This term brings together a series of developments in manufacturing, especially the ones associated with Industry 4.0. We can take, as a starting point, the Internet of Things (IoT) which widely refers to enabling devices, sensors, and objects for network connectivity without the necessity of much human input. When connected, these smart objects become nodes in a network that automatically collects, exchanges, and interprets data about themselves and their surroundings. The industrial application of IoT is then called ‘Industrial Internet’ or ‘Industrial Internet of Things’. By allowing industrial assets, such as CNC machines, power grids, and facilities to connect to a cloud, we can enable them to change their own behaviour or to instruct other devices to automatically adjust according to parameters, without human intervention.
An academic definition of the term by Boyes et al states that IIoT is “a system comprising networked smart objects, cyber-physical assets, associated generic information technologies and optional cloud or edge computing platforms, which enable real-time, intelligent, and autonomous access, collection, analysis, communications, and exchange of process, product and/or service information, within the industrial environment, so as to optimise overall production value. This value may include; improving product or service delivery, boosting productivity, reducing labour costs, reducing energy consumption, and reducing the build-to-order cycle”