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You’ve heard about the internet of things, meet the industrial internet of things

The internet of things has been around now for a few years. Every single device in the internet of things is uniquely identified by an individual internet address (URL), can be accessed via the Internet and can interact with connected information systems. Basically, a distinction should be made between consumer concepts (IoT, internet of things) and industrial concepts (IIoT, Industrial internet of things). This project of the future is usually known as ‘Industry 4.0’ in Germany, while the term ‘industrial internet of things’ (IIoT) is habitually used in the United States. While in the case of consumers this has to do with domestic appliances, entertainment electronics, automobiles, computers, and many other items of daily life, Industry 4.0 concerns factories, machinery, production facilities or entire sensor networks.

IIoT is a concept intended to support the optimisation of operational effectiveness and industrial production, thus creating further growth and improved international competitive conditions for businesses. Leading voices in industry see the trend towards digitisation, including intelligent interconnection of individual machines and even entire production facilities, as a natural evolution of the sector. At the same time, numerous experts, particularly in the field of global economy, speak of a new industrial ‘revolution’.

In a recent report, Cisco estimates that by 2020, 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet, despite the current situation being quite different, as more than 99% of all things in the physical world are not yet connected to the Internet. However, interconnection on the Internet through the increasing bringing together of an ever-growing number of people, processes, data and things, will become more and more important in the next years. A rapid growth offering immense opportunities, for individuals, businesses and whole industrial sectors.

On the Path to the Industrial Future

The economy is on the threshold of the fourth industrial revolution. Driven by the internet, the real and the virtual world join in an internet of things. The so-called industrial internet thereby links machines capable of learning, big data technologies, sensor technology, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication and automation technology, which have already been coexisting in the industrial environment for years. The driving force and the innovative idea in the background are that smart machines can be better and more precise than people at accurate capturing, recording and communication of vast amounts of data. These data enable companies to react much faster to inefficient procedures or problems and to gain time in business intelligence (BI) processes. Customers and business partners are directly involved in business and value creation processes, and production can be connected to high-value services. With more intelligent monitoring and decision-making processes, businesses and entire supply chains should be controlled and optimised in almost real time. Thus, IIoT holds a great potential, among other things, for improved quality controls, sustainability and environmental protection, as well as opportunities for supply chain tracking, agility and efficiency.

Industry 4.0 and New Fields of Research

With the rise of the Industrial Internet, the world is facing a new era of innovation and change. The German Federal Ministry of Education of Education and Research foresees, among others, the following focal points concerning Industry 4.0:

  • IT systems:
    Intelligent software systems are innovation drivers in all major sectors of the economy and can be an essential competitive factor for businesses on the world market.Focal points are: embedded systems; simulated reality for grid applications; virtual/augmented reality; simulation; information logistics and software development for high performance computers.
  • Communication systems:
    Modern communication technologies have already permeated all areas of our lives for a long time by now, affecting our private environment, economy, culture and politics. The Internet, and increasingly the mobile Internet, are an indispensable basis for main economic sectors such as finance, production and services.Focal points are: new technologies for future communication standards; new applications, in particular assistance systems; new services for business communications and the health care system; cognitive wireless communication systems to meet future bandwidth requirements; the Internet of the future; autonomous sensor systems for independent networked communication; future technologies such as network information theory, polymer-based communication systems and integrated photonics.
  • IT security:
    With increasingly networked information and communication systems, the number and professionalism of external attacks also grows. It is important to identify possible problem areas at an early stage in order to develop appropriate solutions for a secure future of IT, so that businesses are able to face cyber security issues in the long term.Focal points are: development of verifiable and consistently secure IT systems; new approaches in the analysis and validation of ICT systems; ensuring security in insecure environments; protection of Internet infrastructures; Security by Design; identification of weak points; quantum communication for the secure exchange of data; framework conditions and technologies for a new culture of trust and privacy on the Internet.

There is no doubt at all that the IIoT will increasingly change our lives in the future. The closer integration of the digital world with the world of machines has the potential for profound changes in the global industry and consequently for many aspects of daily life, including the way how many of us live and work.

 

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  • petergkinnon

    There are broader issues to be considered.

    ost folk still seem unable to break free from the traditional science fiction based notions involving individual robots/computers/systems. Either as potential threats, beneficial aids or serious basis for “artificial intelligence”.

    In actuality, the real next cognitive entity quietly self assembles in the background, mostly unrecognized for what it is. And, contrary to our usual conceits, is not stoppable or directly within our control.

    We are very prone to anthropocentric distortions of objective reality. This is perhaps not surprising, for to instead adopt the evidence based viewpoint now afforded by “big science” and “big history” takes us way outside our perceptive comfort zone. The fact is that the evolution of the Internet is actually an autonomous process. The difficulty in convincing people of this “inconvenient truth” seems to stem partly from our natural anthropocentric mind-sets and also the traditional illusion that in some way we are in control of, and distinct from, nature. Contemplation of the observed realities tend to be relegated to the emotional “too hard” bin.

    This evolution is not driven by any individual software company or team of researchers, but rather by the sum of many human requirements, whims and desires to which the current technologies react. Among the more significant motivators are such things as commerce, gaming, social interactions, education and sexual titillation.

    Virtually all interests are catered for and, in toto, provide the impetus for the continued evolution of the Internet. Netty is still in her larval stage, but we “workers” scurry round mindlessly engaged in her nurture.

    By relinquishing our usual parochial approach to this issue in favor of the overall evolutionary “big picture” provided by many fields of science, the emergence of a new predominant cognitive entity (from the Internet, rather than individual machines) is seen to be not only feasible but inevitable.

    The separate issue of whether it well be malignant, neutral or benign towards we snoutless apes is less certain, and this particular aspect I have explored elsewhere.

    Seemingly unrelated disciplines such as geology, biology and “big history” actually have much to tell us about the machinery of nature (of which technology is necessarily a part) and the kind of outcome that is to be expected from the evolution of the Internet.

    The “Internet of Things” is proceeding apace and pervading all aspects of our lives. We are increasingly, in a sense, “enslaved” by our PCs, mobile phones, their apps and many other trappings of the increasingly cloudy net. We are already largely dependent upon it for our commerce and industry and there is no turning back. What we perceive as a tool is well on its way to becoming an agent.

    There are at present more than 3 billion Internet users. There are an estimated 10 to 80 billion neurons in the human brain. On this basis for approximation the Internet is even now only one order of magnitude below the human brain and its growth is exponential.T And, of course, the all-important degree of interconnection and cross-linking of networks and supply of sensory inputs is also growing exponentially.

    We are witnessing the emergence of a new and predominant cognitive entity that is a logical consequence of the evolutionary continuum that can be traced back at least as far as the formation of the chemical elements in stars. This is the main theme of my latest book “The Intricacy Generator: Pushing Chemistry and Geometry Uphill”. In the event that we can subdue our natural tendencies to belligerence and form a symbiotic relationship with this new phase of the “life” process then we have the possibility of a bright future.

    If we don’t become aware of these realities and mend our ways, however, then we snout-less apes could indeed be relegated to the historical rubbish bin within a few decades. After all , our infrastructures are becoming increasingly Internet dependent and Netty will only need to “pull the plug” to effect pest eradication.

    So it is to our advantage to try to effect the inclusion of desirable human behaviors in Netty’s psyche. In practice that equates to our species firstly becoming aware of our true place in nature’s machinery and, secondly, making a determined effort to “straighten up and fly right”