Digital Glossary of Terms

If you're feeling a bit lost, we thought this list of IoT buzzwords might help?


API stands for application programming interface, a concept that applies everywhere from command-line tools to enterprise Java code to Ruby on Rails web apps. An API is a way to programmatically interact with a separate software component or resource. Unless you write every single line of code from scratch, you’re going to be interacting with external software components, each with its own API. Even if you do write something entirely from scratch, a well-designed software application will have internal APIs to help organise code and make components more reusable. And there are numerous public APIs that allow you to tap into functionality developed elsewhere over the web. 

Artificial Intelligence

In computer science, the term artificial intelligence (AI) refers to any human-like intelligence exhibited by a computer, robot, or other machine. In popular usage, artificial intelligence refers to the ability of a computer or machine to mimic the capabilities of the human mind—learning from examples and experience, recognising objects, understanding and responding to language, making decisions, solving problems—and combining these and other capabilities to perform functions a human might perform, such as greeting a hotel guest or driving a car.


Automation is a term for technology applications where human input is minimised. This includes business process automation (BPA), IT automation, personal applications such as home automation and more. 

Cloud Computing

The on-demand delivery of IT resources over the Internet with pay-as-you-go pricing. Instead of buying, owning, and maintaining physical data centres and servers, you can access technology services, such as computing power, storage, and databases, on an as-needed basis from a cloud provider like Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

Connected Devices

Connected devices are physical objects that can connect with each other and other systems via the internet. They span everything from traditional computing hardware, such as a laptop or desktop, to common mobile devices, such as a smartphone or tablet, to an increasingly wide range of physical devices and objects. This growing list of objects includes household appliances, heating and cooling systems, vehicles, health and fitness monitors, environmental sensors, and more. These devices, which are commonly embedded with technology such as processing chips, software, and sensors, collect data and share it with other devices and systems. Connected devices are typically monitored and controlled remotely. They connect with the internet and each other via various wired and wireless networks and protocols, such as WiFi, NFC, 3G and 4G networks. 


IoT connectivity is typically how we refer to the methods used to connect IoT devices—methods including applications, sensors, trackers, gateways and network routers. In the IoT industry, however, IoT connectivity is also a term commonly used to describe the specific IoT network solutions that can power this kind of connectivity. This could be WiFi, cellular or LPWAN, to name but a few. 

Data / Analytics

IoT data analytics is the analysis of huge data volumes generated by connected devices. Organisations can derive a number of benefits from it: optimise operations, control processes automatically, engage more customers, and empower employees. The combination of IoT and data analytics has already proven to be beneficial in retail, healthcare, telematics, manufacturing, and smart cities. However, its true value for organisations has yet to be fully realised. 


DevSecOps stands for development, security, and operations. It is an extension of the DevOps practice. Each term defines different roles and responsibilities of software teams when they are building software applications.

Digital transformation

Digital transformation is the process of adoption and implementation of digital technology by an organisation in order to create new or modify existing products, services and operations by the means of translating business processes into a digital format. The goal for its implementation is to increase value through innovation, invention, improved customer experience and efficiency.

Edge Computing

Edge computing is a networking philosophy focused on bringing computing as close to the source of data as possible in order to reduce latency and bandwidth use. In simpler terms, edge computing means running fewer processes in the cloud and moving those processes to local places, such as on a user’s computer, an IoT device, or an edge server. Bringing computation to the network’s edge minimises the amount of long-distance communication that has to happen between a client and server.


IoT Endpoints are the devices that are monitoring a service, process, or machine, by collecting data and sending it back to be analysed. They are the leaves at the end of the IoT tree hierarchy. Some definitions of IoT Endpoint also include IoT Agents that are consolidating data from a group of devices and even IoT Gateways that are managing a team of IoT Agents. 

Gateway / Hub

An IoT Gateway is a solution for enabling IoT communication, usually device -to-device communications or device-to-cloud communications. The gateway is typically a hardware device housing application software that performs essential tasks. At its most basic level, the gateway facilitates the connections between different data sources and destinations. A simple way to conceive of an IoT Gateway is to compare it to your home or office network router or gateway. Such a gateway facilitates communication between your devices, maintains security and provides an admin interface where you can perform basic functions. An IoT Gateway does this and much more. 

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things, or IoT, refers to the billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the internet, all collecting and sharing data. Thanks to the arrival of super-cheap computer chips and the ubiquity of wireless networks, it's possible to turn anything, from something as small as a pill to something as big as an aeroplane, into a part of the IoT. Connecting up all these different objects and adding sensors to them adds a level of digital intelligence to devices that would be otherwise dumb, enabling them to communicate real-time data without involving a human being. The Internet of Things is making the fabric of the world around us smarter and more responsive, merging the digital and physical universes.

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

The extension and use of the internet of things (IoT) in industrial sectors and applications. With a strong focus on machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, big data, and machine learning, the IIoT enables industries and enterprises to have better efficiency and reliability in their operations. The IIoT encompasses industrial applications, including robotics, medical devices, and software-defined production processes. 

Legacy System

A legacy system is any outdated computing system, hardware or software that is still in use. Legacy systems include computer hardware, software applications, file formats and programming languages.

Mesh Network

A mesh network has a decentralised connection configuration either as a “full mesh” or a “partial mesh.” Full mesh networks have inter-connected nodes which connect with all of the other nodes while partial mesh networks also have full connectivity but only directly with nodes with which they exchange the most data. Within a full mesh network, if one node becomes unavailable, all other connected nodes are unaffected. Within a partial mesh network, depending on the node connection topology, the entire network may be partially or completely affected if a node become unavailable.


Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) is an OASIS standard messaging protocol for the Internet of Things (IoT). It is designed as an extremely lightweight publish/subscribe messaging transport that is ideal for connecting remote devices with a small code footprint and minimal network bandwidth. MQTT today is used in a wide variety of industries, such as automotive, manufacturing, telecommunications, oil and gas, etc.  


An Internet communication layer that allows a device, computer, hardware, software, sensor, or object to communicate with another device like a hub or other sensor. A network is wired or wireless that connects various endpoints in order to transmit, receive, or exchange data, voice, or video traffic.


IoT network protocols are used to connect devices over the network. These are the set of communication protocols typically used over the Internet. Using IoT network protocols, end-to-end data communication within the scope of the network is allowed. Following are the various IoT Network protocols such as WiFi, Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE, ZigBee, Z-Wave, 5G, LoRAWAN, NFC, and Beacon, among others. Some protocols develop into standards in order to facilitate cross device communication. 


Security for IoT spans across several areas: the device itself, the data collected and transmitted, and the communication networks utilised. Broadly, security is the defense of IT assets as well as digital information or data against internal or external threats. Security includes detection, prevention, and response to threats as governed by policies, software, and IT tools.  


A device that measures a particular characteristic of a surrounding environment like temperature, sound, movement, etc. Sensors and actuators connect to the physical world through a hub/gateway. A sensor should only monitor the specific characteristic it is designed to monitor and not be influenced by other variables. Actuators convert electrical energy into mechanical energy (e.g., motion).  

Smart Solutions

Smart solutions is a general term for systems combining innovative technologies, both in terms of hardware (Internet of Things) and software. They are widely applied in many fields of life – starting from smart offices, cars, and finishing on cities. This wide application range is obtained by means of various sensors. The available functionalities are not limited to the measurements only and collecting varied data, but also their visualisation and steering the respective equipment, which leads to the improvement of conditions and optimisation of the processes in organisations. 


A general term used to describe programs that operate and control computers and other devices. Software can be divided into applications, operating systems, and middleware (which exists between the application and operating system). IoT middleware acts as an interface between various IoT components to enable communications. 

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