What are Industry 4.0 and IIoT?

How is Industry 4.0 different from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?

Industry 4.0, Digital, Industrial Internet and IIoT have become common terms recently and are often confused or over-used.

What are Industry 4.0 and IIoT?

The term Industry 4.0 (or Industrie 4.0) originated in Germany as a government initiative to improve their industrial competitiveness. The original April 2013 paper can be found here Recommendations for implementing the strategic initiative INDUSTRIE 4.0 and was written for the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

At its core Industry 4.0 is about collecting data from your equipment and using it to make decisions, either manually or in an automated form. Layered on top of this comes techniques such as Lean Manufacturing and increased efficiency through automation and robotics.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the connection of consumer devices to the internet to provide additional capabilities and functions. We have seen a lot of hype over the last 3 or 4 years with everything from people to coffee machines becoming connected. Some of the novelty value is now wearing off and practical uses are becoming more common-place.

In parallel there has been increasing awareness of the application of IoT type connectivity and devices in an industrial context. Industrial IoT (or IIoT) has the promise to deliver considerable efficiencies and value across many industries.

When you consider both Industry 4.0 and Industrial IoT together you start to see an equation for value.

A Strategic Approach that delivers value

Industry 4.0 is an approach or corporate strategy that should be adopted at the enterprise level and when coupled with the technology of IIoT delivers considerable competitive advantage across the business.

By understanding in real-time how your business and equipment are performing you are able to optimise your operations, reduce downtime, increase OEE and therefore drive increased revenue and profitability. This optimisation goes beyond just manufacturing and extends upstream into your supply chain and downstream into your finished goods delivery.

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