What’s the Difference Between Consumer IoT and Industrial IoT?


While working in the field, we’ve heard and read many mistaken perceptions of these two notions. Both the CIoT (Consumer Internet of Things) and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) have been around for ages.

Still, some find it a bit difficult to tell the difference.

We’ll try to shed the light on the two notions here and now.

So, let’s start off by defining the terms.


What Is Industrial and Consumer Internet of Things?

As the leader of 3 big-time start-ups and a technology evangelist, Kevin Ashton defined the consumer Internet of Things back in 1999.

His main thought that brings together the two notions is that IoT is anything technologically smart that can communicate with other devices, networks, things, and even systems. But in so doing all these things should have unique IP addresses and be considered as parts of the IoT.

From the user’s standpoint, consumer internet of things is designed for the final consumption by a single customer where industrial IoT solutions aim at businesses and larger manufacturers.

The difference in the end-user gives rise to the difference in the types of devices and applications used for CIoT and IIoT. Ultimately, the two IoT types have more in common than differences.

Let’s go with the latter.

What Distinguishes IIoT From Consumer IoT?

#1. Environment

Returning to the question of the end-user, it’s safe to assume that IIoT solutions are created, implemented and utilized in the environment where may no consumer has stepped foot. The smart systems of devices should work under conditions of higher/lower temperatures, higher humidity, alleged toxicity and even highly radioactive environment.

Can we oppose consumer IoT here? It seems not, as your smart kettle is far from the boiling machines they use at factories, as well as the operating conditions of your domestic appliances are much simpler than those of the IIoT solution.

#2. Scalability

Even the most large-scale consumer IoT project, such as a smart home or yacht, can’t be compared with the scale of IIoT. Up-to-date IIoT systems can leverage millions of datapoints and comprehensive systems for information transmission like SCADA. Moreover, being hired for industrial projects, IIoT companies also realize that the massive data should be analyzed with less load for the whole system. And here comes the necessity of making hardware that will perform the preparatory analytics at the device level.

Consumer IoT entails fewer datapoints, thus performing lower requirements in the data control and analyzing constituents. The same logic applies to the different power and communication requirements for both the internet of things types.

#3. Security

It’s no secret that using displays of your IoT (and not only) solutions an attacker can obtain a living video report of your house environment. Should we say that such ambitious systems as IIoT for power plants have to be double-checked for security concerns before bringing them to the exploitation?

That’s why all the companies that provide IIoT services have to meet more rigorous security requirements like integrating the IT/OT systems like PLC controllers.

Apart from the larger differences we can’t but say that consumer IoT solutions are created in line with the narrow customer shopping requirements.

Shifting the same factor to IIoT, it becomes the reason for its higher technological availability. This implies higher customization, as well as the integration with a bigger number of software systems.

Under the conditions of consumer mass-market, if a buyer doesn’t find a smart microwave oven that meets all their needs, they’ll have to focus attention on another vendor.     

Sum-up: Consumer IoT vs. Industrial IoT

Number one idea

The main factor that differs IIoT from consumer smart things is devices and applications used for their development.

Number two idea

Industrial internet of things solutions are made to be protected from external environmental damage. Considerable attention is paid here to the materials, which are hugely more expensive and complex than those for the consumer market. Meanwhile, consumer IoT solutions are made to suit the needs of the target audience during a specific period of time rather than resist the harsh environment.

Number three idea

Cyber attack across a larger plant is much grander than that of a narrowly local. This means that IIoT solutions have to be double-checked for cybersecurity and put into operation only when complying with all the requirements.

Number four idea

IIoT solutions are more customizable where IoT for consumers are presented by a larger number of vendors. It’s tempting to think that by signing a new IIoT project contract with a development company you agree to long-lasting and mutually beneficial cooperation. In this, buying a new kettle you agree to the guarantee period, as well as the expiration date and all those technology obsolescence.

Number five thought

Say, you read the post about the differences between the two types of smart things and still have the firm conviction that you need a unique industrial IoT. Then you should contact one of those IoT development companies to make your thoughts come true.