Industrial IoT is an area in growing dynamism and is shown to be able to transform organizations, create new business models and revolutionize entire industries. The theme is of absolute importance and finds its place in various digital innovation processes. In particular, in those who are experimenting with production systems with the Industry 4.0 paradigm.
What is Industrial IoT
More technically, the term of the Industrial Internet of Things means the evolutionary path of the Internet through which every physical object acquires its counterpart in the digital world. At the base of the IoT (and therefore of the IIoT), there are intelligent objects (i.e. capable of identification, localization, status diagnosis, data acquisition, processing, implementation, and communication) and intelligent networks (open, standard, and multifunctional).
In other words, The industrial internet of things refers to interconnected sensors, instruments, and other devices networked together with computers' industrial applications, including manufacturing and energy management. This connectivity allows for data collection, exchange, and analysis, potentially facilitating improvements in productivity and efficiency as well as other economic benefits. The IIoT is an evolution of a distributed control system (DCS) that allows for a higher degree of automation by using cloud computing to refine and optimize the process controls.
The IIoT is enabled by technologies such as cybersecurity, cloud computing, edge computing, mobile technologies, machine-to-machine, 3D printing, advanced robotics, big data, internet of things, RFID technology, and cognitive computing. Five of the most important ones are described below:
- Cyber-physical systems (CPS): the basic technology platform for IoT and IIoT and therefore the main enabler to connect physical machines that were previously disconnected. CPS integrates the dynamics of the physical process with those of software and communication, providing abstractions and modeling, design, and analysis techniques.
- Cloud computing: With cloud computing IT services and resources can be uploaded to and retrieved from the Internet as opposed to direct connection to a server. Files can be kept on cloud-based storage systems rather than on local storage devices.
- Edge computing: A distributed computing paradigm that brings computer data storage closer to the location where it is needed. In contrast to cloud computing, edge computing refers to decentralized data processing at the edge of the network. The industrial internet requires more of an edge-plus-cloud architecture rather than one based on the purely centralized cloud; in order to transform productivity, products, and services in the industrial world.
- Big data analytics: Big data analytics is the process of examining large and varied data sets, or big data.
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning: Artificial intelligence (AI) is a field within computer science in which intelligent machines have created that work and react like humans. Machine learning is a core part of AI, allowing software to more accurately predict outcomes without explicitly being programmed.
Applications Industrial Internet of Things
So, as we said earlier, IoT applications in the industrial world are so known with the expression "Industrial Internet of Things" or, with a broader meaning, the "Cyber-Physical Systems" paradigm.
Below is a list of the main industrial IIoT applications, based not on supplier offerings, but on companies that actually use industrial IoT applications and technologies to advance their business.
Industries that are adopting IIoT Technologies:
- Automotive Industry
- Transportation Industry
- Oil and Gas Industry
- Energy Industry
- Agriculture industry
These Industries are adopting IIoT technologies with the aim to develop the factories of the future.
Applications of IIoT Technologies:
- Smart robotics
- Predictive maintenance
- Automated and remote equipment management and monitoring
- Quality control
- Intelligent and automated warehouse
- Self-driving vehicles and more
- Monitoring and analysis of variables in energy management processes
- Supply chain optimization
- Improving the safety and security
Industrial IoT ultimately improves energy efficiency, remote monitoring and control of physical assets, and productivity.
IIoT in Oil and Gas industry
The IIoT in the oil & gas industry is the network of physical objects connected to the Internet. Wearable devices, vehicles, equipment, buildings, and just about any other thing can be embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity. The ability to transfer data without requiring human interaction enables previously unprecedented amounts of data to be collected and exchanged with other devices, or through a central platform. Increasingly, forward-thinking oil & gas organizations are focusing their IIoT initiatives less on underlying sensors, devices, and "smart" things and more on developing bold approaches for managing data, leveraging IoT infrastructure, and developing new business models.
IIoT in the Energy management sector
The Industrial Internet of Things plays a key role in the overall digital transformation towards a digital supply chain in many parts and value chain components of the large ecosystem, which obviously also touches retail/consumer-facing aspects.
In the energy sector, IoT devices have been able to create intelligent networks (also called Smart Grids) through the collection, transmission, and use of large quantities of data.
Smart grids use digital technologies and IoT solutions to intelligently respond and adapt to changes in the grid. Infusing energy intelligence is the key to leverage the data in the grid that allows making grid operation reliable, cost-efficient, flexible, and safe.
Industrial Internet of Things use case
Customer: GERVASIO SRL
Plant located in Pietro Nenni Str., 11 Mugnano di Napoli, Italy
Gervasio Srl is a company operating in the wholesale and retail sector of solid, liquid, gaseous fuels and derivative products. The company has been operating in the Naples metropolitan area market for about 15 years and currently, with a workforce - 16 employees - represented by qualified personnel.
Through the refueling station located in the municipality of Mugnano di Napoli, it has a potential service capacity estimated at around 300,000 customers/year, consisting of companies, public bodies, and consumer customers. The services offered by the company are:
Deal of automotive fuels
- Diesel oil
- CGN gas
- LPG gas
IIoT applied to the process of energy transformation
The Mv/lv electrical cabin has been interconnected to the cloud solution, in particular, it is possible to view the working conditions of the plant and of the interfaced production systems through the monitoring and control system. There are devices, instrumentation, and intelligent components for integration, sensorization and/or interconnection, and automatic control of the processes used. The system, through intelligent management components and solutions, also allows efficient use and monitoring of energy consumption. The graphical management interface, accessible locally and remotely from PC and mobile devices, is simple and intuitive and assists the operator in the safety and efficiency of processing, maintenance, and logistics operations.
The solution adopted is based on Siemens technology Assetguard IoT, this technology allows connecting assets into the digital world. The recorded data is transmitted through a mobile broadband modem and stored in a cloud. A local Web HMI is provided to visualize the real-time acquired data. The local Web HMI can be visualized with a common web browser. In other words, we used Assetguard IoT to make remotely and continuously available measurements coming from assets.
The measurements coming from assets are shown in Assetguard APP AWS cloud, that is the SIEMENS server hosted on AWS available for Assetguard IoT testing.
IIoT applied to the process of CGN gas transformation
The compression plant is interconnected to the cloud solution, in particular, it is possible to view the working conditions of the plant and of the interfaced production systems through the monitoring and control system. There are devices, instrumentation, and intelligent components for integration, sensorization and/or interconnection, and automatic control of the processes used. The system, through intelligent management components and solutions, also allows efficient use and monitoring of energy consumption. The graphical management interface, accessible locally and remotely from PC and mobile devices, is simple and intuitive and assists the operator in the safety and efficiency of processing, maintenance, and logistics operations.
The solution adopted is based on CuboGas Technology CUBOGAS SMART that is software that allows constant supervision and remote control of CUBOGAS refueling stations. The interactive CUBOGAS SMART offers:
- e-CARE - let the technician connect to the CUBOGAS package CPU, perform the diagnosis of potential anomalies, optimize the system operation parameters and organize the service at best.
- REMOTE CONTROL - available for both customers and the CUBOGAS SERVICE department, allows access to all system data regarding the compressor status: pressure, temperature, capacity. In case of alarm, CUBOGAS SMART permits to remotely detect the causes of the failure.
- CUBOGAS SMART can also be connected to the gas flow meter and the DISPENSERS to real-time check the station sale.