Many companies are already reaping the benefits of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, but other businesses are still taking a wait-and-see approach to IoT.
While much of the hype around IoT has been over consumer products such as cars, watches, and other wearables, there is enormous potential for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other industrial markets, including what the Germans call “Industrie 4.0.”
The concept of the IoT is not new to the industrial sector – there has been machine-to-machine (M2M) automation for decades. However, the new focus on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is on enabling machine-to-machine communication, but also gathering data, distributing that data, and making appropriate adjustments based on that data in near-real time.
A key concept of the IIoT approach
According to a report by Moor Insights and Strategy, an important concept of the IIoT approach is the convergence of operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) to provide optimal performance in an industrial environment.
Machine-to-machine operations in the past were generally closed and on-site applications, where system security may not have been a priority. When OT and IT are connected with information often based on cloud operations, security needs to be a priority from the get-go.
IIoT systems must be able to monitor and control the interaction end points. To do this, they need to securely and accurately collect and measure the right data at the edge of the network. Data analytics performed closest to the edge can be done in real time or near-real time, while analytics in the cloud or data center lean toward offline operations.
Expanding IIoT capabilities
Some large players in the IT industry, like Dell, are focusing on IIoT by expanding their gateway capabilities for IoT analytics at the edge of the network. According to Andy Rhodes, executive director, Commercial IoT Solutions for Dell, “As more of the data is processed in real time at the edge of the network, the gateway becomes the spam filter for IoT.”
To get maximum value from an IoT solution, companies must combine methods used at the sensor or device, the edge of the network, and the data center or cloud.
This can make a big difference in real-world scenarios such as those on the OEM manufacturing floor and oil rigs. Read more about the importance of secure and accurate data on offshore oil rigs in the SCN blog, Bring the IoT Edge Closer to Business.
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