Industry4 chart

The difference between IIoT, Digital Transformation, and Industry 4.0

We have IIoT which is the Industrial Internet-of-Things, we have digital transformation, and we have industry 4.0. What is the difference? This is a very common question, and if you are reading this topic, you are not alone. We are going to try to answer this in 4 minutes or less with concise answer.

Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is the movement, it’s the time, it’s place we are in time. We are experiencing the Fourth Industrial Revolution and it really started about a decade ago but it just got its real legs in the last 5 years. Every time you hear industry 4.0 and you want to know what this means. Industry 4.0 is simply that we are in the fourth Industrial Revolution.

The third Industrial Revolution is the automation, automation created data. The fourth Industrial Revolution is about translating data into information. Digital transformation and IIoT are mechanisms used to turn data into information. So industry 4.0 is the movement, it’s the place in time. That is what Industry 4.0.

Industry4 chart
Insdustry 4.0 Chart

Digital transformation

Digital transformation is simple. It is the digitization of your business from paper and sneakernet to no paper and unified. What that means is all the places in your plant where you are printing out reports a day later, where you are sending out interns with clipboards that have rows, and every 15 minutes they are collecting data out on the field. All of that stuff becomes digital and unified in real-time.

Digital transformation is taking all the paper, the data silos and turning it into a digital front end that is completely unified in real-time. So the idea that we may have a shift report or shift meeting at 8 am on the plant floor, everyone’s huddled around. And they are talking about all the performance numbers from the previous shift and the new targets for today. A digitally transform business would have gotten that report when the previous shift ended and they would have come in on their terminals on the machines with their new targets set for them. There’s no reason to have a 15 to 30 minute meeting going over that data. That’s a digitally transform business.


The Industrial internet-of-things is the simplest concept of all three of these. Industrial internet-of-things is all about getting the information that every single consumer needs in their hands when they want it. That’s the industrial internet-of-things.

The best example of the Internet of Things is your cell phone. My entire life is on my cell phone. I can talk to my kids, I can check my bank account, I can read the news, I can read email, I can invest, I can download recipes, I can do everything I need my whole life through a single terminal.

The industrial internet-of-things is the same concept but in the industrial capacity. That is all data and information for all consumers equals available. Making this possible the industrial internet-of-things is a function of changing the way people currently do business, and in order for us to digitize our lives.

Bottom line

So, in short what is the difference between IIoT, digital transformation, and Industrial 4.0? There you have it. Industry 4.0 is the movement, it’s the place of time. Digital transformation is the process. The industrial internet-of-things is the result.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *