IIoT World: IoT vs IIoT differences you must know

IIoT World: IoT vs IIoT differences you must know

Business opportunities created by the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Industrial IoT (IIoT) are among the most debated topics, as these are considered important for a broad range of consumer and industrial applications. Leading market research firms already estimate that by 2020 there will be over 20 billion installed end-point devices worldwide, defined as part of IoT or IIoT systems.

Although the forecasted number is growing every year, it is not clear whether these figures correctly refer to deployments which can be and which cannot be considered as an IoT or IIoT. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that decision factors such as outlined below shall be taken into consideration. First, let’s review the correct definitions of IoT and IIoT.

The IoT and the IIoT are not sensors or equipment, but a communication-based eco-system in which variety devices such as cameras, product counters, rate of sales and industrial sensors communicate with cloud-based processes. The result is displayed on a computer screen, smartphone and it’s used for optimized operation of an industrial process, resulting in unique operating and financial benefits. Examples of IoT/IIoT ecosystems include applications such as remote operation of home appliances  and medical devices, checking on availability of a product in a store, warnings of unusual technical conditions, malfunctions and more.

The purpose of this article  is to highlight the most significant differences among the IoT and IIoT. While walking through the listed considerations, the reader will have the opportunity to learn about these ecosystems. Furthermore, this article will elaborate on cyber risks, presenting the most critical stumbling blocks for reaching the predicted deployments.


Prior to diving into details, let’s make it clear that not all connected devices are IoT nor IIoT. The segmentation according to applications shall be considered as the principal difference between the IoT and IIoT ecosystems. I will try to clarify some principal considerations:

  • You purchased a home air conditioner activated by a smartphone. The packing label shows “Wi-Fi-Ready”, but it will be an IoT, since cloud-based data is not used to enhance the operation.
  • You consider adding a vibration sensor to a large water pump to diagnose a malfunction. This is not an IIoT, as the vibration sensor is reporting to a special PLC and an ICS/SCADA computer.
  • A CCTV camera is connected to a home computer for security surveillance. This is not IoT, because a loop recording system does not require additional data available from cloud-based resources.
  • If your air conditioning is configurated to communicate with an IoT (cloud-based) service provider, who may turn on your unit when 30% of similar appliances are operating, this is an IoT.


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