April 28, 2016 — The IoX (Internet of Anything), is, depending upon who one talks to, really the Internet of many things. The M2M camp is still clinging to the hope that the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) keeps some sort of anonymity and doesn’t get gobbled up by the Internet of Everything. Some even like to call it the second coming of the industrial revolution.
M2M pundits want to separate the ubiquitous connectivity of devices and pull out thing like smart metering, and LPWAN (low-power, wide area network) wireless technologies, and place them under the IIoT umbrella. And, there are many other similar wireless platforms — RFID, Near Field Communication (NFC), Low-power Bluetooth, ZigBee — that can play in both the IoX and IIoT sandboxes. It just depends upon where the application is deployed. LPWAN technologies deployed in warehouses are no different than if they are deployed in smart homes or smart cities. If one wants to add some redundancy and a few layers of extra control and the like, and call it the IIoT, well, that may have some traction for specific applications going forward, but wide-scale acceptance is unlikely.
There is an argument that the IIoT will have tighter specs, more reliable devices and more functionality. That is not like to happen in the long run. The long-held belief that industrial devices are better than consumer devices may still have legs in some ecosystems, but the IoX isn’t one of them. Even the government, which often pays ridiculous costs for standard items (like the $640 for a toilet seat) has been under pressure for years to adopt Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) devices when it comes to standard devices like sensors, cameras and the like. Yes, they are the top of the line models, but still are available to anyone for an IoE deployment.
IIoT players like to say that Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Nokia and other major vendors are developing products specifically for the IIoT. Yet most of their products go right into consumer and commercial deployments, interchangeably.
So, the bottom line is that as the Internet of Many Things evolves, niche markets will always develop. But they will all be part of the IoE. And the lines between industrial, consumer, commercial will blur. I doubt there will be the second coming of the industrial Internet. For a more detailed discussion on M2M vs. IoE, follow this link: http://semiengineering.com/m2m-vs-ioe/