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Internet of Things Glossary

Core concepts of digitisation and industry 4.0

Everybody talks about the Internet of Things, but what is that actually? Due to the rapid development of IoT a complete overview is almost impossible. Our glossary will help you shed light on the Buzzword jungle.

We explain the most common expressions and help you understand the most important technical terms and trend words of the digital world.

Application Programming Interface (API)

APIs represent application programming interfaces (also called application interface or programming interface), which are necessary for the digital transformation. They enable communication between two programs or systems at source code level. For programmers or developers, they form a point of access to a software.

Big Data

Very large, complex and often unstructured data sets that cannot be evaluated with conventional analysis methods. Special, particularly powerful frameworks are required to use Big Data. The term is characterized by 3 features: Volume or data scope, velocity or the speed with which the data sets are generated and transferred, and variety, i.e. the heterogeneity of data types and sources. In the business context, Big Data is used, for example, in industry for production optimization.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is the provision of IT infrastructure over the Internet by a cloud service provider. Frequently used resources are for example storage space, computing power or application software. A distinction is usually made between three cloud service levels: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS). Access is either via private or public cloud environments.

Data Mining

In general, data mining, also known as data collection, is the process of analyzing data from different perspectives and combining it into useful information. This information can be used, for example, to increase sales, reduce costs, or both.

Condition Monitoring

Condition monitoring is the permanent monitoring of machines and plants or industrial applications with the help of sensors. This includes condition monitoring, i.e. the analysis of predefined measured values, as well as condition comparison to detect deviations from the normal condition. Based on the results of the comparison of measured values, diagnoses about existing faults can be made at an early stage, causes can be determined and countermeasures can be taken.

Dashboard

A user interface that presents important information in a summarized form, often using charts or other widgets. The design is usually individually configurable and can be tailored to meet specific requirements or wishes.

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

A sub-discipline of the Internet of Things, which includes networked large machines and industrial systems such as factory surveillance. It often refers primarily to M2M communications, where devices can send real-time information to an application, for example, so that operators can better understand how efficiently the devices are working. The term is also known as Industry 4.0.

Gateway

An edge gateway serves as a network entry point for devices that typically communicate with cloud services. They also often provide network translation between networks that use different protocols.

Digitisation

Digitisation is of crucial importance for data processing, storage and transmission, as it enables information of all kinds to be transmitted and also mixed in all formats with the same efficiency. Unlike analogue data, which normally suffers a loss of quality each time it is copied or transmitted, digital data can theoretically be passed on indefinitely without deterioration. For this reason, it is a preferred method of storing information for many organizations around the world.

Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution is the current trend towards automation and data exchange in manufacturing technology. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things and cloud computing. Industry 4.0 creates a so-called "Smart Factory". In modular smart factories, cyber-physical systems monitor processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world and make decentralized decisions. Via the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems communicate and cooperate with each other and with people in real time.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure-as-a-Service is also called Virtual Data Center and represents the provision of hardware resources in a cloud. The components include, for example, servers, networks or storage space for archiving and securing data.

Internet of Things (IoT)

A network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate with, capture or interact with their internal states or the external environment. Physical devices connected to the Internet, in many cases everyday objects (things) that can communicate their status, react to events or even act autonomously. This enables communication between these things, bridging the gap between the real and virtual worlds and creating more intelligent processes and structures that can support us without requiring our attention.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence describes the ability of a computer or a computer-controlled robot to perform tasks that are usually associated with intelligent beings. The term is often used for the development of systems equipped with the intellectual processes characteristic of humans, e.g. the ability to argue, discover meaning or learn from past experiences.

LoRaWAN

The LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) specification standardised by the LoRa Alliance enables low bit rate communication between connected objects in a WAN (Wide Area Network).

Machine-to-Machine (M2M)

The term describes a technology that allows a connected device, often a machine or plant, to communicate and exchange information with another connected device without the help of a human being.

Modbus

The Modbus protocol is used to establish communication between intelligent devices. It is an open and widely used de facto standard that is used in a wide range of applications such as industry, buildings, transport and energy.

MQTT

MQTT (Message Queue Telemetry Transport) is a publish-subscribe protocol which is used to network different devices or machines. It is mainly used in M2M communication or in Internet of Things projects. Due to its simplicity and reliability it has established itself as the standard protocol in these areas. The transmission protocol has been officially released as a standard by the OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards).

NarrowBand IoT

NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT, NB-LTE or LTE-Cat-NB1) is a new radio technology that has been specially developed for the Internet of Things. Due to its very good network coverage, NB-IoT is available practically everywhere and is therefore - compared to other radio technologies - also suitable for use in places where mobile radio signals are only weakly available. NB-IoT is characterised not only by its longer range but also by its energy-saving and high reliability.

Open Source

A type of software where the source code is freely available and can be modified and freely distributed. Many developers believe that IoT must have open standards to reach its full potential. Open source codes are usually created in collaboration to improve the code and share the changes within the community.

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

OEM is a term used when one company manufactures a part or subsystem that is used in another company's final product. The term is more commonly used to describe those companies that rename a manufacturer's products and sell them to end customers under their own name.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform-as-a-Service is based on IaaS and is supplemented by additional components. The service enables software developers to use the infrastructure provided to develop new programs or perform tests, for example. The PaaS service provider provides the necessary development environment.

Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance, especially of machines and equipment in industrial environments. With the help of sensors and recorded data of machines and plants, maintenance can be carried out proactively and malfunctions can be predicted in an optimal case. Unexpected breakdowns of plants can be avoided by precise predictive maintenance planning.

Private Cloud

Unlike public clouds that provide services to multiple organizations, a private cloud is dedicated to a single organization. Private clouds are therefore best suited for organizations with dynamic or unpredictable computing needs that require direct control over their environments.

PROFIBUS

PROFIBUS (Process Field Bus) is a standard protocol for fieldbus communication in automation technology and was promoted by the BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research) in 1989 and subsequently used by Siemens.

Public Cloud

A public cloud is based on the standard cloud computing model, in which a service provider makes resources such as applications and storage available to the public over the Internet. The main benefits of using a public cloud service are Easy and cost-effective deployment because the cost of hardware, application and bandwidth is paid for by the provider, scalability on demand and no wasted resources because the pay-per-use billing model is often used.

Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a credit card-sized single-board computer developed in England by the Raspberry Pi Foundation for learning and demonstration purposes in schools and universities. The single-board computer can be used in a variety of ways and often serves as a development platform for a wide range of IoT projects.

Sensor

A sensor is a device used to measure a certain property of the environment, e.g. temperature. The use of sensors and actuators to connect things to the physical world is a key component of IoT. A properly implemented sensor should ideally be sensitive only to the property being measured and should not interfere with the property being measured or be affected by other properties.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software-as-a-Service refers to the use of a software application where no software licenses have to be purchased. There is also no need to install the software on your own hardware. The service is provided by the operator via the web browser and can be accessed via Internet-capable devices.

Software Development Kit (SDK)

A Software Development Kit (SDK) consists of various development tools that can be used to create an application for a specific platform or software. The SDK serves as a kind of construction kit, which contains tools for development.

Smart Factory

A Smart Factory is a factory where data and the latest technologies are used. Essentially, it involves the implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies. Crucial to the success of a Smart Factory is the technology that collects and analyzes data from sensors or machines.

PLC

A PLC or programmable logic controller is a type of digital computer used to automate typical industrial electromechanical processes, such as controlling machines on production lines.

Value Added

As one of the most popular words used to describe the potential results of Industry 4.0, the term "value added" refers to the savings or revenue increases expected from these integrated processes.

Value Added Service (VAS)

Value-added services or additional services that meaningfully supplement the actual core service. They have a direct connection to the standard product and extend it with digital services such as predictive remote maintenance.

Widget

A widget is a small program that can be placed and stored on the home screen of a smartphone or a dashboard, for example. Widgets contain, for example, temperature displays, floor plans or other information, which are displayed and shown in a clear and concise manner.

WiFi

Wi-Fi is the name of a local high-speed wireless Internet and network connection to which devices can be connected. It is a common form of local area network operating in the 2.4 GHz band.

Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)

The WLAN is a local area network that connects two or more devices using a wireless distribution method in a limited area such as a house or office building.

Zigbee

Zigbee is a short-range wireless network protocol that operates mainly in the 2.4 GHz frequency spectrum.