In the consumer world, the focus is on the human experience and human interactions with machines. But the industrial Internet of Things will have different goals. Rather than creating new human experiences, it will focus on making machines more autonomous, increasing efficiency and productivity by reducing or even eliminating the need for human supervision.
You could call the Internet of Things a new device category layer that will link the formerly non-connected world with the connected world of PCs, tablets and smartphones. For consumers, that will often mean replacing older equipment with newer, smarter devices. But replacing existing equipment won't be as easy in the industrial world. Much of the infrastructure that is currently in place is far too valuable and far too complex to be discarded.
Rather than eliminating our existing M2M data networks and connected devices, the industrial Internet of Things will coexist with them for a long time. It will incorporate the older technologies, provide them with dramatic new capabilities, and increase their value.
To do this, industrial Internet of Things technology will need to accommodate disparate technologies, some of which are decades old. It will have to aggregate, convert and transmit multiple data networking protocols, from Modbus to TCP/IP.
It will need to move data across fiber, copper, cellular and wireless connections. While adding smaller, smarter, more capable nodes to networks, the Industrial Internet of Things will also have to keep older equipment connected.