What is the Industrial Internet of Things?

Nowadays, the term, the Industrial Internet of Things, has become increasingly more pervasive in the context of industry as digitization has become a business priority for many organizations. So what is the Industrial Internet of Things?

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), also known as the Industrial Internet, brings together brilliant machines, advanced analytics, and people at work. It’s the network of a multitude of devices connected by communications technologies that results in systems that can monitor, collect, exchange, analyze, and deliver valuable new insights like never before. These insights can then help drive smarter, faster business decisions for industrial companies.

The IIoT is transforming industry —changing the way industries work. Whether it’s enabling predictive analytics to detect corrosion inside a refinery pipe, or providing real-time production data to uncover additional capacity in a plant, or driving visibility and control over your industrial control systems environment to prevent cyber attacks, the IIoT—and the software solutions powered by it—are driving powerful business outcomes.

By combining machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, industrial big data analytics, technology, cyber security, and HMI and SCADA, the IIoT is driving unprecedented levels of efficiency, productivity, and performance. And as a result, industrial companies in power and energy, oil and gas, manufacturing, healthcare, aviation, and many other industries are experiencing transformative operational and financial benefits.

There is such great potential for the Industrial Internet to change the way industry works that GE Digital predicts the benefits to the global economy through the IIoT will be:

  • 46% of global economy that can benefit from the Industrial Internet
  • 100% Industrial Internet potential impact on energy production
  • 44% Industrial Internet potential impact on global energy consumption


To learn more, watch The Industrial Internet in the Real World.

Who coined the term Industrial Internet?

As the premier digital industrial company, GE coined the term Industrial Internet in late 2012. It estimates the Industrial Internet could be a $225 billion market by 2020, and has made significant investments in the Industrial Internet. It created GE Digital, its software business dedicated to making digital the core foundation of GE's operations.

GE is one of the companies that founded the Industrial Internet Consortium to accelerate the development, adoption, and widespread use of interconnected machines and devices, intelligent analytics, and people at work.

Leveraging the promise of the Industrial Internet, or IIoT, GE is driving its own digital industrial transformation. And based on its experience and deep technology and industry expertise, GE is helping customers accelerate their digital transformation journeys with GE Digital’s software solutions, including Predix—the platform for industrial applications.

How do I invest in the Industrial Internet?

The Industrial Internet is already allowing digital industrial leaders to transform their operations and deliver critical business outcomes. But according to research, only 5% of companies have succeeded in digital transformation—largely due to the lack of a purpose-built industrial platform.

That’s why GE created Predix, to address the unique needs of industrial companies on the path to digitization. Predix is the platform for the Industrial Internet, purpose-built for the digital industrial era. It captures and analyzes the unique volume, velocity, and variety of machine data in a secure, industrial-strength cloud environment. So you can tap into your data and apply it to achieve new levels of business performance.

With the industrial world primed for digitization, GE Digital is leveraging the power of the IIoT. Its software connects streams of machine data to powerful analytics and people, providing industrial companies with valuable insights to manage assets and operations more efficiently.  

  • For example, what if you could use advanced analytics to predict events before they happened? Asset Performance Management (APM) helps you move from reactive to proactive maintenance to reduce unplanned downtime, minimize maintenance costs, improve efficiency, and extend asset life.
  • What if you could use real-time visibility to recover production capacity and drive greater efficiency and optimization? With solutions our Manufacturing Solutions, you can digitize your manufacturing plant or factory with insights that optimize your processes.
  • What if you could protect your operational technology (OT) environment from cyber attacks? Solutions for Cyber Security can help you take the right actions to increase resilience, help ensure safety, and maintain availability across your OT environment.
  • What if you could help your operators know the right actions to take every time? That’s where next-generation HMI and SCADA solutions can help you precisely monitor, control, and visualize every aspect of your operationsenabling operators to make the best decisions faster.


These IIoT solutions are helping companies drive big gains in productivity, availability, and longevity—making digital industrial transformation possible.

The Industrial Internet vs. Internet of Things

One perspective is to think of the Industrial Internet as connecting machines and devices in industries such as oil and gas, power generation, and healthcare, where there is more at stake or where system failures and unplanned downtime can result in life-threatening or high-risk situations. On the other hand, the Internet of Things tend to include consumer-level devices such as heart monitoring fitness bands or smart home appliances. They are functional and can provide conveniences but do not typically create emergency situations if downtime were to occur.

For example, the Industrial Internet envisions machines that tell operators how to optimize productivity or detect a failure before it occurs, potentially saving companies billions of dollars a year, while the Internet of Things includes connected refrigerators that can purchase more milk and eggs online before they run out

As the Industrial Internet connets critical machines, it can deliver powerful financial and operational outcomes. For example, one of our customers, a power company saves $.5MM annually by using Asset Performance Management software—powered by the IIoT—to gain asset, plant and fleet reliability. Another power customer, SSE, uses Reliability Management 24x7 and 365 days a year to maintain uptime and keep the lights on, saving ~£3MM per year.

When it comes to the power of the IIoT, the sky is the limit. As more and more data is created from increasingly connected machines, systems, and devices, the volume of critical and valuable insights to be realized and acted upon is limitless.

Are you ready to accelerate your IIoT journey?

No matter where you are on your Industrial Internet journey, GE Digital’s Services can help you take the next step. Applying data science and design thinking to blueprinting and solution architecting—and everything in between and beyond—we’re ready to help you maximize your IIoT investments.

About the author

GE Digital

Driving Digital Transformation

GE Digital connects streams of machine data to powerful analytics and people, providing industrial companies with valuable insights to manage assets and operations more efficiently. World-class talent and software capabilities help drive digital industrial transformation for big gains in productivity, availability and longevity. We do this by leveraging Predix, our cloud-based operating system, purpose built for the unique needs of industry.

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