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What is Internet of Things(IoT), Industrial Internet of Things(IIoT), Industry 4.0, Industrial Internet and how are they connected?
The term Internet of things were formed in the early 2000 when the internet was really exploding and think tanks were trying to see what the next step was after the original internet or the Internet of People. The idea was that after a period would the cost connecting and hardware for this reach a level where everything would be able to connect. We are almost there now with low cost 4G and free WIFI in many places and not to talk about the cost for the HW which continues to follow the inverse Moore’s law. Out of this have then more and more discussions arise on how we can use this and get more effective. After the economic crisis in 2008 started this process to accelerate when a lot of companies started to search more productivity. The productivity has actually during the past year slowed down significantly, large companies like GE have tried to find a way forward and in the GE case they have decided to become the new digital industrial which is all about tapping into the value of IoT and digitalization. In to following section you will find explanation how all these terms you here were developed and how they interconnect.
The IoT as described above was first just a mental idea that in the late 2000s was turned into reality. Already in 2010 did we have more connected devices than people with a total of 10 billion devices. The first wave of IoT was actually more a rebranding of the remote connection than anything to deal with the new way of thinking. Because IoT is something more than just connecting it is a way of thinking about business models and in the concept lays a dynamic where devices talk not just to users but to one another. In this network new services and business opportunities are created where more and more are transformed from the old time of buying to a subscription. The Industrial Internet of Things(IIoT) was a term that was constructed in the US by a number of large companies one of them being GE. It was to distinguish between the more consumer focused IoT and the more industrial type of B2B applications. Though the value of these more B2B is likely to be much higher than the consumer variants.
The Industrial Internet was invented by GE together with some other large US enterprises that had the goal to try to form a digitalization strategy for the next 20 years.
At the same time did Siemens together with some German companies and the German government started the initiative Industry 4.0 with more or less the same focus but with a more European perspective and a focus towards manufacturing.
The basic goal in both cases are to gather data efficient and then ran analytics on that data and then in the end feed it back to the users so they can make better decisions. The Industrial Internet is more equipment and fleet focused than Industry 4.0 that have a more holistic data flow view but more within the plant. The term Industry 4.0 comes from the classical three generations of industrial revolutions. But in general is both all about data and usage of that data.
The values this will be able to bring to you as a user will come in many forms but the single most important aspect is that mobility. The ability to view, analyze and act on data wherever you and at any time is the key. Just that have it been estimated to bring several billion USD per year in more business. The next step is to use all that data and see the patterns between machines, people and systems that are alike and give hints and advice on how to act and by that gain even more value. This is many times called BIG DATA but in that term is other things also included, see the next section. An example could be trains running on a specific track where you can tell the driver how to drive to reduce the energy consumption. Sharing is in the next level key. The last step identified is where you actively let the systems and equipment start to change and run by themselves. You let the machine get the advice from and act on it without you being part of the loop. The applications are many and a quick example could be that your washing machine is connected to the energy supplier and the grid tells the machine when to start in order to optimize operation to when the grid load is low and the price too.
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