IoT Overview & Key Definitions

There’s a lot to unpack in the question, “what is an industrial internet of things kit?” First, let’s define internet of things. The internet of things (or IoT) refers to objects that share information with each other. These connected items include anything from a mobile-connected a spin bike in your condo to a network-connected humidity sensor on a factory’s shop floor.

In fact, “industrial internet of things” refers to devices like the latter. It encompasses the internet of things in industrial settings, like manufacturing. Industrial internet of things can include devices like barcode scanners and andon lights, sensors, and other machines involved in production that are connected to a (often cloud) network.

The Significance of a “Kit”

Historically, industrial internet of things projects were part of larger industrial digital transformation projects, also known as Industry 4.0 projects. These projects carry massive potential for manufacturers since many of the tools manufacturing engineers, including quality and process engineers, use are paper-based or analog. Until the development of an IIoT kit, these types of projects have historically been lengthy and difficult to access due to high entry costs, required buy-in from both information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) teams, and other requirements.

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) kits have simplified this process by de-risking initial IIoT projects. An industrial internet of things (IIoT) kit often includes the devices a factory needs to get started with the internet of things and/or digital transformation on their shop floor. Connected devices push and pull information into existing or new systems a factory uses. The rise of the internet of things is largely tied to the rise of cloud software in manufacturing.

Key Components of an IIoT Kit

Gateways

A key component of an IIoT kit is a gateway. The gateway is needed to connect devices to the network, which can be cloud-based or on-premise. Factories can use the gateway in their IIoT kit to connect their devices, machines, and sensors and collect shop floor data.

Connected devices

IIoT kits offer plug-and-play device solutions, which allow you to easily connect devices from a variety of vendors. These devices can include andon lights, sensors, foot pedals, keyboards, pick-to-light devices, power outlets, pressure sensors, and other devices. When choosing between IIoT kits, consider which devices they support, and how this may hurt or help potential opportunities to expand your use of IIoT.

Operating System

An IIoT project collects plenty of data from your shop floor. However, you’ll need some sort of system to process and transform the information into some sort of usable output. Consider the opportunities and limitations of the operating system you’ll be connecting to your devices. Will it help you answer the questions you are looking for? Is it accessible and easy to use? Who will need to be involved in the project now and in the future? Does it integrate with the systems your factory already runs on?

Benefits of an IIoT Kit

Discover what is possible

IIoT unlocks almost infinite possibilities. This can make it difficult to choose a project, identify the components necessary to execute it, and make sure it’s immediately valuable to your organization. An IIoT kit can help supply all of the components needed for the project. With generic projects it can help by by providing a gateway to connect to existing connected devices, or supply a set of sensors with applications in most factory settings.

Use an IIoT kit to ensure you have all the components needed to get started and to prevent equipment delays, and budget creep. This helps decrease the risk of initial investment.

Fast time-to-value

Deploying your first IIoT kit should take minutes to hours, with a time-to-value in days–versus the month-long time span of traditional process improvement projects and initiatives.

Low cost proof of concept

Something like 84% of digital transformation projects fail. IIoT kits can support a smaller scope proof of concept. This helps the project lead figure out what is fully required to set the project up, the tools they need to make it possible, and the value it provides.

Information from this project, arms the manufacturer with information on the ROI they expect from the project as well as the true cost of implementation. This ensures they’re prepared to run a successful digital transformation project at a sustainable pace and cost.

Tulip pioneered the world’s first IIoT Kit, the “Factory Kit”. Each box costs $3,500 and includes an I/O Gateway, light kit, barcode scanner, foot pedal, break-beam sensor, temperature/humidity sensors, an andon light, and a 1-year Tulip Professional subscription. You can order a Factory Kit here. Interested in speaking with a product specialist? Get in touch.