BehrTech Blog

Consumer vs. Industrial IoT: What You Need to Know

Believe it not, the Internet of Things (IoT) is permeating every walk of life and step-by-step disrupting the way our world is functioning. IoT applications exist across multiple market verticals – from healthcare, mobility and logistics to manufacturing, utilities and agriculture. In general, the overarching IoT ecosystem can be broken down into two major subsets – Consumer IoT and Industrial IoT.

While sharing basic similarities in definition, there are significant differences as to how a Consumer vs. an Industrial IoT network is implemented in the real world. A lot of these differences have to do with the demanding and complex industrial environments hardly encountered by consumer devices. Industrial assets and systems are often situated at remote, physically challenging locations like underground, offshore or over elevated terrains – with limited or no power supply. On top of that, a plant environment is characterized by extreme humidity and temperatures alongside dense concrete and steel structures that hinder effective radio communications.

A Consumer IoT network typically entails few consumer devices, each of which has a limited lifetime of several years. On the other hand, an Industrial IoT network must connect hundreds, if not thousands of data points to support operations of expensive industrial equipment over many decades. The scale of impact during network breakdowns also greatly differ. Simply consider when your Fitbit device malfunctions vs. when fill-level sensors on material tanks fail to timely transmit data, resulting in long production halts. When designing a versatile IoT architecture, product managers need to factor in these fundamental distinctions to decide the right set of technologies.

The infographic below recaps basic differences of Consumer vs.Industrial IoT – from market value, major verticals and applications to network considerations, network requirements and viable wireless options.

Consumer vs Industrial IoT

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