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Where Does the Internet-of-Things Fit in Manufacturing?

Surfing around the Internet for manufacturing automation and monitoring solutions quickly turns into a battle of acronyms: SCADA, M2M, PLC, PTU, and now IIoT. The Industrial Internet-of-Things (IIoT) is an ever growing topic of conversation and source of new tech products for the manufacturing industry. But where does IIoT fit in the complex world of operation monitoring and control?

SCADA vs. M2M vs. IIoT

Most in manufacturing are familiar with, if not already using, a SCADA system. SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. The goal of these systems are to create a “digital twin,” allowing manufacturing to monitor and control operations via a local connected network.

M2M, or Machine-to-Machine, is less concrete. It refers to anything enabling machines to pass data to and communicate with each other directly. M2M is often part of a full SCADA implementation.

The Internet-of-Things (IoT) is also a broad term for the growing capacity for “things” to have their own wireless connections to the Internet so they can send data 24/7. The extra “I” in IIoT is for when we are talking about IoT as it applies to Industry.

Why Manufacturing Needs IIoT

SCADA is like the dashboard on your car. It tells you how fast the car is going, how hot the engine is, and how much oil pressure you have. What it DOESN’T tell you is when your spark plugs will die, when your transmission will break down, or the best way to drive your car to get the most mileage out of it. That is a bit like what IIoT is doing for manufacturers and heavy industries.

IIoT Superpowers

As you implement IIoT in your facilities and machines, it unlocks a few big superpowers that define the next era of competition in manufacturing:

Machine Learning

The ability for your operations to “learn” the best way to run themselves and make suggestions to improve efficiency.

Predictive Analytics

As you collect data, you will be able to eventually predict when a failure will occur ahead of time and eliminate unplanned downtime, not to mention failure-caused accidents.


IIoT can monitor ANYTHING. You can monitor your machines individually, a whole floor, the floor itself, or the air filling the room. IIoT is not centralized or limited. It is flexible and can get data from anything you need.

Alerts and Integration

The ability for IIoT to send alerts, events, and even create tickets bring your shop floor to top floor. IIoT can integrate with your ERP and CMMS to help you proactively manage maintenance on your machines and improve OEE.

Where IIoT Fits in Your Infrastructure

Getting SCADA up and running is such a huge investment, thinking about IIoT can be very intimidating. The good news is that they are not competitors or replacements for each other. IIoT can live parallel and alongside current systems and infrastructure without disrupting them. Information that needs to pass between them like “Machine is about to blow up, you should get on that” work through industry standard protocols.
As you can see, IIoT, SCADA, and M2M all have their own function on the manufacturing floor. While IIoT and SCADA run parallel to each other, they do not interfere with each other, and can send critical information back and forth to improve data collection and prevent unplanned downtime. If you are interested yourself and would like a live demonstration, click here.
IIoT Infographic

Icon created by jon trillana from Noun Project