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IIoT: Trends to watch for in 2023

IIoT: Trends to watch for in 2023
IIoT or the Industrial Internet of Things has caught up in manufacturing. So what are some of the IIoT trends to watch for this year? This article takes a closer look.
IIoT or the Industrial Internet of Things has caught up in manufacturing. So what are some of the IIoT trends to watch for this year? This article takes a closer look.
IIoT is also known as Industry 4.0. The term loosely refers to the fourth industrial revolution, which entails sensors and the data they generate to help manufacturers achieve better efficiency and automation. The concept has indeed been practiced in manufacturing across different sectors. Below we look at some of the IIoT trends we can expect this year, based on a blogpost by IIoT solutions provider Ubisense.

Security less of a problem

Needless to say, as factory machines and sensors are connected to each other and the Internet, cybersecurity becomes a main issue. IIoT solutions providers and users are increasingly aware of this and have acted accordingly.
“Most IIoT service providers are aware of the risks and are now able to counterbalance the potential hazards. There are several best practices used by industrial system managers to ensure proper system security including using existing cybersecurity frameworks, prioritizing LAN security, and securing endpoints,” the post said. “As these practices have gotten more sophisticated, the initial security burden placed on IIoT systems has slackened, lowering a key barrier to mass adoption.”

Wireless sensors

Running wires on the factory floor would be a hassle. That’s why it’s always good to deploy wireless solutions, including wireless sensors. According to the post, currently three primary wireless technologies for transmitting/receiving IIoT data dominate. These are Bluetooth Low Energy, which can be extremely useful for certain industrial tasks; Ultrawide-band, which has a much higher bandwidth than BLE, making the transfer of large datasets much easier; and GPS, which can be used for locating assets but is often less useful in indoor environments. How these wireless systems compete, and interconnect, with each other will be a major area of interest as IIoT grows and innovates, the post said.

Wi-Fi 6 vs. Private 5G

When it comes to deploying Wi-Fi on the factory floor, conventional Wi-Fi can be ineffective due to the presence of machinery and equipment. A new generation of Wi-Fi technologies, namely Wi-Fi 6 and Private 5G, can effectively solve this, and which one wins out remains to be seen this year.
“Philosophically, Wi-Fi 6 is more like the Wild West. It is much freer and more malleable than its counterpart, Private 5G, which requires more red tape to set up, while being generally less dynamic,” the post said. “While many IIoT hardware providers are having to hedge their bets as to which Wi-Fi systems will win out, many are already choosing to make their products compatible with both. Expect some interesting fallout from the businesses that make the wrong choice.”

Predictive maintenance

A major benefit of IIoT is predictive maintenance, whereby impending failure of machines can be detected and notified to the operator. Predictive maintenance will continue to set the trend in 2023.
“Monitoring tools and equipment in real-time through the IIoT can prevent machine failure and disruption to production. This is achieved through a combination of checking for abnormalities in normal operations, as well as vibration analysis, infrared analysis, and sonic acoustical analysis,” Ubisense said. “Predictive maintenance differs from preventative maintenance, which involves regular scheduling of maintenance, regardless of usage. Preventative maintenance is obviously less cost-effective, and many businesses are seeing huge cost savings by switching to a predictive model.”

AI visual inspection

Replacing manual inspection with machine vision is another key part of IIoT. Now a lot of visual inspection solutions are AI-based to achieve further accuracy and efficiency. “AI learning systems can improve inspection processes over time, automating the inspection of machinery, products, and environments. Many of these systems utilize a ‘Rejection Decision Engine’ which compares an acceptable product model with an image of the product being inspected. The results are then displayed in real-time, along with historical data,” the post said.


Wearables such as Fitbits to Apple Watches are increasingly used in industrial settings, especially in the post-pandemic era. “Used for social distancing, worker safety and security, wearable tags and interfaces are only going to become more commonplace in industrial environments,” the post said. “Often attached to clothing and helmets, tags can also be used to help automate processes based on employee proximity to certain workstations. As tagging technology grows cheaper, and the benefits of tags and wearable interfaces become more apparent, employees will only become more comfortable with their usage.”

Expansion beyond factories

Over the years there has been talk about moving IIoT from factories to the entire manufacturing company. But there are certain challenges associated with this “scaling,” and whether they can be resolved will continue to be watched in 2023.
“This ‘scaling’ of IIoT is often hindered by the fact that the companies providing the solutions are often young and have little experience in scaling up their own solutions,” the post said. “The complexity of integrations and inadequate life cycle support also create issues, leaving 80 percent of IIoT solution buyers to scale fewer than 60 percent of their pilot projects. This will change over time as businesses get more adept at solving these scaling issues, but for now, all manufacturers should question the length of time their solution providers have been in operation, and the size of projects they have been involved in.”

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