The Internet of Things describes the interconnected universe of gadgets that make everyday life more convenient. But no discussion of IoT would be complete without examining one of its most fascinating—and biggest—subsets: the Industrial Internet of Things.
The IIoT takes this complex web of connectivity out of our homes and offices and into the wild: construction sites, mines, oil derricks and freighter fleets. These can be linked industrial systems, often in harsh environments, producing reams of data that need to be analyzed and processed instantaneously.
Scaling a network to accommodate their sensitive, critically important data flows is an undertaking as massive as the machines that work across it. The IIoT is not just about fridges ordering milk when the carton is low. That’s why Verizon has developed 5G Ultra Wideband.
The Industrial Internet of Things opportunity
As more and more devices connect—an estimated 20.4 billion by 2020—a wireless network that achieves new standards for speed, security, battery life and overall reliability is not a nice-to-have. It’s a necessity.
Jet turbines, windmills, trains, quarrying tools and the heavy machinery commonly referred to as “yellow iron” all reside in the IIoT, and the sensors and monitors connected to these systems are often performing mission-critical functions. Any breakdowns or latency issues can result in lost time, lost money and even lost equipment.
How 5G will help power the IIoT
To make better informed, faster business decisions, the speed and strength of the network must be a given. In testing, Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband can provide speeds up to 20x faster than current-generation wireless. With that kind of responsiveness, the potential of the IIoT to not only streamline, but supercharge the industrial sector will only grow.
Imagine predictive analytics detecting corrosion in a refinery pipe, allowing repairs to be made before a catastrophic burst. Sensors on a cargo ship could provide real-time information on propeller performance and relay payload status to buyers across an ocean. Monitors embedded in the tracks could chart a freight train’s location and liaise with other systems throughout the transportation grid to optimize its passage. A turbine could analyze stored data and adjust its blades in near-real time to optimally harness wind energy. These are only a few examples of the ways in which IIoT systems, fueled by 5G, can improve industrial processes.
The IIoT’s impact on global business
To scale the IIoT, processing functions must shift to the network edge. Construction sites, container ports, oil rigs and yellow iron are all becoming increasingly cloud-connected and data-driven, and the demand for hyper-agility requires small, strategically placed data centers that contain massive amounts of storage and computing power. The alternative—relaying sensor information to a centralized server and back again—would simply take too long to make instantaneous decisions, no matter the speed of transfer.