The Internet of Things, commonly known as IoT, is no longer the “next big thing”. In the last two decades, the technology has evolved massively transforming the industrial and manufacturing operations. But there are also other hot topics that are just as prevalent, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0. Chances are that you might have used them interchangeably. No big deal, right? Wrong.
In summary, IIoT is a subset of IoT which is specific to industrial applications. The manufacturing phase of the product lifecycle is where the IoT and Industry 4.0 meet, originating to the IIoT with smart manufacturing currently on the forefront. So, what is the Industry 4.0 anyway? Here is what you need to know.
The rise of digital industrial technology
Industry 4.0 is driven by trends on connectivity, advanced materials and processing technology, along with collaborative advanced manufacturing networks controlled by computers combining them into a physical - digital environment. Anything from the smart robotic machines in a factory to the engines inside an airplane, there has been a wide range of innovative uses of this industrial evolution.
Going forward, the question is not to be left behind and prepare for the fourth industrial revolution. If enterprises can’t evolve with continuous changes, they will shortly find themselves left behind while the ones who learn to keep pace will receive the rewards.
The fourth industrial revolution also begins with the development of new technologies applied to production processes. Today, this industrial revolution has impacted almost every sector be it healthcare, finance, manufacturing or any other industry. That said, the most critical technologies for this revolution are expected to be Intelligent Production, Simulation, Connected Devices, Systems Integration, Business Operation and Big Data.
Ultimately, it's the network of machines or devices that are digitally connected with one another which then create and share information that results in the true power of Industry 4.0. With digitalization and IoT, there is no doubt that it will continue to be the biggest driving force behind the revolution as it will have a potential economic impact of up to $6.2 trillion by 2025 according to McKinsey.
Figure 1 Technologies in Industry 4.0
An unfortunate fact of everyday life
Most of the disclosure around the Industry 4.0 focuses on Information Technology (IT) aspects. However, for industrial sectors, there is an equally important technology, which is the Operational Technology (OT). Simply put, OT includes any hardware and software that are used to sense and capture data as well as monitor and control the behavior of physical devices, processes and events of entire Industrial Control System (ICS). Typical OT networks are comprised of switches, monitors, sensors, valves and manufacturing devices managed by an ICS system.
Supporting all these systems requires a network and server architecture that enables the essential interoperability and provides the appropriate resilience. As the output of ICS relates to physical processes, avoiding unplanned downtime is a huge motivator for enterprises embarking on Industry 4.0. Outdated OT represent significant downtime risk. And when they fail, the costs are high.
How much money is your business losing with every minute, hour or day when your systems are down? Not sure? Well, according to research by IHS, downtime is costing over US$700 billion a year. This is no surprise. Every passing second when there's trouble on the network, equals loss of production, data and even your company's credibility. It is an unfortunate fact of everyday life. Network or process failures due to misconfigurations, software or device errors, and erroneous commands still can occur daily.
Today's digital marketplace requires enterprises to integrate things, for instance real-time data collection and analysis as well as real-time remote management tools into OT networks. Constant operational issues have increased the demand for a special tool that can help to handle troubleshooting quickly and keep the connections healthy. Read more here about troubleshooting application issues.
As industrial networks have grown larger and more complex than ever before, network monitoring tools are quickly becoming a necessity. Network access control solutions can help with managing industrial devices, including keeping track of every connected device on your network.
Help is on the way! What is needed?
To get a fast and reliable real-time overview of what is happening on your network, your enterprise requires visibility and control over your OT and IT environments without impacting the integrity of the network. As many modern enterprises have their operations spread over multiple locations, the ideal scenario is to have network traffic analysis tools that can be easily transported and deployed onsite, but controlled remotely. This eliminates the time-consuming and expensive onsite travels for IT specialists, while still offering fast drill-down to the network issues.
All-in-one network traffic analysis solution
Profitap recognizes the digital industry evolution and wants to make things even quicker and easier for you. An easy-to-use, lightweight and intelligent network probe is available for the industry to ensure productivity and ultimately increase your revenue.
IOTA has been developed to meet the needs of the industry's top network analysts and engineers. As an all-in-one network analysis solution, IOTA can be deployed easily anywhere in the field, both as a portable and as a rack-mounted data center solution. This way, IOTA gives you full remote access and analysis capabilities into your 1G/10G networks, anywhere you want.
IOTA's combination of features in a single and compact device, make it a complete network capture and analysis solution, and an essential addition to any network engineer's toolkit.
Figure 2 How IOTA works
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