Comparison: Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet

Two terms closely related to the Industrial IoT have received quite a bit of press over the past few months: “Industry 4.0” and “Industrial Internet”. The first term was coined to describe a German government program to promote and modernize German manufacturing. The second term is promoted by General Electric (GE), who together with AT&T, Cisco, IBM, and Intel have formed the Industrial Internet Consortium.

Skkynet supports both Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet, since SkkyHub, DataHub, and ETK technologies work well with both, and we encourage our customers and other interested parties to understand both.

Recently several documents have been published that point out what is unique to Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet Consortium, as well as what they have in common. We find two of these papers particularly useful, and share them with you here. The first is an article published in Automation World, Industry 4.0 or Industrial Internet of Things—What’s Your Preference?, by Luigi De Bernardini, CEO at Autoware, a system integration company in Vicenza, Italy. The second is titled The Internet of Things: Industrie 4.0 vs. the Industrial Internet by Kris Bledowski at Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation in Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Each document presents a useful comparison. The De Bernardini article is shorter, covering the practical points of interest to system integrators. The Bledowski article goes into substantial detail on the differences and similarities. Generally, the documents agree–industry is currently experiencing and will continue to experience big changes due to a convergence of globalization, technology, and corporate mandates. Both of them also agree on the key differences between Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet Consortium, some which can be summarized as follows:

Key Questions Industry 4.0 Industrial Internet Consortium
Who initiated it? German government Private companies: (GE, AT&T, Cisco, IBM, Intel)
Where does it apply? Germany Worldwide: North America, Europe, Asia, etc.
What sectors? Manufacturing only All industry (manufacturing, energy, oil & gas, chemical, transportation, healthcare, utilities, agriculture, cities, etc.)
Focus is on? Manufacturing hardware (machines and tools) Manufacturing software, hardware (machines and tools), and system integration

Because Industry 4.0 has a German focus, other countries are taking similar initiatives: in the Netherlands it is “Smart Factory”, in France they call it “Usine du Futur”; in UK it’s “High Value Manufacturing Catapult” (or just “Catapult”); in Italy it goes by “Fabbrica del Futuro”; and in Belgium “Made Different”. Bernd Overmaat, Spokesman for Technology, Innovation & Sustainability at ThyssenKrupp, shares his point of view on this in a recent blog, World Wide Race.

Whatever name may be given to this kind of initiative, whoever organizes it, and whatever domain it encompasses, if it includes a requirement for industrial data communications or the Industrial IoT, then Skkynet technologies can assist in achieving its goals.