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92 MHz

License-free RF band commonly used for short-range applications. The low frequency allows for better penetration through walls and obstacles; however it has a low data transfer rate.

868 MHz

License-free RF band commonly used for short-range applications such as thermostats, burglar alarms, and industrial uses.


New Wi-Fi protocol that uses sub 1 GHz license-exempt bands as opposed to conventional Wi-Fi that operates in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.


A communication protocol that compresses Ipv6 packages for small, low power-devices to let them communicate within the Internet of Things.


The fourth generation of GSM cellular technology and the latest upgrade to the GSM network, providing greater data transfer speeds. 4G is also referred to as LTE.


Third Generation Partnership Project 2 (CDMA family of technologies).


Third Generation Partnership Project (GSM family of technologies).


The third generation of GSM cellular technology, offering substantially improved data transfer rates over its predecessor, 2G. While the original release of 3G used the UMTS method, improvements have been made to increase capacity and data speeds with additional protocols including HSPA.


The second generation of GSM cellular technology that improved performance by adding to the cellular radio spectrum to help solve coverage issues and drops in signal due to urban obstacles. It was also the turning point in moving from analogue transmission methods to digital, adding digital encryption and paving the way for cellular data usage.

2.4 GHz

A short-range wireless band commonly used in wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ZigBee.


1 times Radio Transmission Technology (used in ANSI-2000 CDMA).


1 times Evolution-Data Optimized (used in ANSI-2000 CDMA).


Amazon Web Services.

Automated Identification and Mobility (AIM) Technologies

A group of technologies that are used to identify, store, and communicate data. An example would be a barcode, though there are many technologies in this area that are used for different services and are often used in combination.

Augmented Entity

A physical entity is represented by a virtual entity on the digital level. An augmented entity combines the two and stands for any combination of the two entities.

Audio Profile

Hardware profile used with Bluetooth applications that include custom AT commands and functionality dedicated to wireless streaming of audio. Examples include A2DP, which allows for streaming of audio to devices such as speakers, where as an audio gateway profile allows for two-way audio communication used in devices such as headsets.

AT Commands

Attention commands, developed by Dennis Hayes, that are used to set data connections. The set of short string commands allow developers to set up calls with a modem, as well as perform far more complex tasks. For an example of an AT command set, take a look at Telit’s 3G module, the HE910, AT command directory.


Address Resolution Protocol. A communication protocol used to convert an IP address into a physical address. This way, computers can communicate with each other, despite only knowing each other’s IP addresses, by sending an ARP request that informs them about the other computer’s MAC address.


A single-board microcontroller used for prototyping without having to deal with breadboards or soldering. The software to operate an Arduino is free and open source.

Application Specific Sensor Nodes (ASSN)

Integrating sensors and sensor fusion in a single device, ASSNs have a built-in intelligence to cope with the complexity of applying multiple sensors to a specific problem such as augmented reality, navigation, positioning, and more. Bosch Sensortec

Application Software

Programs that enable specific, end-user actions. This means the software uses the given potential provided by computers to form an application. Examples include Microsoft Word (text editing), Adobe Photoshop (image editing), and many other programs.

Application Programming Interface (API)

A collection of commands and protocols used to interact with an operating system, device, or specific software component. In IoT, an API lets the developer access the functionality of a device or sensor, such as a thermometer’s readings. APIs can be public or restricted to authorized users only.


Application Programming Interface.


(Wireless) Access Point.


American National Standards Institute Standard 41, for CDMA cellular.


American National Standards Institute Standard 41, for control signal messaging on SS7.


American National Standards Institute Standard 41, for CDMA2000 cellular.


American National Standards Institute Standard 41, for TDMA cellular.

Anomaly Detection

A statistical technique that determines what patterns are normal and then identifies items that do not conform to those patterns. Unlike simple classification where the classes are known in advance, in anomaly detection the users don’t know what they are looking for in the data.

Android Wear

An open-source platform that extends the Android system to wearables. The SDK includes an emulator.


Advance Message Queuing Protocol.


Advanced Mobile Phone System, an analog cellular mobile system using FDMA.

Ambient Intelligence (AmI)

Sensor-filled environments that interpret and react to human events and activity, and learning to adapt over time, the environment’s operation and services change based on that activity.

Ambient Assisted Living (AAL)

Intelligent systems to assist the elderly and others with daily care activities, often through IoT technology. Application fields are security (for example, observation), functionality (such as automated light switches), and even entertainment.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

The name given to a collection of remote computing services, offered by, that combine to make a cloud computing platform.

Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP)

An open-source standard for business message communication. Main features include message orientation, queuing, routing, reliability, and security.

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

The specification for encryption of electronic data established in 2001. Operates on a public/private key system, and planning for key management is an important aspect when implementing AES encryption.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)

Digital features incorporated into vehicles to enhance driver safety and performance. ADAS functionality includes digital vision for lane departure warnings, blind spot detection, radar for collision avoidance, and V2V communication for multiple vehicles operating near each other. The data and connectivity integral to ADAS transforms vehicles into IoT devices.


The capacity for an entity to be targeted and found. To be addressable, an entity must be uniquely identifiable, meaning that it must be associated with something — typically an alphanumeric string — that is not associated with anything else that exists within that system.

Additive Manufacturing

The industry-specific term for 3D printing, involving building products by adding layers rather than the traditional technique of removing material via milling.


Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.


A device that introduces motion by converting electrical energy into mechanical energy in an electromechanical system. (An actuator may also stop motion by clamping or locking.) A dynamo is an example of an actuator.

Active Sensor

A sensing device that requires an external source of power to operate.

Access Point

A Wi-Fi node that allows users entry to a network, typically a LAN.

Access Control as a Service (ACaaS)

A recurring fee-based system where a facility manager outsources electronic access control to a third party. Each facility need not maintain a dedicated server.

Access Control

A system that determines who, when, and where people are allowed to enter or exit a facility or area. The traditional form of access control is the use of door locks, but modern access control may include electronic systems and wireless locks. Access control may also apply to cybersecurity.


A tool that measures changes in gravitational acceleration in the unit it may be installed in. Accelerometers are used to measure acceleration, tilt, and vibration in many devices.

Acceleration Sensing

A MEMS concept referring to the increase in movement of an object from one point to another along a straight line or axis. Typical applications include remote control, pointing devices, gesture recognition, fitness monitoring equipment, etc.


Access Control as a Service.


Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (see also RADIUS).


Bring Your Own Device.

Business Logic

Used to describe processes that are necessary to enable or execute communication between an end user and a database/server. These processes decide how data is transmitted, transformed, or calculated. This does not include the display of data or task-specific commands. It serves as a basis, consisting of algorithms, code, etc.


Base Transceiver Station. This is a machine that enables wireless communication between user equipment, for example a mobile phone or a computer, and networks like the GSM network. The data is received through an antenna and is then processed and transmitted by the BTS to create a wireless connection.


Base Station Controller. The equipment that consolidates and controls multiple BS sites (usually, more than one BS is attached to a BSC).


Base Station. The radios and other equipment at the cell sites that are used to communicate with the cellular devices.


Brownfield describes the problem and the process of having to consider already existing systems when implementing new software systems.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Enterprise term recognizing that people are bringing their own Wi-Fi enabled devices into the corporate network.


Slang term for accidentally rendering a device inoperable by changing its configuration or shorting one of its circuits. Used as a verb, as in “what do I do if I brick my Raspberry Pi?” The inert device sits there like a brick.

Body Area Network (BAN)

A wireless network of wearable computing devices and physiological sensors, which may even be embedded inside the body. A BAN may also be referred to as a WBAN (wireless body area network) or a BSN (body sensor network). A key use case for BANs is e-Health applications.

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

The latest iteration of Bluetooth, also called Bluetooth 4.0. It offers lower power use for portable devices and new profiles including Bluetooth Mesh, a Bluetooth topology that allows devices to be connected together, sending/repeating commands from the hub to any connected device. Apple’s iBeacon is an example of a BLE application, and BLE as many potential uses for IoT devices.

Bluetooth LE (BLE)

Bluetooth Low Energy.

Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE)

The latest iteration of Bluetooth, also called Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). It offers lower power use for portable devices and new profiles including Bluetooth Mesh, a Bluetooth topology that allows devices to be connected together, sending/repeating commands from the hub to any connected device. Apple’s iBeacon is an example of a BLE application, and BLE as many potential uses for IoT devices.


Short-range wireless technology standard which operates on the 2.4 MHz band. Bluetooth can be used for sending both data and audio, with popular uses including wireless headsets and cordless keyboards. Bluetooth devices can be set up with different hardware profiles to help perform specific tasks, for example audio adapter, audio headset, serial, and keyboard profiles.


Short-range wireless technology standard which operates on the 2.4 MHz band. Bluetooth can be used for sending both data and audio, with popular uses including wireless headsets and cordless keyboards. Bluetooth devices can be set up with different hardware profiles to help perform specific tasks, for example audio adapter, audio headset, serial, and keyboard profiles.

Big Data

Data sets so large that they cannot be used with traditional database tools. Big data often requires massively parallel computing resources to access, curate and analyze. Big data analysis techniques are crucial to such disciplines as spotting business trends and simulation.


Low-cost devices that communicate with smartphone apps indoors, without the need for GPS. Beacons use BLE and are key enablers for the smart retail category, triggering messages as consumers pass through locations or near products.


A range of frequencies used by a technology for communication purposes. For example, the 2.4 MHz band is used for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth communication.


Body Area Network.

Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS)

Systems that combine computer-related and mechanical aspects. A smartphone, for example, combines software, hardware, etc., with a physical device. In general, many mobile or embedded technologies or devices can be called Cyber-Physical Systems, thus applications are manifold. The systems often include some form of sensor which can transfer attributes from the real world to the digital sphere.


A novel system for inventors and entrepreneurs to bypass traditional funding methods such as venture capital by raising small amounts from a large group of individual backers. Made popular by sites such as Kickstarter, crowdfunding can act as a pre-ordering system, allowing the project’s creator to reduce risk by gaging consumer popularity before production even begins.


A battery rated at 3.0 volts commonly used in watches, wireless doorbells, and other small devices. Sometimes referred to as a “button cell” or “lithium coin,” the battery is shaped like a coin with dimensions of 20mm diameter x 3.2mm height (from which the “2032” is derived). The CR2032 is twice as thick as the CR2016.


Cyber-Physical Systems.


Cortex-M is a family of microprocessors developed by ARM which is mainly used in microcontrollers. They range from the cheapest M0 processor up to the Cortex-M4, which is used for effective digital signal control. Applications are found in automotive, gaming, and intelligent consumer products.


Cortex-A refers to a series of processors from ARM that are equipped with ARMv7 and ARMv8 command sets. They are used for applications that require a lot of processing power, mainly in the areas of mobile handset (smartphones), computing, digital home, automotive, enterprise, and wireless infrastructure.

Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE)

A compromise around pure BYOD, COPE devices allow the user to control much of the data on the device, but the enterprise controls the security model.


Corporate-Owned, Personally Enabled.

Controller Area Network (CAN)

In automobiles, a CAN connects Electronic Control Units (ECUs) using a multi-master serial bus (the CAN bus) to control actuators or receive feedback from sensors. ECUs can be subsystems such as airbags, transmission, antilock brakes, or most importantly, engine control. The standard consists of ISO 11898-1 and ISO 11898-2.

Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie)

The COBie approach simplifies the capture and recording of building project handover data, basically by entering things like serial numbers as the project progresses. COBie breaks down the design into Facility, Floor, Space and Zone elements. COBie can be displayed in several interoperable formats.

Connected Home

If the devices in a house work interactively and information relevant to residents is accessed via high-speed broadband, it could be called a connected home. This may mean that the refrigerator reports the almost empty milk or that the TV reminds you of your doctor’s appointment because it automatically gets this information from the doctor’s computer. Related to Smart Home.

Companion Device

In wearables, a companion device requires a parent device, such as a smartphone, to fully operate. The opposite would be a standalone device that can do everything on its own. A companion wearable will typically use Bluetooth to communicate with the parent.

Communication Model

Communication models try to capture, explain, simplify, and then model communication. One of the oldest and most famous models, the Shannon and Weaver Model, was created in 1949.

Cognitive Vehicles

A term coined by IBM to describe vehicles that will learn from the behaviors of drivers, occupants, and vehicles around them, plus be aware of the vehicle’s own condition and the state of the surrounding environment. A cognitive vehicle will thus be capable of configuring itself to a specific driver, other occupants, and various conditions.


Construction Operations Building Information Exchange.


Constrained Application Protocol. This software protocol is used in small electronics devices and serves as the interactive communication between those devices.


Card Not Present.

Cloud Orchestration

The automated management of a cloud. This includes all services and systems that are part of the cloud as well as the flow of information.

Cloud Computing

An approach where information technology capacities (such as storage or applications) are separated from the individual computer and are supplied through the Internet (or an Intranet-based service) at the user’s demand. The “as-a-Service” moniker is sometimes used for cloud computing services, such as Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, and Infrastructure-as-a-Service. The backend for many IoT devices may be delivered via the cloud.

Cloud Communications

Communication services being provided by third parties that can be accessed and used through the Internet. The program Skype is one well-known cloud communications application.


Or the Cloud, meaning cloud computing. The name “cloud” comes from the fluffy cloud typically used in Visio-style network diagrams to represent a connection to the Internet.

Class 2 Bluetooth

Short-range wireless data transmission (10-20m) which has low power consumption of around 2.5mW.

Class 1 Bluetooth

Offers a greater wireless data transfer distance (over 100m, up to 1km) through using greater power consumption (100mW).


Chief IoT Officer.

Chief IoT Officer (CIoT)

One of the CxO class of corporate officers, the CIoT coordinates the integration of IoT into the enterprise. Successful CIoTs will break down silos between disciplines such as big data, data analytics, security, communications protocols, etc.

Cellular Router

Allows connected devices to access servers and devices by making an IP connection through the cellular mobile network. Routers allow for multiple devices to be connected and controlled, while built in Open VPN, IPSEC, PPTP, and L2TP, and offer extra device and data transfer security to keep your information safe.

Cellular Modem

Allows a device to receive Internet access over the cellular mobile networks. Devices can also be configured to remotely connect to a server or device to enable off site access and data collection.


Code Division Multiple Access. Digital cellular phone service method that separates multiple transmissions over a finite frequency allocation using Spread Spectrum techniques (concept invented and patented by Hedy Lamar).

Card Not Present (CNP)

The type of credit transaction where the merchant never sees the actual card. CNP has the obvious potential for fraud but is vital for newer services such as contactless mobile payments.


A message-based, multi-master serial protocol for transmitting and receiving vehicle data within a Controller Area Network (CAN). Sometimes written as “CANbus,” the CAN Bus connects multiple Electronic Control Units (ECUs) also known as nodes. Designed initially for automotive applications in 1983, the CAN Bus can be adapted to aerospace, commercial vehicles, industrial automation, and medical equipment.


Controller Area Network.


A format for different computer-aided design programs, including AutoCAD. It is used to store two and three dimensional design data and meta data.


Demand Response.


Abbreviated as DL or D/L, downlink is the process of downloading data onto an end node from a server/target address. In a cellular network this would be seen as data being sent from a cellular base station to a mobile handset.


A combination of “domestic” and “robotics.” Also a composite of the Latin domus and informatics, domotics includes home automation systems, home robots, whole house audio/visual systems, and security systems. Domotic devices have the ability to communicate with each other.

Domain Model

A model that contains all areas and terms related to a certain field of interest. It includes attributes, relations, constrains, acts, etc., that are relevant for a certain task.


Degrees of Freedom.

DNP3 Protocol

An open, standards-based protocol for the electric utility industry with interoperability between substation computers, remote terminal units, intelligent electronic devices), and master stations. Groups of enabled things are organized into namespaces.


Do It Yourself. Enthusiasts generally tinker with gadgets or software to improve the functionality or do custom-install projects in their homes.

Distributed Generation (DG)

Decentralized, modular, and flexible power generation located close to the serviced loads. Distributed microgrids can control smaller areas of demand with distributed generation and storage capacity.

DIN Rail

A metal rail used for mounting electrical equipment and racks.


Distributed Generation.

Device Attack

An exploit that takes advantage of a vulnerable device to gain access to a network.

Demand Response (DR)

The voluntary reduction of electricity use by end users in response to high-demand pricing. Demand response can reduce electrical price volatility during peak demand periods and help avoid system emergencies. An example of DR would be a utility paying Nest to have thermostats turn down air conditioners in empty homes on a hot day.

Degrees of Freedom (DoF)

An engineering concept used in MEMS that describes the directions in which an object can move and generally the number of independent variables in a dynamic system.


The stripping away of personally identifiable information from data prior to its use. The process must include the removal of both direct identifiers (name, email address, etc.) and the proper handling of quasi-identifiers (sex, marital status, profession, postal code, etc.).


Digital Data Storage. This format is used to store computer data on audio tape. It was developed by HP and Sony in 1989 and is based on the digital audio tape (DAT) format and was a widely used technology in the 1990s.


A termed coined by Marc Blackmer, datakinesis occurs when an action taken in cyberspace has a result in the physical world. Industrial Control Systems, for example, are vulnerable to datakinetic attacks where physical equipment such as valves and sensors are compromised and damaged by hackers. Stuxnet is one such example.

Data-Driven Decision Management (DDDM)

An approach to business governance valuing decisions that can be backed up with verifiable data.

Data Scientist

A job that combines statistics and programming, using languages such as R, to make sense of massive data sets. IoT sensors, for example, create mountains of data, and the data scientist’s role is to extract valuable information and detect anomalies.

Data Lake

Coined by Pentaho CTO James Dixon, a data lake is a massive data repository, designed to hold raw data until it’s needed and to retain data attributes so as not to preclude any future uses or analysis. The data lake is stored on relatively inexpensive hardware, and Hadoop can be used to manage the data, replacing OLAP as a means to answer specific questions. Sometimes referred to as an “enterprise data hub,” the data lake and its retention of native formats sits in contrast to the traditional data warehouse concept.

Data Janitor

A subtask of data science concerned with the cleaning up of dirty or duplicative data. Oftentimes the janitor must get data into the correct columns and sort it.

Data Center

A collective term for the physical site, network elements, systems, etc., that supports computing and network services.


A user interface that presents key information in a summarized form, often as graphs or other widgets. Derived from the classic automobile dashboard, the design of the interface depends on what information needs to be monitored or measured.


Enhanced Voice-Data Only (also Enhanced Voice-Data Optimized).


A fieldbus system developed by Beckhoff, which allows for real-time Ethernet. It helps to achieve short data update times, accurate synchronization, and low hardware costs, so it can be used specifically for automated or control systems. CAT stands for Controller and Automation Technology.


Electronic Serial Number (in CDMA). Replaced by the MEID.


Electrostatic Discharge. This discharge can occur if two electrical objects with different electrical charge come in contact with each other. The difference in charge is often due to friction. Sometimes, the short process is accompanied by sparks, as can be seen with lightning. ESD can lead to severe damage to electrical devices (such as generators).


A nonprofit organization founded by GS1 (former EAN International) and GS1 US (former UCC). It serves to spread, improve, and standardize the Radio Frequency Identification (RFDI) technology and to support communication of gathered data through the Internet.

Enterprise Mobile Duress (EMD)

Systems designed to detect personnel emergencies within large facilities, such as hospitals or campuses, where determining the physical location of persons in distress is a critical issue. EMD systems are a robust extension of a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) into the enterprise, focusing on the protection of people from emergency incidents such as violence.

Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE)

This is an enhancement made to 2G GSM networks to improve data transfer speeds and provides downlink speeds of up to 1 Mbit/s and uplink speeds of up to 400 kbit/s. It builds on available GSM or GPRS standards and is thus easily integrated into the existing network.

Energy-Harvesting Technologies

Technologies which use small amounts of energy from close proximity to power small wireless devices. Applications can be found in wireless sensor networks or wearable tech. Energy sources are, among others, sun, wind, or kinetic energy.

EMI Protocol

An extension to the UCP (Universal Computer Protocol). It’s used to connect to Short Message Service Centers which store, transform, and send short messages.


Enterprise Mobile Duress.

Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish

A strategy associated with Microsoft to defeat open standards with proprietary extensions. Many IoT projects are open source, so this strategy would be anathema to open development.

Embedded System Security

The reduction of vulnerabilities and protection against threats in software running on embedded devices.

Embedded Software

Specialized programming in a chip or on firmware in an embedded device to control its functions.

Embedded Firmware

The flash memory chip that stores specialized software running in a chip in an embedded device to control its functions.

Embedded Device Hacking

The exploiting of vulnerabilities in embedded software to gain control of the device.

Electronic Control Unit (ECU)

Also known as a node, an Electronic Control Unit is a device, such as a sensor or actuator, that is connected to other devices via a CAN Bus. A vehicle can contain dozens of ECUs for functions such as mirror adjustment, window power, airbags, cruise control, entertainment, and, most significantly, engine control. To form a CAN, two or more ECUs are needed.


Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution.


Electronic Control Unit.


European Article Number. This is used to mark and identify products. Since 2009, it is also called GTIN (Global Trade Item Number). The number is usually found beneath barcodes and consists of up to 13 digits (EAN 13 barcode).


Or eHealth, telehealth, telemedicine, and related to mHealth. This is the support of medical processes and applications through information and computer technologies. It can include the gathering and communication of data as well as automated responses of certain devices and processes.


Firmware Over-the-Air.

Form Factor

The physical size, pin-out, and configuration of a component. A family range of module, for example, may include 2G, 3G, and 4G variants to allow PCB designers to design in one module but allow for future upgrades through the product family’s road map.

Fog Computing or Fogging

Also known as fogging, this is a distributed computing infrastructure in which some application services are handled at the network edge in a smart device and some application services are handled in a remote data center — in the cloud.


Fleet Management.

Fleet Management (FM)

A broad term referencing a range of solutions for vehicle-related applications. An FM solution is typically a vehicle-based system that incorporates data logging, satellite positioning, and data communication to a back-office application.

Fitness Band

A type of activity tracker worn on the wrist, with sensors specifically related to exercise and activity measuring. In contrast to a smartwatch that may include fitness/activity tracking features, a “fitness band” is primarily dedicated to fitness.

Firmware Over-the-Air (FOTA)

The process of updating a mobile phone’s operating system and software over the network, rather than having the consumer come into a service center for updates.


Programming that’s written to the read-only memory (ROM) of a computing device. Firmware, which is added at the time of manufacturing, is used to run user programs on the device.


Frequency Division Multiple Access.


Fachnormenausschuss Kraftfahrzeugindustrie. This is a type of SMB connector used in the automotive industry for connecting coaxial RF connectors which uses snap on connectors.


A structure designed and constructed for a particular purpose, such as a medical facility.


GSM Mobile Application Part, for control signal messaging on SS7.


Global System for Mobile communication.


In contradiction to brownfield, a greenfield project is a one where no consideration of previous systems is needed, thus already existing standards can be ignored.


Global Positioning System. A system of satellites and radio transmissions that can be used to locate GPS-enabled hardware anywhere on the planet to a very good accuracy.


General Packet Radio Service.


Global Navigation Satellite System. Used when talking about different constellations of satellite navigation systems.


The Russian global navigation satellite system with a constellation made of 24 satellites orbiting Earth. These multi-constellation GPS modules allow users to access multiple satellite networks, and accessing extra satellites allows for faster and more accurate positioning as well as offering greater resilience when satellites are obscured in areas such as cities.

Global System for Mobile communication (GSM)

This is the most widely used digital cellular network and the basis for mobile communication such as phone calls and the short message service (SMS).


Geographic Information System.


Gateway GPRS Support Node (see also SGSN).


The process of tagging a photo, video, or other types of media with coordinates, thus marking it with a location.


A dialect of JSON that describes physical places. Features modeled by GeoJSON are points, line strings, polygons, and multipart groups of these types (MultiPoint, MultiLineString, MultiPolygon). Numerous mapping and GIS software packages employ GeoJSON.

Geographic Information System (GIS)

The combination of hardware, software, and data that captures, manages, analyzes, and presents many kinds of geographic data. GIS and location intelligence applications can be the foundation for location-enabled services.


A virtual border applied to a physical space. For example, geofencing might be defined around a nursery, and when a mobile device crosses the nursery boundary, an alert is generated. Geofences may be dynamically created and in a telematics application can encompass entire neighborhoods or cities.

General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)

A wireless communications standard on 2G and 3G cellular networks which supports a number of bandwidths and provides data rates of 56-114 kbps. As cellular companies move to more advanced networks, GPRS networks may be more cost-effective for IoT networks.


A link between two computer systems or programs. This way they can share information with each other. The router for your home Internet is one type of gateway.


Developed by the European Union and Space Agency, Galileo is a global positioning constellation of satellites which is still in development and will be made up of 30 satellites (27 operations and thee active spares).

Hybrid Cloud

A mix of public and private cloud. The distribution of services through private or public channels is decided upon by the users.


Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning systems.


High-Speed Uplink Packet Access.


Enhanced or Evolved High-Speed Packet Access.


High-Speed Packet Access.


High-Speed Downlink Packet Access.


Computers that provide (or host) certain services or resources within a network that other participants within the network can then access and use. Hosts are the hardware basis for servers, as servers are run on hosts. Often times, they are the central point in a company’s data processing process.

Home Energy Management System (HEMS)

Equipment and services that optimize energy use in a residential setting while maintaining comfort. A HEMS includes smart appliances, home gateways, smart meters, and information exchange with local utilities via a smart grid.

Home Energy Management

The process of increasing energy efficiency and savings for residential customers, ideally within a larger smart-grid environment.

Home Automation

The automation of certain activities within a household. This can include automated control of lights, doors, and air conditioning, for example.


Home Location Register.

High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA)

An improvement made to UMTS to enable faster uploading of data from devices, increasing capacity and throughput while reducing delay.

High Speed Packet Access

An improvement made to transfer speeds over 3G technology through the addition of two new protocols; HSDPA and HSUPA. It offers potential downlink speeds of 14 Mbit/s and downlink of 5.76 Mbit/s.

High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA)

This increases the capacity of UMTS/3G bandwidth to allow for faster download speeds for connected devices.


Heterogeneous Network.

Heterogeneous Network (HetNet)

Small cell networks using both macro and small cells. HetNets allow mobile operators to better utilize their data networks’ capacity.


Home Energy Management System.


Home Energy Management.

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Sometimes grouped with refrigeration as HVACR, these systems cover both vehicular and indoor building comfort control.


Hadoop Distributed File System.

Haptic Technology or Haptics

Also referred to as Haptics or “touch feedback,” haptic technology applies tactile sensations to human interactions with machines. The simplest example is the actuator that vibrates a cell phone, but more advanced haptics can detect the pressure applied to a sensor, affecting the response.

Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS)

The primary distributed storage used by Hadoop applications. A HDFS cluster has a NameNode that manages the file system metadata and DataNodes to store the actual data.

Hadoop as a Service (Haas)

The running of Hadoop in the Cloud, requiring no local hardware or IT infrastructure. The service is typically elastic, allowing the adding or removal of nodes depending on user needs.


A Java-based, distributed programming framework for processing large data sets. An application can be broken down into numerous small parts, called fragments or blocks, that can be run on any node in the cluster. Hadoop is free and part of the Apache project, sponsored by the Apache Software Foundation.


Hadoop as a Service.


In-Vehicle Infotainment.


International Telecommunications Union.


Intelligent Transportation System.

ISM Bands

Industrial, Scientific, and Medical Bands.


Interim Standard 95 (standard for CDMA Cellular).


Interim Standard 136 (standard for TDMA Cellular).


A satellite communication constellation that provides global voice and data coverage through its satellite network, operating on the 1618.85 to 1626.5 MHz frequencies.

IPv6 Address

A 128-bit alphanumeric string that identifies an endpoint device in the Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) addressing scheme.


IP addresses serve to identify devices on the Internet. IPv6 is the newest Internet protocol, which provides more addresses than the IPv4 protocol.


Internet Protocol Security. A set of protocols that provide authentication and encryption to Internet Protocol (IP) packets, adding an extra layer of security on IP communications.

IP Devices

All devices within a network which are labeled with an IP address.

IoT Security

Internet of Things security. The area concerned with safeguarding connected devices and networks in the Internet of things).

IoT Healthcare

Also called “connected health,” this encompasses all advancements in the medical industry that relate to M2M communication and remote sensing.

IoT Botnet

Internet of Things botnet. A group of hacked computers, smart appliances, and Internet-connected devices that have been co-opted for illicit purposes.


Internet of Things.


Internet of Everything.

Internet of Things Privacy (IoT Privacy)

The special considerations required to protect the information of individuals from exposure in the IoT environment, where almost any physical or logical entity or object can be given a unique identifier and the ability to communicate autonomously over the Internet or similar network.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet-connected physical devices, in many cases everyday objects (things), that can communicate their status, respond to events, or even act autonomously. This enables communication among those things, closing the gap between the real and the virtual world and creating smarter processes and structures that can support us without needing our attention. IoT has evolved from the convergence of wireless technologies, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), and the Internet.

Internet of Everything (IoE)

A term being promoted by Cisco as a variation or extension of IoT. IoE subtly distinguishes itself by emphasizing the connection of people to things.

Inter-Integrated Circuit (I2C)

I2C, pronounced I-squared-C, is a serial bus that provides communication between sensors and microcontrollers such as the Arduino. In contrast to the full-duplex SPI specification, I2C has a slower data rate, and data can only travel in one direction at a time. Arduino uses 7-bit values to reference I2C addresses, and devices using I2C must use a common ground to communicate.

Intelligent Transportation System (ITS)

The application of advanced information and communications technology to surface transportation for enhanced safety and mobility while reducing environmental impacts. EU Directive 2010/40/EU defines ITS in the context of road transport.

Intelligent Device

Any type of equipment, instrument, or machine that has its own computing capability. As computing technology becomes more advanced and less expensive, it can be built into an increasing number of devices of all kinds. In addition to personal and handheld computers, the almost infinite list of possible intelligent devices includes cars, medical instruments, geological equipment, and home appliances.

Insurance Telematics

Vehicular tracking devices used by automobile insurance companies to alter rates based on driver behavior. Currently, Progressive (Snapshot), Allstate, and others typically track braking and mileage. An excessive number of hard-brakes may indicate risky driving habits, for example.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

An on-demand business model for IT-capacities. Instead of owning IT-infrastructure or server space, you rent it and pay for it on a per-use basis. Those capacities are usually owned, maintained, and provided by a cloud service.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

The ICT Industry provides access to information through telecommunications. The communications technologies can be things like the Internet, VOIP, wireless networks, or mobile phones.

Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU)

A MEMS module which measures angular velocity and linear acceleration using an accelerometer triad and an angular rate sensor triad. Other IMU sensors may include magnetometers and pressure sensors.

Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is a project introduced by the federal government of Germany and refers to the fourth Industrial Revolution. It is a strategy which aims to make better use of current and future IT-capacities in traditional industries. Also see Industrie 4.0.

Industrie 4.0

Invoking a fourth Industrial Revolution, Industrie 4.0 creates intelligent manufacturing networks where decentralized smart factories can communicate and react to each other autonomously. For example, in an Industrie 4.0 factory, self-predictive systems would trigger maintenance processes autonomously and automatically adapt logistics to the resulting changes in production. The term, also known as Industry 4.0, was first used at the Hannover Messe in 2011.

Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) Bands

An unlicensed part of the RF spectrum used for general purpose data communications. In the US, the ISM bands are 915MHz, 2.4 GHz, and 5.5 GHz, whereas 2.4 GHz is the global unlicensed frequency and has increasing amounts of interference.

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

A subdiscipline of IoT, encompassing connected large-scale machinery and industrial systems such as factory-floor monitoring, HVAC, smart lighting, and security. This is M2M communication where, for example, equipment can send real-time information to an application so operators can better understand how efficiently that equipment is running. Also referred to as Industry 4.0, Industrie 4.0, and Industrial IoT.

Industrial Control System (ICS)

Computer hardware and software that monitor and control industrial processes that exist in the physical world, where operator-driven supervisory commands can be pushed to remote station devices. Industries such as electrical, water, oil, and gas are typical ICS users.

In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI)

Systems integrated into automobiles that deliver both entertainment and information content. Typical IVI applications include managing audio, listening to or sending SMS, making voice calls, navigating, and using rear-seat entertainment such as games, movies, games, and social networking. IVI also includes interfacing with smartphone-enabled content such as traffic conditions, sports scores, and weather forecasts.


Inertial Measurement Unit.


International Mobile Subscriber Identifier (used in GSM and CDMA).


International Mobile Equipment Identifier (used in GSM).


Industrial Internet of Things.


Internet Group Management Protocol. This communication protocol is based on the IP protocol and is used to support group communication. IGMP allows for IP-multicasting that enables the transmission of IP packages to many receivers with one transmission, and this is a requirement for technologies such as Internet television.


Initial Graphics Exchange Specification. This is a vendor-neutral, standardized file format used to transfer information between computer-aided design programs. The standard was developed to create a uniform method for exchanging graphical data between the programs.

IEEE 802.11p

Amends wireless access in vehicular environments (WAVE) to the IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi standard. The amendment defines a way to wirelessly exchange data without the need to establish a basic service set (BSS), since links to roadside infrastructure may be available only for a limited amount of time. 802.11p uses channels of 10 MHz bandwidth in the 5.9 GHz band.

IEEE 802.11n

Builds on previous 802.11 standards to use multiple antennas to increase data rates, adding MIMO to the physical layer. The full specification name is 802.11n-2009, which is an amendment to IEEE 802.11-2007.

IEEE 802.11ac

Approved in January 2014, this is a wireless standard for high-throughput wireless local area networks (WLANs) on the 5 GHz band. In contrast to the four MIMO spatial streams in 802.11n, the 802.11ac standard supports eight.

IEEE 802.11

The family of specifications developed by the IEEE for wireless LAN (WLAN) communications, first adopted in 1997. The addition of a letter, such as 802.11b, indicates a particular specification.

Identity of Things (IDoT)

An area that involves assigning unique identifiers with associated metadata to devices and objects (things), enabling them to connect and communicate effectively with other entities over the Internet.


Recognizable attributes that are linked to an object, a person, etc. Those attributes expose the entity and allow for clear identification. If two things have the exact same attributes, they usually have the same identity, and they can’t be distinguished from each other.


Also just ID, this marks objects for clear identification. Identifiers are usually letters, words, symbols, or numbers that can also be used to create a code that reveals a definite identity after it is decoded.


Integrated Circuit Chip Identifier.


A technology introduced by Apple that uses sensors to locate iOS or Android devices indoors and can send them notifications via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). This can be also used in stores or museums to give further information about item nearby.


Infrastructure as a Service.


JavaScript Object Notation.

JavaScript Object Notation (JSON)

Used as a lightweight alternative to XML for organizing data, JSON is text-based and human-readable. The format uses “name : object” pairs to organize the data.

Kevin Ashton

The man who first coined the phrase “Internet of Things” in 1999. Mr. Ashton cofounded MIT’s Auto-ID Center which created a global standard system for RFID.


Long Term Evolution.

Low Power Wireless Sensor Network

A group of spatially distributed, independent devices that collect data by measuring physical or environmental conditions with minimal power consumption.

Low Power Wide Area (LPWA)

These networks are built specifically for M2M communications and offer long-range, low-power consumption. They solve cost and battery-life issues that cellular technology cannot, and LPWA networks solve range issues that technologies like Bluetooth or BLE struggle with.

Low power and Lossy Networks (LLN)

These networks are comprised of embedded devices with limited power, memory, and processing resources. LLNs are typically optimized for energy efficiency, may use IEEE 802.15.4, and can be applied to industrial monitoring, building automation, connected homes, healthcare, environmental monitoring, urban sensor networks, asset tracking, and more.

Long Term Evolution (LTE) / 4G

LTE, often referred to as 4G, is the latest cellular network type, offering superior data transfer speeds than its predecessor, 3G, and it’s part of the GSM upgrade path. Portable devices can now access data at high-speed broadband speeds through LTE. Depending on where in the world you are, LTE may be implemented using different frequency bands. For example, European LTE uses 700/800/900/1800/2600 MHz bands, where North America uses 700/750/800/850/1900/1700/2100(AWS)/2500/2600 MHz.superior data transfer speeds than its predecessor, 3G, and it

Local Area Network (LAN)

A network of devices in relatively close proximity, prior to the point of transmission over leased telecommunication lines. The two most common communications technologies used in LANs are Ethernet and Wi-Fi.


Low power and Lossy Networks.

Link Budget

An accounting of all of the losses in a wireless communication system. In order to “close the link,” enough RF energy has to make it from the transmitter to the receiver. (Losses include antennas, structural attenuation, propagation loss, etc.)

Light-Emitting Diode (LED)

A semiconductor that generates light via electroluminescence. Infrared LEDs can be used for the remote control units of many consumer electronics.


Light-Emitting Diode.


Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol. This is a tunneling protocol used to support virtual private networks (VPNs) or as part of the delivery of services by ISPs. It does not provide any encryption or confidentiality by itself, relying on an encryption protocol that it passes within the tunnel to provide privacy.

Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output (MIMO)

A radio technology using multiple antennas at both the transmitter and receiver to improve communication performance. MIMO is an important part of wireless communication standards such as IEEE 802.11n (Wi-Fi).

Multiple DoF Sensing

A MEMS concept referring to the detection of the combined input along multiple axes using multiple sensing types, such as acceleration and rotation. Typical applications include antenna stabilization, robotics and dead-reckoning.


Machine Type Communications.


Mobile Station ISDN (used in GSM).


Mobile Switching Center.


Mobile Station (cellular radio handset or cellular M2M device).


Message Queue Telemetry Transport.


Short for Remote. A mote is a wireless transceiver that also acts as a remote sensor.


A communication protocol mainly used to connect electronic devices. The Modbus Master (for example, a computer) requests information from the Modbus Slaves (for example, electronic thermometers). Up to 247 Slaves can transmit their information to one Master.

Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO)

A wireless communications provider that leases the infrastructure over which it proves services.

Mobile Network Operator (MNO)

Companies that operate traditional mobile communications networks.


Mobile Network Operator.


Multiple Input, Multiple Output (in the context of antennas).

MicroController Unit (MCU)

A full computer on a single chip. The chip contains a CPU, a clock, non-volatile memory for the program (ROM or flash), volatile memory for input and output (RAM), and an I/O control unit.

Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)

Miniaturized mechanical and electro-mechanical elements, typically used for measurements, such as accelerometers and gyroscopes. Systems-on-a-chip (SoC) technology is used to embed mechanical devices such as fluid sensors, mirrors, actuators, pressure and temperature sensors, and vibration sensors on to semiconductor chips.


Mobile Health. This is the practice of medicine using mobile devices, particularly physiological sensors. Sensors may be enabled to communicate with a user’s mobile phone in a Body Area Network configuration. Related to e-Health.

Message-Oriented Middleware (MOM)

Middleware that allows for synchronous as well as asynchronous (queue) messaging between distributed systems.

Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT)

An open, lightweight M2M communications protocol for the transfer of telemetry messages.

Message Broker

A middleware program that translates a message from the messaging protocol of the sender into the messaging protocol of the receiver. This way a message broker makes it easier for two applications to communicate.

Mesh Networking or Mesh Network Topology

An ad-hoc, local area network infrastructure where the nodes communicate directly with each other without the need to pass through a central structure such as an ISP. The only way to shut down a mesh network is to eliminate every node. One of the most dramatic demonstrations of mesh technology was during the Hong Kong protests in October 2014 where the direct communication between protestors’ devices confounded the government’s ability to block communication. The adaptivity of mesh networks makes them ideal for IoT applications.


Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems.


Mobile Equipment Identifier (used in CDMA).

Media Access Control (MAC)

The “layer 2” in a network that allows the physical medium (radio waves or wire signals) to be organized to pass data back and forth. For low-rate data wireless applications, the MAC has many implications on performance.


A combination of the words “mechanical” and “electronics,” mechatronics brings together electrical engineering, control engineering, computer engineering, and mechanical engineering disciplines. A warehouse inventory robot would be a mechatronic device, whereas an IoT-enabled sensor device, such as a weather station, could be better classified as a Cyber-Physical System (CPS).


Mobile Directory Number (used in CDMA — conceptually similar to the MSISDN in GSM).


MicroController Unit.


A parallel processing model for handling extremely large data sets. First, a Map process runs to reduce a data set to key value pairs (in tuples), and then a second Reduce process combines those pairs into a smaller set of tuples. First introduced by Google, MapReduce is a concept central to Hadoop.

Machine-to-Person (M2P)

Describes the analytics for big data in a human readable form (e.g., dashboards).

Machine-to-Machine (M2M)

A broad term describing technology that allows for one connected device to communicate and exchange information with another connected device, without the assistance of a human.

Machine Type Communications (MTC)

A 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standard describing machine-to-machine communications. With a wide range of potential applications, MTC communications is gaining interest among mobile network operators, equipment vendors, specialist companies, and research bodies.

Machine Data

Also known as machine-generated data, this is digital information created by the activity of computers, mobile phones, embedded systems, and other networked devices.

Machine Authentication

The authorization of an automated human-to-machine or machine-to-machine (M2M) communication through verification of a digital certificate or digital credentials. Unlike user authentication, the process does not involve any action on the part of a human.






Near Field Communication.


Coined for the similarity to “wearables,” this describes items with nearby tracking devices, or beacons, attached to them. Nearables can communicate with smart devices, such as smartphones, to let the user interact with objects in their vicinity.

Near Field Communication (NFC)

Short-range wireless communication between devices, used in applications such as contactless mobile payments, transport ticketing, and phone-as-key. Using NFC, consumers can pay for retail items simply by bringing their mobile phones into the range of the sensor and confirming the transaction. NFC has been overshadowed in IoT applications by other protocols such as BLE.


Software that monitors IT infrastructures. It includes, for example, immediate problem detection.

Operational Technology (OT)

As opposed to Information Technology (IT), this refers to technologies associated with control and automation. If IT helps run business processes, OT helps execute the physical interactions that control value creation.

Open VPN

An open-source software application that implements virtual private network (VPN) techniques for creating secure point-to-point or site-to-site connections in routed or bridged configurations and remote access facilities. This is a security method which can be implemented on devices such as cellular routers.

Open Source

A type of software where the source code is available and can be modified and freely redistributed. Open source is the opposite of closed, proprietary systems. Many developers insist that IoT must have open standards to reach its full potential.

On-Board Equipment (OBE)

Components of a Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) implementation located in a moving vehicle, communicating wirelessly with roadside equipment (RSE). OBE applications may interface with other vehicle systems via the CAN Bus.


On-Board Equipment.

Python Script Interpreter

A tool that lets you run Python code, something which is now being seen embedded directly into devices such as cellular modules.


A widely used open-source programming language that can be implemented in variety of ways, including in embedded applications. There is a large library base which can be used by Python applications, helping minimize code and speed up development time.


Preboot Execution Environment.

Pulse Oximeter

A sensor that measures oxygen saturation in the blood. Saturation of peripheral oxygen, or SpO2, is a measure of hemoglobin saturation and can be measured non-invasively, for example, with a clip on the finger or ear. The sensor typically employs a pair of small LEDs facing a photodiode that measures the amount of light passing through the skin.

Public Cloud

In a public cloud, cloud services are public and made available for everyone.

Private Cloud

A private cloud provides services with cloud characteristics but only within a single organization, for example, one company.

Preboot Execution Environment (PXE)

The ability to manage power over a network connection. A PXE-enabled device can be shut down or restarted via a network connection, allowing for power-hungry devices to be managed remotely.


Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol. This is a method for implementing virtual private networks (VPNs).




Personal Protection Drone.

Power over Ethernet (PoE)

The capability to deliver enough power to operate a device over an Ethernet connection. PoE is useful in certain low-voltage applications, such as passive IP cameras.

Power Distribution Unit (PDU)

A physical device with multiple outlets that connects electrical power to recipient devices. PDUs can be simple, such as a mounted power strip, or more complex by having power filtering, UPS, load balancing, or intelligent monitoring incorporated in the device.


Power over Ethernet.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

A platform that provides web developers with all the infrastructure they need to develop and run an application.

Physical Web, The

Google’s open standard to allow IoT devices to communicate via web addresses. By using HTTP, users can walk up and access any smart device (such as parking meters and vending machines) without the overhead of dedicated mobile apps.

Photoplethysmogram (PPG)

A optically obtained plethysmogram using an LED that measures the output volume of an organ, such as the heart. A photodiode measures the amount of light reflected from the LED, which in a heart monitoring application can be translated into a waveform. Respiration can induce variations in the amplitude of the PPG waveform.

Pervasive Computing

Another term for ubiquitous computing.

Personal Protection Drone (PPD)

A type of drone, or drone swarm, dedicated to an individual’s security. PPDs are non-lethal and may be primarily used to record an encounter or raise an alarm. A use case for a swarm of PPDs may be to hinder the approach of an assailant long enough to facilitate the protected person’s withdrawal.

Personal Emergency Response System (PERS)

A mobile duress panic alarm component of a monitoring system, typically for the residential market. Modern PERS devices go beyond their origins as a mere push button to include MEMS and various other sensors.

Personal Area Network (PAN)

Interconnected devices operating in the range of a single person, typically 10 meters. PANS are mostly or exclusively wireless, making the term basically indistinguishable from Wireless PANs (WPAN). WPAN is based on the IEEE 802.15 standard and does not necessarily require an uplink to the Internet. The PAN concept was first developed by Thomas Zimmerman and others at the M.I.T. Media Lab.


Personal Emergency Response System.

Penetration Testing

A method of evaluating the security of a network or system from internal or external threats. Also called pentests, this is part of a full security audit and typically exploits a combination of weaknesses to gain access and then evaluates the capability of the network’s defenders to detect and respond to the penetration.

Pen Testing or Pentest

Penetration Testing.

Pedestrian Dead Reckoning (PDR)

A method of indoor positioning that uses a last known waypoint, distance, and direction of travel to calculate the current location of a moving person. PDR may be used to supplement other positioning methods such as GPS. Dead reckoning is subject to cumulative errors.


Power Distribution Unit.


Pedestrian Dead Reckoning.


Printed Circuit Board.

Passive Sensor

A device that detects and responds to some type of input from the physical environment.

Part 90 Bands

Small parts of the RF spectrum that are made available in small areas to businesses for data or voice communications. Many smart grid providers use part 90 licenses for their wireless data.


Personal Area Network.

Quantum Sensor

A sensor that takes advantage of quantum correlations to produce measurements beyond what are possible with traditional sensors. Taking advantage of unique behavior of systems at the atomic scale, quantum sensors use wonder materials such as graphene and quantum dots.

Quantified Self

A movement that started in 2007 that uses modern technical advances to gain more insight into one’s own life by collecting data relating to, among other things, health and emotions. This data is then used to improve a person’s lifestyle and state of mind.

Quality of Service (QoS)

Different services that regulate data transfer priorities to identify and control the quality with which a service can be accessed by users. This is especially important if a certain quality (for example, bandwidth) has to be guaranteed to ensure the functionality of a service.


Radio Frequency Identification.

RF Geolocation

A general term that applies to “finding” a radio transceiver with another. GPS is a good example. A good rule to remember is that to do RF geolocation well, you need a large RF bandwidth.

RESTful Web Services

Web services that are realized within the REST architecture are called RESTful Web Services. Also see REST.


Representational State Transfer. An architecture for web standards, especially for the HTTP protocol. It is supposed to simplify the design of network applications compared to, for example, SOAP.

Remote Sensing

The use of various technologies to make observations and measurements at a target that is usually at a distance or on a scale beyond those observable to the naked eye.

Remote Monitoring and Control

The increasingly automated monitoring and control of devices, technologies, or processes. Wireless devices which send information gathered directly to control centers are often used to achieve this.


Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service. RADIUS servers are responsible for receiving user connection requests, authenticating the user, and returning all configuration information necessary for the client to deliver service.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

Generally speaking, this is the use of strong radio waves to “excite” enough current in a small tag to send a radio transmission back. It works over short range and only for small amounts of data.

Radio Frequency (RF)

Radio waves. This term generally means “wireless communication” when referred to in IoT discussions.

System on a Chip (SoC)

A single integrated-circuit technology that contains all the necessary circuits and parts for a complete system. A single microchip in a wearable device, for example, could contain an analog-to-digital converter, memory, logic control, I/O, etc.


Follow on to SX1272 from Semtech, and this part includes frequency coverage for more unlicensed bands worldwide and several modes that increase receive sensitivity.


First-generation long-range wireless transceiver from Semtech, which introduced a new type of PHY layer modulation. This technology dramatically increases the range of sub-GHz RF communications.

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)

An industrial control system typically used for geographically dispersed assets, often scattered over large distances. SCADA is often applied to electrical utilities to monitor substations, transformers, and other electrical assets.

Subscriber Identity Module (SIM)

Provided by the Mobile Network Operator, a SIM contains the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) and the security parameters to authenticate access to the network.

Structure Attenuation

The loss in intensity of radio waves through a medium (like radio waves through a brick wall).


Simple (or Streaming) Text Oriented Message Protocol. It’s similar to HTTP and allows STOMP clients to communicate with most of the message brokers making it language-agnostic.

Steel Collar

Things in the workplace that replace or augment human labor. A “steel-collar workforce” is capable of tirelessly and efficiently performing repetitive tasks or monitoring. Playing off of the terms “blue collar” and “white collar,” the phrase was first coined in the early 1980s referring to a robotic threat to US manufacturing jobs.


Signaling System 7.


Serial Peripheral Interface.


Signal Phase and Timing.

Spaced Repetition

A quantified self-concept designed to increase the brain’s retention of knowledge. Available via apps and cloud-based technologies, spaced repetition operates on the theory that there is an optimum time between memorization drills to maximize retention.

Software-Defined Network (SDN)

An approach to networking that decouples control of information flow from the hardware and gives it to a software controller. This allows for less data to travel wirelessly, making it a potential strategy for IoT networks.

Software as a Service (Saas)

A subscription-based model where a monthly fee is charged for using software, rather than an upfront purchase. SaaS (also spelled SAAS) and cloud computing can give cash-strapped enterprises and startups access to applications such as email and lead management that might otherwise be too expensive to purchase outright.

Social Web of Things

The socialization of the Internet of Things. This is the integration of connected things into our social life. An example would be a TV that not only informs you that your favorite TV show is on in an hour, but also lets you know which of your friends like the show too so you can meet up and watch together.


System on a Chip.


Simple Object Access Protocol.


Short Message Service Center.


Short Message Service.


Short Message Center.


A wristwatch, generally with a display, that interacts with the wearer and can communicate with a network wirelessly (the device may have a USB connection for charging and other functions). Many smartwatches have MEMS and physiological sensors, such as ECG and skin temperature thermometers.

Smart Meter

An electronic device that measures and displays resource consumption (of water, gas, electricity, etc.) and communicates this information to the resource distributors and managers (such as utilities and municipalities) and even to consumers. This allows for a more efficient distribution, usage, pricing, and control of these resources.

Smart Home

The networking of household devices and systems through information and communication technology. This way, processes within a home can be monitored and controlled automatically to optimize quality of life, costs, security, and environmental impact. Related to Connected Home.

Smart Grid

A general term referring to the application of networking capabilities and computer systems to the electric grid. A smart grid would include smart meters at the point of delivery, allowing for real time monitoring of usage and the adjustment of power settings on some appliances.

Smart Cities

A concept that tries to create a more intelligent city infrastructure by using modern information and communication technologies. Smart cities propose a more flexible adaptation to certain circumstances, more efficient use of resources, higher quality of life, more fluid transportation, and more. This may be achieved through networking and integrated information exchange between humans and things.

Smart Car

An automobile that uses technology to support the driver and create a safer traffic environment. Different systems (inside and outside of the car) are connected and communicate with each other to allow intelligent intervention in dangerous situations and more fluid traffic.

Smart Buildings

Buildings that try to minimize costs and environmental impact. This is achieved by connected systems and efficient use of energy through new, automated technology that intelligently responds to certain circumstances (available solar energy, temperature inside the building, etc.).


SubMiniature version A. A type of connector commonly used with antenna, giving you male and female coaxial cable connectors that connect with a screw head.

Single Board Computer (SBC)

A complete, functioning computer with all functions (I/O, processor, memory) located on one board. Popularized by the Raspberry Pi system, SBCs are constructed in direct contrast to traditional motherboards with plug-in cards for functions like graphics and Ethernet.


Subscriber Identity Module. A piece of hardware (the “smart card”) containing account information for a user on a GSM network. The SIM is inserted into a SIM holder in GSM cellular devices.

Signal Phase and Timing (SPaT)

Refers to communications associated with the operations of signalized intersections. The major components associated with a SPaT application are roadside equipment (RSE) and onboard equipment (OBE). A SPaT-formatted message can be used to convey the current status of a signal at an intersection.


A low-bandwidth, wireless protocol that offers excellent range and obstacle penetration for short messages, giving a new low-powered and cost-effective wireless transmission medium for IoT and M2M technologies.

Shock Sensing

A MEMS concept referring to the detection of sudden impacts at a predetermined level. Typical applications include shut-off sensing, condition monitoring, and tap detection for data entry.


Serving GPRS Support Node (see also GGSN).

Serial Port Profile (SPP)

A hardware profile used with Bluetooth applications that includes custom AT commands and functionality dedicated to wireless data connections and serial cable replacement.

Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI)

A specification developed by Motorola for use in short distance communication between sensors and microcontrollers such as Arduino. In contrast to the I2C specification, the full-duplex SPI runs at a higher data rate and is appropriate for applications such as Ethernet and memory cards.

Sensor Hub

A technology that connects sensor data and processes them. This way the hub does part of a processors data-processing job.

Sensor Fusion

The process of combining and processing the raw data coming out of multiple sensors to generate usable information. For example, because of the quantity of sensors, a NASA un-crewed vehicle on Mars requires sensor fusion to detect if there has been a failure.

Sensor Analytics

Statistical analysis of data that is created by wired or wireless sensors.


A device used to measure a specific characteristic of the surrounding environment, such as temperature. The use of sensors and actuators to connect things to the physical world is a key component of IoT. A properly implemented sensor ideally should be sensitive only to the characteristic being measured and should not interfere with what’s being measured nor be influenced by other characteristics.


Standards Development Organization.


Software-Defined Networking.


Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition.


Single Board Computer.


Software as a Service.

TV Whitespace

A new FCC program that makes unused TV station bands available for temporary and controlled use in a small geographic area. This is used mostly by rural Internet service providers and wireless microphone providers.

Transparent Computing

A characteristic of ubiquitous computing where smart devices respond to users’ needs in the background. The devices are invisible (“transparent”) in the sense that they operate without the conscious thought or interaction of the user who is benefiting from the object or Thing.

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)

The core standard protocol for Internet-based communications. Some wireless systems “break” TCP/IP in order to lower the overhead of the on-air signals.


Short for transmitter-receiver. A transceiver both transmits and receives analog or digital signals. A transceiver is normally built into a network interface card.

Tilt Sensing

A MEMS concept referring to the measurement of the inclination or angle of change with respect to gravity. Typical applications include industrial equipment platform stabilization and landscape/portrait detection on handheld devices.


A simplified IPv6-based mesh networking protocol geared to the smart home vertical. Developed on low-cost 802.15.4 chipsets, Thread is designed for extremely low power consumption.



Things as a Service (TaaS)

The concept of delivering IoT functionality without the end user having to operate or maintain extensive hardware. For example, services such as Hadoop can be delivered in the cloud to receive and process the data generated by IoT-enabled sensor networks.


A platform for managing real-world Things and their digital representations.


Something with an embedded system and an Internet connection that has been co-opted by a hacker to become part of a botnet of networked things.

Thing, in the Internet of Things

An entity or physical object that has a unique identifier, an embedded system, and the ability to transfer data over a network.


Terrestrial Trunked Radio. This operates as a two-way transceiver and is popularly used by the emergency services as well as on transport such as rail and on marine vessels. It operates on low frequencies split over 4 channels (ranging between 380 and 400 MHz for emergency services and higher for civilian use). The use of low frequencies allows for far greater transmission distances but lower data transfer rates.


An IT concept regarding the long-distance transmission of data. In vehicles on the move, telematics refers to the integrated use of telecommunications and informatics, such as dashboard screens that show the vehicles current position on a map or in centralized tracking applications.


Time Division Multiple Access.


Things as a Service.

Usage-Based Insurance (UBI)

Also called Pay as You Drive (PAYD), UBI bases the insurance rate on pre-defined variables including distance, behavior, time, and place. The data gathering and telematics can be provided by a “black box” in the vehicle, a dongle-type device, or even a smartphone.


Notified as UL or U/L, this is the process of sending data from your device/computer to a server or target address. In a cellular network, this would be seen as data being sent from a mobile handset to a cellular base station.

Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS)

Also referred to as 3G cellular technology, this is the third iteration of the GSM. It achieves improved data transfer speeds over 2G by adding additional higher frequency bands (2100MHz).

Universal Authentication

A network identity-verification method that allows users to move from site to site securely without having to enter identifying information multiple times.

Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter (UART)

A microchip controlling a computer’s interface to serial devices, converting the bytes it receives from the computer along parallel circuits into a single serial bit stream. A 16550 UART has a 16-byte buffer.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

A particular type of URI that targets web pages so that when a browser requests them, they can be found and served to users.

Uniform Resource Identifier (URI)

The unique identifier that makes content addressable on the Internet by uniquely targeting items, such as text, video, images, and applications.


Universal Mobile Telecommunications System.

Ultra-Wide Band

A “spark gap” transmitter that emits a very weak, very wide (in frequency) pulse of RF energy. This signal is used mostly for localizing signals. Wide signal bandwidths are good for measuring distance.

Ubiquitous Computing

The concept of embedding microprocessors in everyday things so they can communicate information continuously. Ubiquitous devices are expected to be constantly connected. Utility smart meters are an example of ubiquitous computing, replacing manual meter-readers with devices that can report usage and modify power settings on ubiquitous appliances.


Usage-Based Insurance.


Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter.


Video Surveillance as a Service.


Video Motion Detection.


Visited Location Register.

Virtual Sensor

These sensors use data to gather information that would not be measurable by a single device. This way they can attain information that can’t be measured directly.

Virtual Power Plant (VPP)

In a virtual power plant, different, decentralized power generating plants are connected and are monitored and controlled from a single control center. This way, virtual power plants can integrate smaller energy providers

Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS)

A managed data service that transfers the monitoring and storage of video to the cloud. VCaaS streamlines security operations by centralizing IT and requires no capital investment in servers but has heavy bandwidth requirements.

Video Motion Detection (VMD)

A technology that analyzes image data and the differences in a series of images. VMD makes event-driven video surveillance possible, but the potential for false positives creates challenges in storage and alarm verification.

Vibration Sensing

A MEMS concept referring to the detection of periodic acceleration and deceleration. Typical applications include structural health monitoring, acoustic event triggering, and seismic equipment.

Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication (V2V Communication)

The wireless transmission of data between motor vehicles.

Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V)

Using a region of the 5.9 GHz band, V2V systems allow vehicles to communicate with each other and with roadside stations. Networks of vehicles can help avoid congestion, find better routes, and aid law enforcement.

Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I)

The communication of smart cars and commercial vehicles with surrounding sensors, such as signal phase and timing (SPaT) information.


A shorthand to combine Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V), Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I), and Vehicle-to-Anything.






A contraction of wristband and desktop, a wristop computer refers to a wearable that goes on the wrist, such as a smartwatch.

Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments (WAVE)

The IEEE 802.11p standard required to support Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) applications. ITS applications include data exchange between moving vehicles and between vehicle and ITS-enabled roadside infrastructure.


Wireless Fidelity. This is a common form of local area network which operates on the 2.4 GHz band. Its popularity has led to a wide variety of devices to become Wi-Fi enabled, including smartphones, cameras, vehicles, and household appliances. Wi-Fi can be embedded into a device through designing in a Wi-Fi module.

Wearables or Wearable Technology

These are technologies or computers integrated into articles of clothing or accessories that can be worn. Often, the wearble tech is used to quantify a physical process (such as heartbeat monitoring) or to augment human capabilities. Wearables may also be used to control external things, for example, with gestures. Because of the impracticality of wires to transmit sensor data, wearables are almost universally wireless, using a variety of communication protocols such as BLE. Examples include smartwatches, fitness bands, and Google Glasses.


Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments.


Wide Area Network.


Small range wireless networking protocol that primarily operates on the 2.4 GHz frequency spectrum. ZigBee devices connect in a mesh topology, forwarding messages from controlling nodes to slaves, which repeat commands to other connected nodes. Due to its low power consumption and low data rate, ZigBee has been used in applications such as traffic management, wireless light switches, and industrial device monitoring.


Wireless communication technology used in security systems and also business and home automation.