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Understanding the Internet of Things (IoT)

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is made up of smart devices connected to a network, sending and receiving data to and from other devices. IoT creates new opportunities to gather data from the world around us and manage large numbers of devices in different physical locations. IoT also introduces the challenges of collecting, storing, and analyzing enormous volumes of data.

IoT is a related concept to edge computing, a strategy for computing on location where data is collected or used. Many edge computing use cases, such as manufacturing and utilities, involve the use of Industrial IoT (IIoT) devices.

Building an open, secure, and flexible edge infrastructure

IoT is commonly associated with consumer devices like connected thermostats, but the concept also extends to enterprise solutions. IoT devices can allow companies to improve existing business models and build new connections with customers and partners. At enterprise scale, the volume of data produced by a system of smart devices can become overwhelming (often described as big data). Integrating big data into existing systems and setting up data analytics to act on it can get complicated.

Edge computing is computing that takes place at or near the physical location of either the user or the source of the data. An edge computing strategy can help reduce latency and bandwidth usage, as well as allow a company to distribute a common pool of resources across a large number of locations.

Edge computing provides a local source of processing and storage for the data and computing needs of IoT devices, reducing response times compared to connecting back to a cloud or data center.

Industrial IoT (IIoT) encompasses use cases like these across manufacturing, energy, and other industrial practices.

In manufacturing, providing a view of factory conditions is a common example. Sensor data from machinery, analyzed in real time and fed back to control systems, can lead to improved levels of operational and business efficiency.

In energy, companies can use IIoT to better monitor their field assets. IIoT devices can gather real-time data on electrical grid performance, pipeline flow, or emissions monitoring, even with assets distributed across wide geographic areas.

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What is IIoT?

IIoT stands for Industrial Internet of Things, a term for connected devices in manufacturing, energy, and other industrial practices.