*This Editor’s Note will appear in the March Edition of ECN.
We often talk about the Internet of Things (IoT), the connected home, car, even connected cities (aka smart cities), but it’s not very often that we dive into the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)—the technology that will transform companies, boost economic growth, and create a future where people, data, and intelligent machines come together as one. A tight integration of the physical and digital worlds, the IIoT is positioned to greatly increase productivity, efficiency, and operations of industries across the globe.
Combining Big Data analytics with the IoT, the opportunities for the IIoT are limitless in a multitude of industries. Areas such as aviation, transportation, manufacturing, power generation, healthcare, distribution, even oil and gas, will be directly affected. However, much like the IoT, the IIoT will face challenges with security, data storage, system integrations, just to name a few, that could potentially delay the move toward the Industrial Internet future.
Though not often discussed, there are many misconceptions between the consumer IoT and the IIoT, a major difference being the environment. The IIoT is comprised of devices in industrial settings, such as a factory floor, public lighting system, within the energy grid, or part of a high-speed train system. The requirements for the IIoT are also very different than those set for the IoT—there is a need for constant control, faultless security, and unshakable reliability particularly in harsh environments (extreme heat or cold, vibrations, loud noises, sandy and dusty areas, etc.).
As you may have noticed on the cover, our issue focus hones in on designing for the harsh environments I previously mentioned, this time specifically relating to a component that is chosen very early on in the design phase—the printed circuit board (PCB). In our cover story, “Reducing PCB Failure Rates Due to Vibration and Acceleration,” we discuss why it’s important to integrate simulation during product development in order to reduce failures in whatever unforgiving environment it ends up.
In the age of connected things, new challenges arise. Having a motion detector connected wirelessly and ensuring long battery life is the ultimate challenge for designers, but that’s not all. Motion detectors will need to adapt to different environments and detect more than just human motion—cue: passive infrared (PIR) sensors. You can continue reading about PIR sensors in our technology focus, “Enable Machine Learning with an Advanced Motion Detector Using PIR Sensors.”
Lastly, a major area to consider when designing for the IIoT is computing—specifically, how to choose an industrial computing platform. Dive in to find out, “How to Choose the Right Computing Platform for IIoT.”
As you can see, the IIoT future is coming—whether it be next year or 10 years from now, in a dusty old factory or in the lights surrounding your parking garage. Companies and industries alike need to be ready to make the move in order to capitalize on the transformation and the probable economic growth. Designing critical systems with the expected enormously high level of reliability, especially those to be installed in harsh industrial environments, will not be an easy feat.
Are you ready?
Filed Under: Industrial automation