SASKATCHEWAN RESEARCH COUNCIL
How the Industrial Internet of Things
is Transforming the Workplace
Is your equipment exchanging information
to help you make decisions?
By the Saskatchewan Research Council
If you’ve shopped for a new washing machine or dryer recently, you
may have been surprised to find that some new models include Wi-
Fi connectivity built in. This feature gives you the ability to monitor
loads, or even change the cycle time from your phone. It is an example of
the Internet of Things (IoT) – connecting ordinarily mundane devices to
the Internet to give you greater knowledge and control of their functions.
But IoT goes far beyond household appliances. The core technology of
IoT has been around for a while and its use by industry is becoming increasingly
common. And as the components required to build an IoT system
become smaller, cheaper and more robust, the increased practicality of
IoT allows industry to leverage an unprecedented amount of data.
How does the Internet of Things work?
The Internet is a network of devices exchanging information. Just like people
must understand each other’s languages to have a conversation, devices
must understand how to communicate with other devices as well. Certain
protocols are in place to allow devices from anywhere in the world to transfer
and receive data without the message becoming lost, damaged in the
process or, in other words, misunderstood. Like most public infrastructure,
the Internet can be used freely by all – non-living things included. The IoT
uses this existing network for ordinary devices to communicate, without
When you add small, easily affordable sensors and transmitters to the
mix, the amount of data collected can be mountainous. Being able to store
and process this information at remote data centres over the Internet – a
larger concept known as cloud computing – is the crux of the IoT and what
makes it practical for more advanced applications today.
Enter the Industrial Internet of Things
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is simply the IoT in an industrial
setting. The value of IIoT is that it allows companies to take advantage
of existing infrastructure to automate processes requiring data collection;
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