What is Industrial Automation? A Guide to Industrial IoT Use Cases

What is Industrial Automation? A Guide to Industrial IoT Use Cases
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We are eager to begin exploring IIoT since new technologies are transforming the production and sales processes at every stage of the supply chain. To put it simply, what is industrial automation? What is IIoT? How does it function, exactly? What role does it play in Industry 4.0, and more importantly, how does it help other companies?

Industry 4.0 relies heavily on IIoT technologies. Other fundamental ideas, such as system integration and cloud computing, are also intertwined with IIoT. For this reason, you need to consider IIoT as an integral component of the whole. You know the IoT definition, but what is industrial IoT and what role does it play in industrial automation?

The Role of IIoT in Industry 4.0

The industrial sector throughout the world is undergoing significant change. The Internet of Things is a key factor in this shift. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is not only affecting production efficiency but also revealing upgraded ways of working.

Industrial IoT has the potential to revolutionize the modern production landscape by giving humans control over machine data. Improvements in the production process, logistics, automated plants, embedded systems, and connected devices are what really create real-time operating efficiency in the manufacturing sector. 

All of these things contribute to a safer environment and new ideas. If you're a manufacturer that is reluctant to adopt industrial automation solutions so far, you might be putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage in a market that places a premium on revenue and creativity.

Let’s check some key benefits of IIoT right here:

Superior Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is a major issue for every manufacturer. Constant maintenance is a drain on both time and money. The issue has been largely answered by the development of Industrial IoT solutions. Utilizing IoT, manufacturing and machinery function more effectively. 

If a single component of manufacturing equipment fails, it may disrupt the whole manufacturing process. Using the power of analytics, IIoT solutions provide industrial automation companies with deeper insights. It is possible to check machines and detect a failure well before it happens. This can help you save money on maintenance and give you an idea of how long it will take to get everything ready for use.


With the help of Industrial IoT, machines may share data. The IoT links people, processes, and devices together in the industrial sector. This can lead to better workflow coordination, more productivity, and less human error. Together, these factors will usher in a new era of industrial revolution. Automated, efficient, and smart manufacturing requires the incorporation of all these factors.


The development of IIoT and associated tools has made it possible for businesses to deploy, set up, and manage industrial automation software from a single place. Before this, only very wealthy industrial conglomerates could afford to do this. Now, it's accessible to manufacturers of all sizes and budgets.


Manufacturers benefit greatly from IIoT because of its scalability. In order to meet customer and market demands, manufacturers must utilize a broad range of software. There is a plethora of IoT software or hardware development services out there that serve a certain purpose. The value proposition is essential for businesses. To maximize total productivity while reducing costs, manufacturers must take a new look at scalability and implement it into their manufacturing process.

Field Service Efficiency

By taking into account elements like accessibility, expertise, and location, IIoT systems can help businesses select the most qualified field service specialists. The error reports are extensive enough that the technician may use them to prepare for the trip to the facility and bring the right equipment. Of course, just like there’s custom software for different industries, there are different experts that may be suited to different sectors.

Asset Tracking

The value of an industrial company is based on its existing asset quantity and quality. By using IIoT devices, companies can keep tabs on their assets in an automated fashion, and they'll be better able to work with their suppliers and business partners. This is similar to IoT in inventory management.

Real-world Use Cases of Industrial IoT

After discussing the specific role of IoT in Industry 4.0, it’s time to focus on some real-life applications. We can talk about IoT in retail or IoT in agriculture, but it’s better to focus on specific manufacturing applications. Here are just four industrial IoT use cases:

Smart Manufacturing

The IIoT is a key component of smart manufacturing, which relies on automated and self-optimizing gear and equipment to boost productivity. Sensors included in manufacturing IIoT devices record real-time information on machine operation, environmental factors, and production quality. Productivity goes up and downtime is decreased by analyzing this data, optimizing operations, predicting equipment breakdowns, and automating quality control.

According to a McKinsey research, IIoT may help factories save up to 30% on maintenance expenses and 45% on outages via IIoT. Because of IIoT, conventional manufacturing is giving way to smart and effective processes.

Energy Management

IIoT has the potential to greatly improve reliability, security, and stability in the energy industry. To optimize energy use and cut down on waste, there are IIoT smart grids that utilize sensors, access, and data analysis to keep tabs on and manage the flow of power. Real-time analysis of drilling activity and remote management of operational platforms are just two examples of IIoT in the oil and gas industry.

Several power suppliers, for instance, have utilized IIoT to track and examine wind turbine output. This allows them to maximize turbine efficiency, decrease servicing costs, and boost energy production.


Through innovations like real-time monitoring and smart logistics, IIoT is reshaping the transportation and logistics industries. Businesses can keep tabs on fleet efficiency, follow deliveries in real-time, and adjust driving plans depending on traffic and weather. In turn, this boosts productivity, saves money, and benefits customers.

Using IIoT, a company in industrial automation controls its truck fleets in real time. The acquired information supports preventive maintenance, reduced fuel usage, and enhanced route planning, all of which contribute to lower overhead and better service quality.

Remote quality monitoring

There are many industrial and non-industrial areas where IIoT can help with remote quality management. One of the prime examples is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Water quality monitoring is only one example of how the EPA uses Internet of Things (IoT) devices to ensure public safety. Rapid, cost-effective solutions to pollution problems are now possible thanks to advances in sensor technology. IIoT may have the same impact on industrial businesses that depend on quality monitoring methods.

Remote chemical or product safety monitoring is possible with IIoT sensors. The ability to remotely monitor many operations at once has a positive effect on productivity. Plus, with real-time monitoring, you can prevent mishaps that might compromise the product if left undetected for too long.

Explore emerging trends and technologies in the field of IIoT

All of these benefits and use cases make a solid case for industrial IoT and automation, but there’s more. Nowadays, we constantly see new trends and technologies that can merge with IIoT and transform the industry. Here are just some of them:

Sensors & Equipment

IIoT is based on sensors and other equipment. These are the devices used to collect information about the real world and transform it into digital form. Pressure, temperature, water content, noise, light, and vibration are just some of the many things they may detect and report. All of this information is sent to one centralized hub where it is processed and used.

In a factory, for example, sensors may monitor the operation of machines and report back on any discrepancies or warning signals. Sensors can monitor energy use, leading to more efficiency and less waste in the energy industry.

Location Tracking

Many aspects of manufacturing can improve with location tracking, and this is only possible with the help of IIoT technologies. GPS is a powerful option for outdoor situations, but it can be harder to use indoors and in places where GPS signals get messed up, like in towns with a lot of tall buildings. While logistics is often in charge of outside solutions, manufacturers are responsible for inside ones.

Wireless solutions including Wi-Fi and RFID provide the foundation of real-time location systems (RTLS). They are useful for tracking items from the starting point to the end of manufacturing by pinpointing their location on the factory floor. This can serve two purposes: verifying quality assurance and providing supplementary data to back up digital twin systems. This can be a valuable benefit of IoT in e-commerce.

Device Communication

Devices inside an IIoT network use a common language based on communication protocols to share information and coordinate their actions. They specify how information is sent from one device to another and how it must be processed, making it possible for all components to work together. Each scenario calls for a different set of protocols since every available protocol has its own set of capabilities, benefits, and drawbacks.

Edge AI

There is no need to transfer data offsite for analysis when the local edge network can perform the processing. This approach is not only safer by design but also simpler and more effective. Since the information is kept within the manufacturing facility, it cannot be lost or stolen.

Edge AI, a combination of edge computing and artificial intelligence, is helping forward-thinking manufacturers take advantage of new possibilities. By performing the processing closer to the user at the edge, we can lower costs and ensure continuous improvement operations, as well as bring real-time information to industrial operations, improving privacy, and bolstering industrial IoT security.

Digital Twins 

Every major 2023 IIoT trend revolves around remote access. A digital twin is an electronic copy of a factory's actual parts or equipment, and it has become an important tool for remote manufacturing activities. The physical equipment's condition, position, and performance are continually reflected in the digital twin thanks to sensors. Artificial intelligence (AI) and other IIoT manufacturing technologies allow for simulations that may help with scheduling and preparation without being on the floor.

Cloud Data

Data collection, storage, and analysis infrastructure are all made possible by cloud platforms, which play a pivotal role in the IIoT. They provide systems that are scalable, adaptable, and cost-efficient for handling massive volumes of data. In addition, cloud systems support sophisticated data analytics, ML/AI, and deciphering hidden data.

Similar to monitoring a patient’s historical data to predict disease or at least detect it early on, a manufacturer can monitor equipment conditions to accurately predict possible failures and schedule maintenance in advance, saving money and time in the process. 


What is the role of IIoT in industrial automation?

With the help of IIoT, operators can keep tabs on their machines and operations from afar. This allows operators to monitor systems from any location, so long as they have access to an internet-connected device. This increases adaptability and permits prompt action in the face of challenges.

What is the biggest security threat in a non-standard IIoT system?

One of the most prominent security issues with IIoT is device hijacking. This may occur if an attacker takes control of an IoT sensor or other terminals. Given the sophistication of the sensors and the total amount of linked devices, this may result in significant data breaches.

Does AI have a role here?

Artificial intelligence has several uses in the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), maintenance estimation, smart manufacturing, and better decision-making. In addition to these benefits, smart automation also helps firms save money and stay ahead of the competition.

How can I be sure that the IIoT system is tailored to our specific company needs?

Well, to implement IIoT into your operations, you need a system to serve as a “vessel”. It all depends on the system you choose. If you go for a general, ready-made solution, you may run into scalability issues down the line. But, by designing a custom system, you are practically tailoring the whole thing to your specific operation. We can do that for you.