The "Internet of Things" (IoT) has become a synonym for the connexion between the real and the virtual worlds. The starting point is the clear identification of objects like technical installations. This can be done with the help of RFID-chips or QR- and Barcodes, but also by visual recognition. By connecting them to the Internet, real objects can be enriched by virtual information and services. Based on these data, real smart objects equipped with sensors can be combined into complex, autonomous systems. Intelligent analysis tools (like IBM Watson) take decisions that can effectively influence or regulate maintenance strategy.
Industry 4.0 is a project supported by the industrial associations BitKom (Bundesverband Informationswirtschaft, Telekommunikation und neue Medien e.V.), VDMA (Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau e.V.) and ZVEI (Zentralverband Elektrotechnik- und Elektronikindustrie e.V.). The term points to the fourth industrial revolution, at the end of which all machines, products and processes shall be interconnected. To this end, industry uses technology that is also applied within the Internet of Things, such as wireless networks, sensor technology and analytical tools. The interesting approach is, in this context, to take all phases of the life cycle of an installation into consideration, from the idea, development, production, use and maintenance up to its dismantling.
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