A lot has been written in the past few years about the Internet of Things, Industrial Internet and Industry 4.0. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is said to be the biggest growth leap in human history adding a whopping 10–15 trillion $ to global GDP over the next 20 years*. We are looking at moving from 16 billion wirelessly connected devices in 2014 to a projected 40.9 billion in 2020**.
While the Internet of Things, Industrial Internet and Industry 4.0 do not mean the exact same thing; all of these concepts are closely related to each other. The concepts of Industrial Internet and Industry 4.0 are the industrial manufacturer equivalents of the Internet of Things, which usually refers to consumer-facing solutions.
All three concepts highlight the rapid growth in number of connected devices and the data they share with each other. Whereas on the consumer side the devices can be anything from intelligent door handles to self-driving cars, on the industrial side the changes are occurring within the factories. Components of the production lines are starting to share the masses of data that they gather.
There are near limitless opportunities to using that data. In fact, data changes the game. We can instantly see how a factory is running and how it can be developed deeper than we currently do. For example, individual components of the production line, such as robots or conveyors can be modified and replaced as necessary. As data communication standards between components develop, production lines become less dependent on individual components from individual manufacturers.