Meaning of “Internet of Things” - IoT for short
Data is automatically synchronized, devices are coupled with other applications, users are networked - the number of devices that work “smart” through Internet access is growing. Users will find a lot of progress in this, as they can access the current status of their data from anywhere and benefit from networking with other devices and users. But industry and business are also convinced of the possibility and the resulting advantages of being able to network their devices and machines: The "Internet of Things" belongs to the new age of digital industry, also known as Industry 4.0. Read what it means exactly and how it works in the following post.
Defining the meaning of the “Internet of Things” - IoT for short - is not that easy, as there are many different understandings and explanations circulating. But at least the basic assumption is the same everywhere: The term describes the intelligent networking of objects via the Internet. These can be everyday devices as well as machines used in industry. Through their connection to the Internet, these devices can communicate with each other, exchange data and carry out tasks and work steps fully automatically and coordinated.
However, not only communication from device to device is made possible by the connection to the Internet - many of the objects also provide an interface to which a human user can dial in from anywhere and thus control the device.
The goal of the IoT is to improve our way of working and living, for example by optimizing and automating workflows or by offering a more diverse user experience. Examples of devices of the IoT are fitness wristbands, devices or applications of a smart home or machine-to-machine communication - M2M for short.
In connection with the Internet of Things, a distinction is made between private and industrial applications. While the aforementioned fitness wristbands or the smart home count for private use, i.e. the consumer-oriented side is used, the industrial sector is about machines and systems that are connected to one another. This form of the Internet of Things is called the “Industrial Internet of Things”, or IIoT for short.
The aim of the IIoT is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of work processes, reduce costs and accelerate processes. This is based on the assumption that intelligent machines can react and work faster, more precisely and more cost-effectively than humans. If the IIoT is used and applied correctly, it can significantly increase the competitiveness and future viability of a company. The IIoT can be used in a wide variety of areas: in manufacturing, in logistics companies, in agriculture or in the medical field.
When talking about IIoT, the term “Industry 4.0” is often mentioned. This term describes a type of project through which the entire industry is to be successively digitized.
Sounds promising and, above all, has a promising future. How exactly does the (I)IoT now work?
There are two main components in devices that enable them to integrate into the IoT: sensors and actuators. All "things" are equipped with sensors to collect data and transmit these to the common network. Actuators, in turn, are necessary to enable the device to carry out certain actions. So they process data such as an action command. The two types of sensors do not always have to be physically attached to the device; the surroundings of the device are often sufficient.
In addition, the respective devices in the network must be clearly identifiable so that the data obtained can be used and clearly assigned. This is done using an ID that the device receives when it is first installed. Only when the data from the sensors can be clearly identified and used can commands be sent back to the actuators. In order to continuously fix errors and close any security gaps, it is also important that the devices and their software are regularly maintained and updated. The users of the devices must also be managed. This includes their unique identification, their roles, access permissions and property rights.
The way in which the IoT works is based on a number of different technologies, such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning and connectivity. The combination of these results in a so-called “smart device”, i.e. a clever part that can use the full functionality of the IoT. But what exactly do these smart devices and the IoT bring for companies?
If companies decide to use IoT within their production or logistics, the opportunity arises to offer completely new services or business models. This can result in higher customer satisfaction, more demand and more customers. But not only the product range is renewed, the use of (I)IoT can also significantly increase efficiency, effectiveness and productivity. This includes the energy efficiency that results from the optimized use of machines and devices.
In addition, IoT enables a company to manage and evaluate large amounts of data. It thus enables the current state to be represented and, if necessary, optimized. This also enables the company to take advantage of the opportunity to optimize products and services in order to ultimately ensure higher customer satisfaction and more customers.
The bottom line is that companies that jump on the bandwagon of digitization and use the possibilities of the Internet of Things are, and above all, will remain more promising and competitive. We at EcholoN are happy to help you jump on this train. We are at your side with advice and action on all questions relating to inventory analysis and the implementation of the IoT. Please contact us without obligation.