What is Industrial IoT?

What is IIoT or Industrial IoT?

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- everything RF

Feb 17, 2021

Internet of Things or “IoT” has been the talk of the town for a few years now, with its aim to improve and automate day-to-day tasks in residential or commercial complexes. IoT introduced the idea of ‘smart everything’ – smart homes, smart buildings, smart cities, etc. And it has, indeed, made modern daily life smarter. From automatic lighting systems to automated traffic systems and beyond, IoT based solutions have made our surroundings smarter and more efficient. However, there is another sector that has witnessed dramatic improvements with the rise of IoT is the Industrial sector. The use of IoT in the industrial sector is called Industrial IoT or IIoT.

As is the case with IoT, where various smart devices are connected together to provide better efficiency and utility, in IIoT various smart instruments, sensors, machines, etc. are connected together that allows them to communicate with each other and work more efficiently among other benefits.

IIoT Architecture

Industrial IoT is about to get another push with the introduction of 5G, which ensures gigabit internet with significantly improved latency. Wi-Fi becomes inadequate in such applications because there are hundreds and thousands of nodes in a manufacturing plant and Wi-Fi, even with the introduction of Wi-Fi 6, cannot handle this many nodes.

Industries relied almost entirely on wired connections to ensure that all the nodes can be connected with low latency but 5G promises to change this. Wired connections pose various difficulties in industrial environments including difficult wire management and mobility restrictions of various robots and moving equipment.

Some of the initial deployment of IIoT using 5G technology can be seen in the following initiatives:

  • In September 2020, Ericsson teamed up with Telefónica Germany to enable 5G car production via a private 5G network for Mercedes-Benz at the company’s Sindelfingen plant in southern Germany. All production systems and machines in the new-build factory will be connected and operated via secure 5G with gigabit data rates and almost real-time latency times while handling large amounts of data. The 5G network will enable Mercedes-Benz to boost flexibility, production precision and efficiency as industry digitization and Internet of Things (IoT) becomes a reality in car production. Read more about this.
  • In July 2020, Ericsson and TDC NET deployed 5G at one of Grundfo’s plants in Bjerringbro, Denmark as a proof of concept. The deployment replaced wired connections with dedicated wireless network. Read more about this.


IIoT systems need to be highly reliable as there is more at stake where system failures and downtime can result in high-risk situations or a fatal accident. It also needs to be long lasting because, unlike normal IoT devices, Industrial IoT devices have much longer service lives that can span up to 7-10 years or more.

The implementation of Industrial IIoT requires immense planning. It requires a fully functional strategy to fetch data from the nodes, save it accessible formats – in data centers or cloud – which will be used for further processing and analysis. IIoT also requires devices and machines which support the latest technologies and standards. Older equipment was not designed to provide information in the way that an IIoT backend would require, which increases the cost of implementation in a full-fledged manufacturing plant.

Another challenge is the lack of standardization in of formats and technologies. There is a range of different formats and technologies that work in different parts of the machine-to-machine communication. Physical layer technology, like Sigfox and Zigbee, and software layers are necessary for a functional IIoT system and all of it must be interoperable.

Security is another very important of IIoT. Creating a system which can control most parts of an industrial complex also means that any security breach can lead to access to equipment and machines or theft of confidential data. This means that the system needs to have a robust security framework which can prevent any unauthorized access/breach.