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Is Industrial Internet the same as Internet of Things?

We were in San Francisco two weeks ago, hosting our Digital Things executive brainstorm. This covered a lot of useful ground, including a discussion on how significant the concept of the Internet of Things actually is. Participants ranged from the highly practical – from a background in what works in the M2M market today and what tends not to work – to the aspirational – can this help humanity as a whole?

The general sentiment, as expressed in the instant voting, was that the Internet of Things truly represents a huge new opportunity and not just a new way of looking at existing trends. There were also dedicated sessions on business models for IoT, IoT platform requirements and on Big Data. You can see the agenda for the event at this link. Next stop – London, where we will be discussing a similar agenda on June 6.

It is certainly the case that much of what is being discussed right now regarding the Internet of Things is consumer related. A lot of the business models associated with consumer connected devices do not work very well at present. This is in contrast to those for business related connected devices – usually referred to as M2M – which generally do work and have increasingly proved to be highly effective. There is a lot that needs fixing in the consumer connected devices segment.

However, the term Industrial Internet is now creeping in as an evolutionary step to M2M – see our Snaps newsletter article this month on Big Data at this link as an example – and this promises to be hugely significant. Championed by General Electric (GE) and, using slightly different terms, also by Cisco Systems this is “M2M on steroids” as indicated in our newsletter article. The prospect is that – through much greater awareness of how machines are operating in their overall environment – much greater optimization of operations are feasible. This means a lot more sensors and the creation of a lot more data, with data analytics techniques being increasingly used to provide timely and precise information. This promises both further refinement to already-proven M2M business models as well as the introduction of new ones, and potentially substantial disruption in high use segments of the M2M market.

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