Understanding the Difference between IoT and IIoT

IoT and IIoT are two different terms that are often used interchangeably. However, there’s a difference between the two. To understand the difference between IoT and IIoT, let’s first know a little bit about connected devices. When any device is connected to a network to generate data, it is known as a connected device. IoT and IIoT both involve the use of these connected devices for various applications. The connected devices communicate with each other through the internet. These devices are often embedded with sensors that allow sending and receiving data. Connecting devices helps in collecting and transmitting data via Internet Protocol (IP) over Ethernet-based networks. IoT and IIoT are similar in a way as both enable connecting devices and allow communication using IP. However, they differ regarding their application. So, to have a clear understanding of both IoT and IIoT, let’s find out more about these technologies.

What is IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of connected devices that communicate with each other through the Internet. Possibly, you are already using IoT in some way. Wearable fitness trackers like Fitbits and voice assistants like Alexa are common examples of IoT. Any consumer device that connects to the Internet and collects data through sensors is possible because of IoT. Whether it’s smart health monitors or starting a coffee machine with your phone, IoT is making our life easier. With IoT, the common household items get connected to the internet and controlled from remote distances through a mobile app. From light switches to cars, IoT is increasingly every possible consumer device. Connecting devices and home appliances to the internet enables remote access that allows saving electricity and streamlines everyday life.  IoT turns dumb devices into smart devices that can collect and exchange data without human intervention. The devices are embedded with sensors and software allows communicating real-time data.

What is IIoT?

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a subcategory of IoT that focuses on connecting industrial devices. It is the key technology in Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution. This new phase of the industrial revolution relies on automation, smart technology, interconnectivity, artificial intelligence, and other technologies to enhance industrial operations. Connecting industrial devices and equipment helps in automating manual tasks, increases speed, and ensure safety. IIoT-enabled factories run more efficiently and at lower costs. This technology is already adopted for a variety of industrial applications such as manufacturing, power plants, agriculture, oil & gas, automobile, and more. The connected factories generate data that can be used to make quick and informed decisions. Unlike IoT, the primary focus of IIoT is industrial applications. Connected industrial machines collect and exchange data that can be analyzed to make fast and more accurate business decisions. The real-time data gives insight that helps in predictive maintenance and prevents costly downtime.

Differences & Similarities between IoT and IIoT

The similarity between the two is the technology. Both IoT and IIoT work in the same way by connecting the devices to the internet. However, IoT focuses on consumer applications and makes everyday life easier. IIoT, on the other hand, has industrial applications that help in increasing the efficiency of production facilities and supply chain. IIoT involves integrating smart sensors into manufacturing equipment and industrial infrastructure such as wiring to create a connected workplace. IIoT is used in critical infrastructure while IoT has general applications. IIoT has a large-scale network and more complex programming. Also, IIoT applications are more reliable than IoT.

IIoT enables machine-to-machine communication and uses more sensitive and precise sensors. The data is used by the plant managers to get a clear picture of how their facility is operating. IoT has commercial applications and is used by consumers and end-users. IIoT is used in high-stakes industries such as defense, aerospace, healthcare, and energy for improving critical tasks. From building smart factories to inventory management, IIoT has wide applications. It helps in automating the manufacturing process, speeding up operations, enabling smart decision making, preventing downtime, and reducing cost.  From warehouses to transportation hubs, IIoT is transforming every aspect of the industrial process. Businesses use real-time data to make adjustments and predict future outcomes. IIoT has massive potential as it has applications for almost every industry.