is that modern manufacturing facilities have already been utilizing Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology for years, so how could this be disruptive? It’s a valid point, and a careful reminder about the impact of breathless sensationalizing. However, perhaps that warning can be both valid and arbitrary within the same scope. Perhaps the manufacturing plants will not be “disrupted” by IIoT technology, but the delivery of those products and will be disrupted by autonomous ground vehicles or drones. How will those UGVs and drones operate? Via networks enabled by wireless sensor communication and M2M technology. Within this constructed scenario, we can see both the limits of broad definitions and the benefit of a conceptual umbrella within which the intrinsic value of critical industries are equally valid.
This week’s top news takes more of a high-level view of the Industrial IoT: what it is (Industry 4.0?), what it means, and what it looks like across the industrial expanse.
1) Defining the Industrial Internet of Things (Industrial IoT) (PennEnergy)
Apropos our thoughts up top, PennEnergy takes a shot at defining the Industrial Internet of Things within and oil and gas framework. They write, “The industrial Internet combines fields once separate; including big data, machine-to-machine communication, cyber security and more. … Whether you call it the Industrial Internet, Industrial Internet of Things or Industry 4.0; it’s all the same thing.”
2) The Industrial Internet: The Next Wave in Manufacturing Technology (Jesse DePinto, B/E Aerospace)
In direct opposition to last week’s proposition that IIoT would not disrupt the manufacturing industry, Jesse DePinto, of B/E Aerospace, provides and alternative perspective: “In many respects, the Industrial Internet is here today, and not just some vision of the future,” he writes. “Today, most new construction equipment is already tagged with GPS and remote diagnostic capabilities. … The combination of Internet-connected machinery and a mobile-connected workforce will allow for production managers to keep a pulse of the plant operations from anywhere.”
3) Mapping the Internet of Things (IoT Central)
Rather than defining the Internet of Things, IoT Central put together an aggregated collection of maps that visualize the interconnectivity of both the consumer IoT and the Industrial IoT. Each has a different method of display, highlighting the idea that it can mean different things to different people in different industries.
4) Predictive Analytics and the Industrial IoT: Thinking About Military Adoption (Military Embedded Systems)
The government and defense industry is a huge driver of IIoT. Many of the communication systems being used in other industrial applications have seen early iterations in a military setting. Autonomous vehicles, secure communications, remote monitoring, things that are now prevalent in all IIoT conversations, first appeared, in a real-world application model, in a military setting. Military Embedded Systems dives into what the future of IIoT adoption means in these settings, as the commercial sector and government/defense sectors strive to keep pace with technological development.
These are our favorite stories of the week, but, as always, we know we’ve missed a few. What have you seen? What do you think the Industrial Internet of Things means, if anything? We’d love to hear your input. Connect with us in the comments below or via social media and share your thoughts!