IIoT has promise but it’s not a slam dunk

Kevin Walsh, VP Marketing, Bsquare

Much has been written about Industrial IoT and its tremendous potential to help businesses improve operational efficiencies, drive down costs and enable new revenue streams. However, while opportunities to apply IoT within industrial settings abound, pitfalls face companies that fail to consider all aspects of IoT necessary to address real business problems.

The perception companies have of “IoT” and why they should implement IoT technologies can be misleading. In industrial segments, the “internet” is either not involved or merely incidental to the work at hand. Further, many of the “things” used to collect data from are expensive, complex capital assets.

The problem is that “IoT” implies that what’s really important is connectivity, but for most IIoT initiatives, connecting devices and transporting data are only the initial steps. They do not, by themselves, solve real business problems, says Kevin Walsh, VP Marketing, Bsquare.

In order to truly yield value and positively impact the business, IIoT initiatives need to go far beyond simply digitising devices and connecting them to enterprise systems. The act of connecting devices and extracting data from them (basically what M2M involves) is only done so that we can use the data to derive novel insights and apply those insights back to the enterprise in an automated fashion. Hence, it is “data,” not “internet” or “things” that is fundamental to IoT.

What, then, do industrial businesses need to do in order to ensure that their IoT initiatives deliver? There are two key areas within a broadly defined IoT umbrella that are critical in order for the technology to live up to the hype. The first is data analytics and the second is orchestration.

Data analytics, more of a discipline than a technology, can be harnessed in service of a number of goals. First, it can be used, along with machine learning, to develop complex digital models of physical assets in the real world.

These models, sometimes called “digital twins,” ideally include behavioral aspects (i.e., not just what the current device state is, but why) in order to be able to accurately predict future conditions. Second, data analytics is what allows IoT systems to do something that humans can’t: sifting through oceans of data in order to glean meaningful insights.

But data analytics by itself, while important and useful, still doesn’t completely address business challenges established at the outset. This is because the output of data analytics is often insight. Humans can use this insight to redefine processes, improve product design, and other useful tasks but, unfortunately, scalability and reliability suffers. The goal for many IoT systems is to automate processes.

Orchestration is a term used to define the range of activities that should automatically take place whenever data analytics discovers something that is actionable. Rules are typically used to parse through massive data streams, pick out complex conditions, and then invoke pre-defined sets of actions that deal with those conditions.

Yes, one of these actions may be to text or email someone, but that should just be informational. Scalability, reliability, accuracy and cost are all improved if the IoT system can automatically take actions. Interestingly, some of these actions may be to modify the IoT system itself, say when the accuracy of predictions drifts in the wrong direction.

The bottom line: yes, industrial IoT has the potential to wring billions of dollars of cost out of industrial infrastructure while improving efficiency and uptime. But these benefits are not a slam dunk. Simply connecting devices, extracting data, and dropping that data into “data lakes” will not, by itself move industrial companies in a positive direction.

These are simply pre-requisites to the really interesting and valuable work: data analytics and orchestration that close the loop on these complex initiatives making them dynamic, self-correcting systems that truly address underlying business objectives.

The author of this blog is Kevin Walsh, VP Marketing, Bsquare

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_ OR @jcIoTnow


9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, iot home automation is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

Infineon and Rainforest Connection create real-time monitoring system to detect wildfires

Posted on: October 22, 2021

Munich and San Jose, California, 21 October, 2021 – Infineon Technologies AG a provider of semiconductors for mobility, energy efficiency and the IoT, announced a collaboration with Rainforest Connection (RFCx), a non-profit organisation that uses acoustic technology, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning to save the rainforests and monitor biodiversity.

Read more

Infineon simplifies secure IoT device-to-cloud authentication with CIRRENT Cloud ID service

Posted on: October 21, 2021

Munich, Germany. 21 October 2021 – Infineon Technologies AG launched CIRRENT Cloud ID, a service that automates cloud certificate provisioning and IoT device-to-cloud authentication. The easy-to-use service extends the chain of trust and makes tasks easier and more secure from chip-to-cloud, while lowering companies’ total cost of ownership. Cloud ID is ideal for cloud-connected product companies

Read more