Internet of Things (IoT): Consumer IoT vs. Industrial IoT

Introduction 

With every passing day, the world is leading towards modernization and advanced technologies. In the face of this modernization, the Internet of Things (IoT) is fast becoming one of the most competitive domains. A leading market research survey has claimed that there will be more than 27 billion connected IoT devices worldwide by 2025. Moreover, the IoT connections (e.g., connected cars, smart home devices, connected industrial equipment) are more than non-IoT connections (smartphones, laptops, and computers).

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Fig 1: IoT Market Forecast 

An IoT ecosystem mainly consists of app-enabled smart devices. These devices use embedded systems, communication hardware, and sensors to collect and send data acquired from various sources. The data is sent through an IoT gateway or other edge device to the cloud or a local server. Moreover, IoT can also use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to make data collecting processes more manageable and dynamic. Figure 2 below shows a simple IoT system. 

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Fig 2: IoT System 

IoT applications exist in multiple market segments such as smart homes, wearables, healthcare, logistics, manufacturing, utilities, and agriculture. IoT helps enterprises gain real-time insights into how systems work, from the machine’s performance to supply chain and logistics operations. In addition, the IoT enables enterprises to automate processes and reduce labor costs. It also reduces waste, improves service delivery, makes the manufacturing and delivery of goods cost-effective, and provides transparency to customer transactions. 

In a nutshell, IoT is capturing every aspect of our lives. In general, the IoT ecosystem can be divided into two major subgroups: consumer IoT and industrial IoT.

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A Brief Comparison 

Although there are some similarities in the definitions, there are significant differences in how real-world consumer and industrial IoT solutions are implemented. Fig 3 shows a brief comparison between Consumer IoT and Industrial IoT. 

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Fig 3: CIoT and IIoT Comparison 

These differences are linked with a demanding and complex industrial environment that consumer devices rarely encounter. In addition, the factory environment is characterized by extreme humidity, temperature, and high-density concrete and steel structures that prevent effective wireless communication. Moreover, the impact of network breakdowns also varies significantly between the two. Imagine if your Fitbit device fails to send data. This failure will not be as critical as a tank level sensor failing to send data resulting in long production outages. These fundamental distinctions should be managed when designing a versatile IoT architecture and selecting the right technology. 

Applications of Consumer IoT 

Consumer IoT solutions emphasize individual users through smart home applications, wearables, and personal monitoring devices. 

Consumer IoT solutions are mainly subdivided into two types: 

 

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Fig 4: Applications of Consumer IoT 

Personal IoT 

Personal IoT devices include a range of devices. Some of them are as follows- 

  • Smart Clothing 

          Examples – Owlet Smart Sock, Samsung suits with NFC. 

  • Smart Watch 

          Examples – Apple Watch, Fitbit. 

  • Battery power-sharing between two smartphones 

          Examples – Donor Cable bracelets by NAR Mobile. 

  • Hearable 

          Examples – Air Pods, Google Pixel Buds. 

  • Smart glass 

          Examples – Smart Glasses from ray ban and VUZIX BLADE. 

Smart Home IoT 

In Smart Home IoT, the devices and applications are related to home automation products. Some examples are as follows- 

  • Security 

          Examples – Bitdefender BOX IoT security solution and Nest Cam indoor camera. 

  • Voice Assistance  

          Examples – Google Home and Amazon Echo (2nd Generation) voice controller speakers 

  • Smart Lighting 

          Examples – Smart Switch Plate by Concord Technologies and Philips Hue Smart Bulbs 

  • Smart Kitchen Gadgets 

          Examples – Smart thermometer iGrill by Weber, Smart optimal brew by Mr. Coffee, Smart cooker by Crook-Pot. \

Applications of Industrial IoT 

Contrary to Consumer IoT, Industrial IoT is related to the automation of industrial systems. These solutions promise a dramatic increase in productivity and efficiency. Some of the top IIoT applications are as follows:

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Fig 5: Applications of Industrial IoT 

Asset tracking  

Asset Tracking is automated monitoring of inventory, ensuring the plans are followed and alerts/warnings are generated in case of violations. It is done with the help of GPS-enabled devices which can track assets on the move, from vehicles to individual crates and boxes. 

Predictive maintenance  

Predictive maintenance enables us to detect the need for a machine to be maintained before a crisis occurs. This system works on the data captured via sensors and sends alerts ahead of time to ensure the industrial equipment is functioning optimally 

Inventory management  

IIoT devices bring increased visibility to the supply chains and inventory for companies in the industrial sector. These systems allow tracing inventory globally on a line-item level. This provides far-reaching and cross-channel visibility, which helps managers get realistic estimates of the work in progress and the remaining material. Ultimately, this optimizes supply and reduces additional associated costs in the value chain. 

Remote monitoring and control  

Along with providing constant updates on industrial machinery’s geolocation and mechanical status, IIoT sensors offer the power to change settings remotely, activate or de-activate equipment, or halt processes as and when needed. The ability to remotely control the equipment at different geographic locations gives the implementing organizations an unprecedented ability to oversee advances in their production in real-time while also analyzing historical data about their processes. 

Employee and environmental safety  

To enhance worker safety, network-connected wearable devices like vests, hard hats, and boots allow to stream the workers’ geolocation to a cloud data analytics service. Using this data, supervisors can minimize safety and security risks for both workers and equipment by quickly identifying potentially hazardous sites. 

IoT Market Size and Future Trends 

The Internet of Things market continues to grow despite COVID-19’s impact on the semiconductor industry leading to chip shortage and supply chain issues. According to a market survey, there will be more than 27 billion IoT connections by 2025. Additionally, the market is expected to grow more aggressively with the development of wireless network technology (5G), the advent of advanced data analytics, the cost reduction of connected devices, and the increasing adoption of cloud platforms. 

Moreover, with the massive expansion of the e-commerce industry, the retail sector is also witnessing significant global growth. Hence, the retailers utilize IoT solutions to improve operational efficiency and enhance the customer experience to gain competitive advantages. The increasing adoption of smart payment solutions is a significant factor driving IoT solutions’ adoption in the studied segment. 

In addition, IoT is a key factor enabling the expansion of emerging technologies such as smart cars, smart manufacturing, home automation, and smart energy projects. 

Conclusion 

The internet of things technology helps connect various smart devices to optimize operations and data sharing. The data is collected through different sensors, machines, smartphones, and wearables and further used to improve the experience and streamline the processes. We have covered different market verticals and IoT subsets in this blog. Additionally, we have also shared future IoT market trends and insights. To learn more about IoT use cases in industry and consumer, stay tuned to our upcoming Blogs. 

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