The internet of things is one of the most controversial topics of the current generation. People on one side of the debate think that it will bring forward a more ecofriendly and connected society, whereas people on the other side of the debate insist that it will mean data security will go lacking.

While the internet of things will forever create a divide between security and connectivity, one of its branches is becoming the new talk of the town. The industrial internet of things is an equally controversial, yet interesting topic. For those who don’t know the difference between the two, here is a guide.


Although the industrial internet of things is a branch of the internet of things, possibly the only thing that both of these terminologies have in common is that both of them depend on the cloud and an interconnected system.

With a similarity out of the way, let’s move on to how these two are different, starting with their purposes.


The core purpose of the internet of things is to offer a more connected user experience. Think of it as Facebook, except you don’t need to access your phone to see your notifications, and you can drive your car from home using its applications.

The internet of things allows people to not only connect with each other using other appliances but also allows them to be able to monitor and control all other appliances.

However, the industrial internet of things is a little different in its purpose. While the internet of things focuses more on connectivity and small-scale ecosystems, the industrial internet of things leans more toward large-scale ecosystems and efficiency.

Efficiency is not limited to a product’s quality and its manufacturing; rather, it is a broader term for overall cost-effectiveness in the long run and decreased risk in manufacturing. Thanks to automated systems and artificial intelligence, through the internet of things manufacturers will save money on labor, have more efficient products, and will protect the environment.

The Connection

Another major difference between the internet of things and industrial internet of things is the participants of the ecosystem. In this case, the internet of things can give the user the choice to add any number of participants to their ecosystem.

By adding a device to a personalized ecosystem, you automatically add a company into it as well. This is something that does not happen in its industrial counterpart. Instead of multiple companies added to the ecosystem, only people such like shareholders or the company’s executive team will be a part of the ecosystem.

The reason for a barrier to entry within the business system is quite obvious: if there was no barrier, there would be no competition. While it is true that other people such as employees and customers will be connected to the ecosystem in some way, they will not have access to a company’s private information.

Through the help of passwords, proxies and firewalls, a company will keep customers in a different domain than shareholders and other VIPs.

Reduced Latency

The restriction to connectivity not only keeps sensitive information safe, but it also helps companies communicate with each other. Unlike the internet of things, the industrial internet of things can connect with each of the company’s individuals thanks to relatively fewer participants on the server.

Though the company stays in constant contact with customers, it does so thanks to the middleman: customer service. Through the help of many middlemen in the business, a company can communicate information from one part of the company to another in a matter of seconds without wasting any time.

This reduced latency also helps the company respond to issues much faster than it would with current technology. If a machine fails or receives corrupt data, IT will take note of this almost immediately and resolve the issue.

Thanks to the information circulating throughout the company, departments can contact the person of interest fairly quickly.


Out of the few things that the internet of things and the industrial internet of things have in common, resiliency is one of them. The internet of things (IoT), in general, operates in order to communicate information from one machine to another without the loss of information or security, which is why both these have backup systems installed in an unlikely event of a breakdown.

Companies Using Industrial Internet of Things

Although the industrial internet of things (IIoT) is yet to properly be implemented in current industry, that hasn’t stopped some companies from leveraging it. One of the pioneers of the industrial internet of things is Caterpillar.

Cat makes heavy machinery and has been investing in upgrading its machines since 2009. Now, through the use of augmented reality and IoT, their machines can give the person sitting inside the vehicle sights of all other machines nearby and information about the machine itself.

Another example of a company using IIoT is ABB. The company is famous for its innovations in robotics and power. It is working on implementing IIoT on an international scale. Though still in an alpha phase, the company is connecting robotic parts to other servers, which all connect to one computer. It has begun testing this and implementing it.


The internet of things and the industrial internet of things are somewhat interchangeable but very different. While IoT is a broader term for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, IIoT is a very specific term.