Industrial cloud platform insights

The industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is being embraced by manufacturers as a natural extension of automation and controls development.

By Stone Shi September 9, 2023

Industrial cloud platform insights

  • Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is shifting its focus from platforms to applications as IIoT is focusing on specific industries.

  • Industrial control manufacturers are embracing and expanding IIoT as a natural progression of automation and controls development.

The tide of industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is gradually receding. Who will be the last among hundreds of IIoT or industrial internet platforms?

Siemens has integrated Mindsphere’s IIoT platform business into its Insights Hub (IIoT as a service solution) and stressed it will use this core of the IIoT ecosystem to better meet customer needs. This transition of Siemens Mindsphere differs from GE’s movement away from Predix a few years ago. Siemens continues to integrate the IIoT industry in a more practical, easy-to-implement way with greater participation in the industrial production system.

More real-time monitoring and control provide means to stimulate the value of the IIoT platform through artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and other technologies. The Insights Hub is a low-code IoT solution developed by Siemens based on Mendix. With the integration of Mindsphere, customers can easily use low-code application development tools to quickly create and integrate personalized IoT applications.

The integration seems to begin to move Siemens’ IIoT business from simple to deep and from virtual to real. The rest of the industrial internet field is “moving from virtual to real” after experiencing the initial boom.

IIoT focus shifts from platforms to applications

First, IIoT has shifted from focusing on platforms to applications. Advanced technologies survive only by solving production pain points through applications and bringing real value to production.

No matter how good a concept or technology is, if it cannot be applied, it remains a vision.

IIoT enters vertical development, with focus on specific industries

Second, IIoT has entered the vertical development stage of the industry, and platform and application service providers have paid more attention to targeted solutions for different industries.

For example, ABB Ability is not strictly an IIoT platform, but a general term for IIoT solutions in various vertical industries.

Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure is a three-tier architecture of an IIoT platform.

Vertical industries have their own solutions and products.

Advantech’s IIoT platform Wise PaaS is seeking vertical industry partners to create a “platform and ecology” landing plan.

Industrial control manufacturers embrace IIoT

Third, a large number of native industrial control manufacturers have entered the IIoT field. The Industrial Internet emerged from GE’s Predix, followed by a large influx of IT vendors and manufacturing giants.

Manufacturers of industrial automation controls came late to IIoT, some still seemingly confused by the “invasion” of industrial Internet and related IT technologies. The complexity of industrial scenarios and industrial production shows there is no universal platform for industrial internet that can be applied universally. [Editor note: Think of how fieldbus wars progressed into industrial Ethernet competition.]

Therefore, some early industrial internet platforms have retreated from difficulties, while others have shifted to system integration for individual projects. Few industrial internet platform-based products exist.

Fortunately, automation manufacturers are changing this phenomenon, and the industrial internet has gradually transformed into the “industrial Internet of Things.” IIoT platform examples include those based on configuration software of Asian Control, Force Control and other manufacturers, the IIoT platform integrating IoT touch screen and IoT controller of Fanyi in Shanghai, the IIoT platform based on supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system of Wago and Delta, and the IIoT platform based on sensors of Yifu Men and Kunlun Coast. These platforms gradually have been implemented by virtue of their familiar vertical industry knowledge and needs. There is a trend to use IIoT to replace the general platforms of major automation manufacturers.

How IIoT continues to advance

The popularity of the industrial internet and IIoT in the past few years is less something new and more a movement toward normal automation advancements. Moving from “virtual” to “real” may be the best start for the industrial internet to continue to progress.

Stone Shi is executive editor-in-chief, Control Engineering China; Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology,


See how industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) focus is shifting from platforms to applications.

Understand that IIoT is developing vertically to focus on specific industries.

Learn how industrial control manufacturers are embracing and expanding IIoT.


How are you using IIoT technologies and industrial cloud applications to accelerate manufacturing, factory automation and process control applications?

Author Bio: Executive editor-in-chief, Control Engineering China