Industry 4.0 Vs. IIoT: Key Differences with Examples 

 December 24, 2021

From automated mechanical devices in ancient times to Artificial Intelligence and robotics, automation has evolved the industrial sectors to the hilt.


Cost-effectiveness, utmost efficiency, striking speed, and similar benefits have made mechanization a vital part of businesses.


Amid these technological advancements influenced by rapid industrial developments, getting across the terms Industry 4.0 and IIoT is no more a rarity. They have become a part and parcel of the manufacturing landscape.


You might be querying about: What do these terms actually mean? Why should we be paying attention to Industry 4.0 and IIoT? Do Industrial IoT solutions benefit industries?


These concepts are interchangeably used, however, there exists considerable differences. Here’s a breakdown of how both terms differ along the lines of:


  • Terminology of Industry 4.0 and industrial IoT
  • Concept of both the terms
  • Key differences between Industry 4 and IIoT
  • Examples to exhibit real-world applications


Industry 4.0 Vs. IIoT: The Terminology

Automation-driven production processes, innovative technology tools, efficient techniques, and improved production rates – this compelling transition paves the way to the term ‘Industry 4.0.’


Industry 4.0 conceptualizes the fleeting digitization and transformation of industry through the networking of processes and machines to modernize production ways and attain excellent outputs. It simply refers to automation and data exchange in production technologies.

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Its key elements cover cyber-physical systems, newly discovered techniques, robotics, streamlined equipment, finer materials, and more to create smart factories.


The advent of Industry 4.0 and its elements has undeniably altered industrial operations. It has led to a severe impact on the way processes were performed across the logistics network and brings in immense competition in the market.


Whereas, IIoT is all about an industrial framework connecting several machines or devices that are synchronized through software applications. The smart machines run by IIoT helps to gather and analyze sensor-generated data in real-time to facilitate process analytics, equipment monitoring, and more.


Further, it facilitates enhanced communication that could be used for making quick, accurate business decisions. The tools of IIoT include industrial robots, environmental sensors, smart metering, and more.


All in all, IIoT is a more specific term than Industry 4.0, which confines the entire digital revolution of the industry.


Industry 4.0 Vs. IIoT: The Concept

Industry 4.0 is much more than just a buzzword. The term initially coined by the German government is all about connecting things and processes to form cyber-physical systems and smart factories.


It is a key to reshaping manufacturing acts, from outlining plans and product designs to distribution and after services. It includes IoT, IIoT, cyber-physical systems, smart factories, AI, and more.

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The first industrial revolution evolved manufacturing, and the second offered the benefits of efficiency. The third industrial revolution rolled in with tech advancements.

And what next? The fourth industrial revolution has already set its foot in emphasizing digital technology, big data, AI, and other technologies.


Industry 4.0 or the 4th industrial revolution refers to smart operations, blending physical manufacturing and leading-edge digital technology, machine learning, and big data to make strides in the production landscape and supply chain management.


Regardless of the niche, every company faces the challenge of connectivity and access to real-time data insights across procedures, products, and people. Industry 4.0 is all about meeting tough challenges by transitioning the business operations, accelerating the processes, and enabling business growth.


Let’s further decode what IIoT refers to and how it varies from Industry 4.0.

Have you ever heard of big data, Artificial Intelligence, and cloud computing? The Industrial IoT belongs to this bracket that falls under Industry 4.0 technologies.


IIoT refers to sensor data, machine communications, and automated systems. It is a network of interconnected devices that monitor, source, and securely analyze data. The data collected is utilized in industries including manufacturing, healthcare, energy, agriculture, and more. Its ecosystem usually consists of:

  • Sensors that can sight, exchange data about connected devices/systems
  • Well developed data communications infrastructure
  • Analytics and software applications to derive key information from sourced data
  • Data storage technology for the information developed by IIoT devices
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As far as the manufacturing process is concerned, IIoT integration is growing significantly owing to the fact, the better the connectivity, the more the clarity. If you’re wondering where to use these sourced analytics, here’s the most ideal reason.


This information could be used as essential insights to optimize the working and make crucial business decisions. It enables thorough analyses resulting in superior processes and greater productivity.


If we shed the benefits of Industry 4.0 and IIoT – The former provides predictive management, demand forecast, inventory optimization, improved robotics, and reduced costs. While the latter offers increased operating efficiency, more flexibility, higher safety, minimized asset downtime, accelerated innovation, and better quality output.


With more sectors thriving on Industry 4.0, several companies have initiated to offer Industrial IoT solutions. IIoT solutions enable factories to gain higher visibility, access massive data, accelerate manufacturing processes, reduce operating costs, and eliminate material waste.


Differences at its core, IIoT is one of the components of Industry 4.0 without which it won’t operate appropriately. IIoT is a functional element that enables detailed analysis and optimized actions.


Industry 4.0 Vs. IIoT: Key Differences

  • Industry 4.0 deals primarily with the manufacturing sector, whereas, IIoT benefits all sectors where industrial tools are put into processes.
  • Industry 4.0 involves the digitization of the entire value chain. while on the contrary, IIoT is merely a connection of assets and data in the companies.
  • Industry 4.0 covers governmental as well as institutional initiatives. On the other hand, IIoT is all about maintaining a professional setting.
  • Industry 4.0’s focus lies in optimizing the entire production industry, while IIoT focuses on the genuineness of communication and control in tech applications.
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Industry 4.0 Vs. IIoT: Examples

Unexpected equipment downtime and machine failures are common adversaries that highly impact manufacturing. The latest automated tools powered by AI and machine learning can identify faults and deter frequent equipment failures seamlessly.

Here’s a rundown of some real-world examples of Industry 4.0.


  • Integrating big data and analytics into factory processes to reduce costs and limit downtime. It could be through sensors on factory floors that log and analyze data on the site and in the cloud to predict the maintenance schedule of machines.
  • Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are used in forecasting and predictive maintenance to weather the storm of dynamic market trends as well as prevent machine downtime.
  • AI is used in cybersecurity to prevent systems from data breaches and safeguard data and equipment efficiently.


By equipping IIoT into the production processes, manufacturers can analyze production well, flexibly manage to produce variations of products in bulk. This ensures getting output at higher quality standards with no or minimum machine downtime.


A few examples of IIoT includes:

  • Usage of a fleet autonomous aircraft in oil companies to detect potential issues in the pipeline with visual and thermal imaging.
  • Equipping industrial sensors in the ground to fine-tune agricultural activities. It helps farmers to manage irrigation, fertilizing by checking moisture levels & temperature. If any red flags are detected, the sensors alert the farmers by sending text messages.
  • Industrial robots are used in automotive industries to spot potential risks and fix them in real-time before they disrupt the production process.
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Industry 4.0 Vs. IIoT: The Bottomline

Industry 4.0 is about utilizing the benefits of automation such as increased flexibility, efficiency, and more. If adopted across the production line and supply chain, it further lends the benefits of being highly productive and sustaining competitiveness seamlessly.


On the other hand, IIoT is an influencing factor for Industry 4.0 that connects devices, machines, and people to benefit companies and customers with high-yielding data.

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