The IoT Is Getting Industrious

Thus far in 2015, three major research reports that probed the Internet of Things came to similar conclusions: The Industrial IoT is where the rubber meets the road.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor

In March, IIC member Bosch was the first company to publicly announce such an IIC program, known as the Track and Trace Testbed. Bosch is partnering with Cisco, networking and IT consultancy Tech Mahindra and National Instruments (NI) to create the testbed, which will describe a standards-based framework for precisely tracking both the location and usage of automated hand tools within an industrial setting.

Soon after that, Real Time Innovations (RTI), NI and Cisco launched the Communication and Control Testbed for Microgrid Applications, partnering with power utilities CPS Energy and Southern California Edison, as well as representatives from Duke Energy and the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP), to create reference guides and develop standards for modernizing the electrical grid using IoT.

Just last month, the IIC, working with IBM and NI, introduced yet another testbed, this one focused on condition monitoring and predictive maintenance.

While jet engines or heavy machinery tend to be the focus of IIoT applications, industrial use cases vary greatly. For example, last month we reported on how Pitney Bowes is using GE's Predix software and embedded sensors in its equipment for handling and sorting mail, to make data more accessible and actionable.

Players in the IIoT space are dogged by hurdles that are common across the Internet of Things ecosystem, from slow standards development to a failure to think about and embed data-security features into a system from the outset. But from what I'm seeing—at least in the short term—industrial applications seem to have more promise and fewer pitfalls than IoT deployments in other sectors.

Mary Catherine O'Connor is the editor of Internet of Things Journal and a former staff reporter for RFID Journal. She also writes about technology, as it relates to business and the environment, for a range of consumer magazines and newspapers.

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