Getting ready for the industrial internet of things

As the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) begins to take off, companies are having to adapt their business processes in order to jump on board. Investment into IIoT is likely to surpass $60 trillion over the next 15 years, according to findings from General Electric.

This growth of investment is particularly notable when looking at industries like manufacturing, logistics and supply chain management. We will likely see even further changes in industry over the coming years as more and more organisations begin to see the importance of investing in smart services.

>See also: Busting 3 Industrial Internet of Things myths 

As this area grows, businesses need to start planning their own IIoT processes – or risk being left behind. So, how can businesses plan an IIoT model that will work for them?

1. Develop the minimum viable product (MVP) quickly

Start fast, finish strong – the IIoT requires speed. If a project takes much longer than six months before yielding initial results, the conditions – as well as the company’s strategic goals – may have already changed. The result? The project hits a dead end.

2. Identify the most suitable IoT platform

High-quality, powerful IoT platform technology is necessary even for pilot projects. Key points for selecting a provider include fast implementation, scalability and an open platform architecture that simplifies the integration of existing systems. A high degree of efficiency through automated processes is crucial here.

>See also: IoT ushering in the era of physical/digital convergence at LiveWorx 2017

3. Enable maximum data-security

The data volumes in the IIoT are massive and growing all the time. An IoT solution needs to be able to grow in this environment because every new device creates new data. By using multi-client architectures, the data can be stored completely separately by the customer on the database level, ensuring maximum data security.

4. Ensure data sharing is possible

The IoT is about data sharing between sensors and networked devices. After all, many IIoT applications require interactions between a variety of partners and stakeholders. The data-sharing technology needs to be as flexible as possible so it can easily be expanded to new partners, customers, new data structures and scalable business models.

5. Perform authentication

Networking machine tools and industrial plants using the cloud require the highest security standards. A modern encryption should be performed as well as an authentication and authorisation of all components and users. Devices like smartphones and IoT gateways should be individually authenticated and assigned minimal rights to reduce the effects of a breach on a device.

>See also: The rise of IoT in industrial organisations 

6. Prepare to use edge-computing

Not all applications can be realised as a pure cloud service due to the incalculable latencies for connections. One example is condition monitoring, where the software needs to respond to certain alerts. The software has to process error messages such as “severe loss of pressure” or “overheating” in real time to prevent damage to equipment and people.

An analysis of the data near the equipment being monitored is necessary to do this. Gateways, or edge computing, and edge analytics are needed here.

7. Ensure producers and providers can work together

Particularly in the machine construction and industrial production industries, most companies have equipment and machines from various producers. For that reason, the preferred IoT solution would also bring all producers and providers under one roof.

8. Implement a platform compatible with all communication protocols

The IIoT is characterised by a variety of data transfer protocols. Network technologies such as Sigfox, LoRa or Narrowband IoT and protocols like MQTT, CoAP or LWM2M are designed for very different use cases.

>See also: Industrial Internet of Things under attack

In this case there is no one best protocol and no optimal solution for all types of IoT projects. For that reason, the platform being implemented should be compatible with all common communication protocols.

Get these right and businesses will find getting their IIoT strategy into place much easier. IIoT is growing in popularity and if organisations don’t embrace it now, they risk being left behind.


Sourced by Matt Smith, CTO, Software AG


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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