Gateways in Industrial IoT

The term IoT is used to refer to physical objects or groups of said objects with sensors, processing ability, software and other technologies that connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the internet or other communication networks. That said, the devices don’t necessarily need to be connected to the public internet. They only need to be connected to a network and be individually addressable. 

IoT has a range of uses and when used in industries like manufacturing, mining and other industrial sectors, it is referred to as the Industrial Internet of Things.

Industrial IoT 

Industrial IoT is short for the Industrial Internet of Things and it describes the use of IoT in industrial sectors. Some challenges hinder the significant growth of the Industrial IoT industry;

Data Issues

When it comes to IIoT, data is absolutely key in terms of data communications and integration. In any considerably large industry, there are bound to be huge volumes of data, from different source types probably, and with other varying characteristics such as different dates – long story short, it’s a lot of data logistics to deal with. 

According to research, data integration is the number one barrier in IIoT in terms of moving from data to business value.

Lack of Skills

Lack of the necessary skill and expertise is another major issue. Skill and expertise in this case going beyond just data integration. 

To achieve IIoT, an organization cannot do it all alone because of lack of the aforementioned skill and expertise. Networks, ecosystems and platforms of partners are needed for success.

As in the description, IoT involves connection of devices and data communications between these devices and the cloud. How do you achieve said connection?

IoT Gateway

Basically, an IoT gateway is the link between devices to their network edge and to the cloud. The network edge is where the devices connect or interface with the internet.

A more technical definition would be it is a solution that enables IoT communication – device to device or device to cloud communication. Here is how industrial IoT gateways work;

Devices or sensors will communicate with the gateway and in turn the gateway takes that information and communicates with the cloud.

You are probably wondering what this technological marvel can do for you. 

Reduce Latency

In the technology world, latency refers to the time between a request and the response. If you are in the healthcare industry or any industry that typically demands fast responses, you can’t afford to have devices transmitting data to the cloud and waiting for a response before they take action.

Gateways can process the data and give commands locally with a setback however – many devices in IoT applications are too small and too low-battery to do the processing themselves. You can see how this would greatly reduce the latency especially in time-sensitive applications.


Barring an industrial IoT gateway, devices have to be connected to the internet which makes them vulnerable to attacks like hacking. I don’t have to tell you that a hacked device is bad.

Gateways reduce the number of devices connected to the internet and here is how;

Devices are connected to a gateway which is in turn connected to the internet. That way, devices don’t have to be directly connected to the internet. 

That said, this particular benefit leaves the gateway itself a target being the first line of defense.

Enables the Integration of Various Protocols 

Whatever industry you are in, you may be using different sensors and devices all for different purposes. Now, all these devices can use different network connectivity types and protocols. The connectivity types I am talking about are like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Gateways can communicate with these devices over their individual communication protocols and translate that data into a standard protocol to be sent to the internet or cloud for that matter.

What to Consider When Getting an Industrial Iot Gateway

How Much Data Needs to Be Collected?

In some industries, hundreds of devices are needed, in others,  thousands of devices, each making multiple readings per second. This rather large data volume needs to be analyzed and this is key in selecting a gateway.

Based on the data volume, you have the option of installing multiple gateways.

Where the Gateway Will Be Installed

An IoT gateway may require to be installed in quite tricky places like high altitudes and as such need to be able to operate under extreme conditions. Some gateway models are tailored for harsh conditions like temperature ranges of -30 degrees to 70 degrees.

It is up to you now to select a gateway that will be suitable for the environment you operate in.

Which Connectivity Options the Gateway Offers

Multiple devices in an industrial IoT system use different connectivity protocols, from Bluetooth and ethernet to wireless LAN for longer range and Wi-Fi. 

As an industry or plant, you may want to monitor operations remotely using your smartphone so it is ideal to have a gateway model that accommodates a wide range of connectivity options and protocols.