For industries of all kinds – from farming to aerospace – harnessing the use of connected devices, machine-to-machine (M2M) technology and big data is creating a revolution that will cut production times, reduce inefficiencies through predictive maintenance, boosting outputs and increasing revenues.
Also known as Industry 4.0, the benefits of the IIoT are being adopted by an ever-increasing number of companies, and its use and application is expected to explode in coming years.
Indeed, research by Business Insider UK suggests that the installation of manufacturing IoT devices is expected to grow from 237 million in 2015 to 923 million in 2020 and that by then, global manufacturers will invest $70 billion on IoT solutions, up from $29 billion in 2015.
More complex IIoT applications are already beginning to emerge, and autonomous robots and augmented reality are likely to become more commonplace in the near future. But what other ways can the IIoT be applied? We take a look at just a few…
1. Game of drones
Drones are seemingly everywhere these days. But far from being the latest tech fad, their unique ability to access hard to reach places and collect vital data could see them make a massive impact in wide variety of industrial applications. Sensor-packed drones are fast being harnessed by the construction industry in particular, as well as companies as diverse as UPS, the US military and even UK farms.
2. Farmer's friend
Speaking of farming, the IIoT is arguably at its most potent in this sector and is making a big impact on farms across the globe. Farmers are using high tech farming techniques such as sensors in fields that provide data on soil acidity or topography for example. Being able to monitor equipment performance or livestock feeding via a smartphone is another useful capability, and by collating the data provided by connected devices from across their farms, farmers are able to make more accurate predictions and react more speedily than ever before.
3. A dusty future
It might sound like a concept dreamt up as part of a 80s Hollywood sci-fi movie, but smart dust has the ability to be used in an almost endless range of applications. Made up of microscopic sensors just a few millimeters wide, smart dust particles can measure things such as vibration, temperature or chemical components and relay that data to a connected device. And because of their tiny size, they're able to be used in situations where no other form of sensor could.
Predicted by Gartner to be a major emerging technological trend, potential smart dust applications range from agriculture and factory manufacturing settings, to oil exploration, neurosurgery and even the exploration of new planets.