Questions about ERP Technologies

What is the difference between IoT vs. IIoT?

Definition of IoT

IoT is an abbreviation for the Internet of Things and stands for the technology used to connect things to the internet. Numerous consumer goods, like appliances, thermostats, video cameras, and vehicles of all kinds, are now considered IoT or “Smart.” The IoT devices talk to consumers on their phones and other computers and mobile devices. Manufacturers, distributors, and OEM’s build complex ecosystems of IoT-enabled devices to track every aspect of manufacturing, supply chain, and product life. This “Big Data” supplies valuable insights for optimizing the related processes and immediate alerts that improve reaction time to events.

IoT vs. IIoT

IoT technology applies to consumer goods, and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) is IoT for the industry - including manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain. Unlike most consumer applications, IIoT applications are mission-critical. They use far more sophisticated devices that collect, analyze, and display real-time data, and they can act on that information in real-time.

Development of IoT Technology

The applications for IoT are developing at lightning speed. As a society, we could not imagine just a few years ago why anyone would want to automate lights, get notifications when the dishwasher was done, or lock the house’s doors from the bedroom. Manufacturers were satisfied with the operator’s notes and records in their ERP for documenting machine productivity. They couldn’t see the possibilities for machines to report actual run times, part counts, and machine states. However, the combination of powerful mobile devices connected to inexpensive high-speed internet has sparked inventors’ imaginations and made conveniences like these affordable. With real-time, correct data provided by IoT technology, consumers enjoy newly-created comforts, and industries substantially reduce downtime, improve productivity, and keep employees focused on high-value tasks.

Layers of IoT and IIoT

IoT and IIoT technologies have four essential layers which together form an ecosystem.

Device Layer: The hardware, including the assets (things), sensors, processors (CPUs - computers, servers). Some equipment comes from the OEM, and legacy equipment can be retrofitted with hardware that connects it.

Network Layer: Communication protocols such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Zigbee, Cellular (5G), RFID, etc... This is how the information travels.

Content Layer: User interfaces for interacting with information on an internet-enabled device – typically dashboards, red/green/yellow indicators, and drill-down capable data. Content may be displayed within an existing ERP or on a custom application. It is customizable for the type of user who needs to interact with the data.

Service Layer: A software application that collects data in a database, performs analytics, and supplies useful information to the Content Layer for users. This Service Layer can collect data in various formats supplied by different types of equipment and convert it into an accessible, standardized database format.

IoT Solutions

Manufacturers, OEM’s and distributors with deep pockets pioneered applications for their industries. Since 2015 or so, some have spun off technology companies that supply the four layers of an IoT ecosystem ready for configuration. IIoT Solutions, Machine Data, OEE software, and MOM (Manufacturing Operations Management) applications are common names for manufacturers’ IoT packages.

IIoT is a stepping-stone into AI (Artificial Intelligence), Machine Learning, and similar technologies for automation.

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