Resources Centre



3G (Third Generation) – Mobile communications technology which among others includes the UMTS standard.

4G (Fourth Generation) – Mobile communications that goes beyond 3G and is mainly meant for ultra-broadband Internet connection with speeds of 100 megabit per second to mobile users.

5G (Fifth Generation) – 5G is the fifth generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks, which cellular phone companies began deploying worldwide in 2019, and is the planned successor to the 4G networks which provide connectivity to most current phones. 5G networks are predicted to have more than 1.7 billion subscribers worldwide by 2025, according to the GSM Association.

6LoWPAN – A communication protocol which compresses Ipv6 packages for small, low powered devices enabling them to communicate within the IoT.


Actuator – Actuators transform electrical signals (energy, usually transported by air, electric current, or liquid) into different forms of energy such as motion or pressure. This is the opposite of what sensors do, which is to capture physical characteristics and transform them into electrical signals.

Address of Device – An address is used for locating and accessing – “talking to” – a device, a resource or a service. In some cases, the ID and the address can be the same, but conceptually they are different.

API (Application Programming Interface) – One way for an application to present itself to another, typically remote, so that they can interact with it (for example, to read or write data to it). Often used as another term for a Web Service. Also refer to Open API.

Architecture – The fundamental organisation of a system embodied in its components, their relationships to each other and to the environment, and the principles guiding its design and evolution.

ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) – A communication protocol that is used to convert an IP-address into a physical address. With this ability computers can communicate with each other, despite only knowing each other’s IP addresses, by sending an ARP request which informs them about the other computer’s MAC address.


Big Data – Describes the always-growing sums of data, as well as the problems that come with processing a massive flood of information.

Body Area Network (BAN) – Body Area Network, also referred to as a Wireless Body Area Network (WBAN) or a Body Sensor Network (BSN), is a wireless network of wearable computing devices. BAN devices may be embedded inside the body, implants, or may be surface-mounted on the body in a fixed position, wearable technology, or may be accompanied devices which humans can carry in different positions, in clothes pockets, by hand or in various bags.

BTLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) – BTLE (Bluetooth 4.0) is a lower-energy consumption version of Bluetooth wireless communications standard, which runs constantly, announcing a device’s presence to local sensors and optimising battery life for the device in question. In IoT, BLE allows for precise location and feature tracking without reduced battery life.

Brownfield – An IT environment in which there are existing systems to be considered when implementing any new solutions.

Business Logic – The code in an application that processes and executes the functional requirements of the application. Typically sits between any data stores and the end-user experience. In IoT, the end user maybe another system.


Cellular Network – A radio network distributed over land through cells where each cell includes a fixed-location transceiver known as a base station. These cells together provide radio coverage over larger geographical areas. User equipment (UE), such as mobile phones, is therefore able to communicate even if the equipment is moving across cells during transmission.

Cloud – Highly scalable computer storage and memory capabilities located in a data centre that enables flexible and rapid scale-up and scale-down of application resources. Cloud services can be public, private or a hybrid.

Cloud Communication – Communication services being provided by third parties which can be accessed and used through the internet.

Connected Home – Where items within the home such as utilities are connected to the internet in order to derive greater value and benefit for the home owner(s) or product/service providers.

Connectivity – A generic term for connecting devices to each other in order to transfer data back and forth. It often refers to network connections, which embraces bridges, routers, switches and gateways as well as backbone networks. It may also refer to connecting a home or office to the internet or connecting a digital camera to a computer or printer. There are many methods in the world today. Some examples can be found in the glossary, look for Ethernet, 3G, 4G, LTE, BTLE, EnOcean, GSM, LTE, NFC, WiFi, Zigbee.

Controller – Anything that has the capability to affect a physical entity, like changing its state or moving it.

Credential – A record that contains the authentication information (credentials) required to connect to a resource. Most credentials contain a user name and password.


Data Centre – A data centre is a location where most of the computer systems and the computing power of companies, or other large entities, are bundled.

Device – Technical physical component (hardware) with communication capabilities to other IT systems. A device can be either attached, embedded inside a physical entity, or monitor a physical entity in its vicinity.

Device Discovery – The process of discovering devices within a network from the seed devices.

Discovery – Discovery is a mechanism that will enable an application to access the IoT data without the need to know the actual source of data, sensor description, or location.

Domain Model – A domain model describes objects belonging to a particular area of interest. The domain model also defines attributes of those objects, such as name and identifier. The domain model defines relationships between objects such as instruments produce data sets. Domain models help to facilitate correlative use and exchange of data between domains.


Eccobee – A Canadian company that made the world’s fi rst WiFi-connected thermostat, only to spend the past three years watching the world fawn over its competitor Nest’s futuristic design. Co-leader in the WiFi thermostat market, they are now broadening solutions for the commercial HVAC space. Their smart thermostat should be now an IoT hub because it can connect to multiple sensors in a building.

Ecosystem (IoT) – Refers to the multi-layers that go from devices on the edge to the middleware. The data is transported to a place that has applications that can do the processing and analytics.

Edge Computing – A method of optimising cloud computing systems by performing data processing at the edge of the network, near the source of the data. Edge computing pushes applications, data and computing power (services) away from centralised points to the logical extremes of a network.

Edge Device – A type of networking device that connects an internal local area network (LAN) with an external wide area network (WAN) or the Internet.

Edge of IoT – The edge of the IoT includes a wide array of sensors, actuators, and devices – those system end-points that interact with and communicate real-time data from smart products and services.

eDiscovery – The collection, identification, archiving, and delivery of Electronically Stored Information (ESI) requested by legal teams and courts as part of an investigation, litigation, audit, industry compliance or other activity.

Embedded Computing / Systems – A term for computing that is dedicated to a single purpose, as opposed to general purpose computing. Embedded computer systems are special purpose and contain only the software and hardware needed to achieve those ends. In IoT, many systems are developed for specific purposes and made to work in concert with other systems.

Energy-Harvesting Technologies – This (also known as power harvesting or energy scavenging) is the process by which energy is derived from external sources (e.g. solar power, thermal energy, wind energy, salinity gradients, and kinetic energy), captured, and stored. Frequently, this term is applied when speaking about small, wireless autonomous devices, like those used in wearable electronics and wireless sensor networks. Traditionally, electrical power has been generated in large, centralised plants powered by fossil fuels, nuclear fission or flowing water. Large scale ambient energy, such as sun, wind and tides, is widely available but technologies do not exist to capture it with great efficiency. Energy harvesters currently does not produce sufficient energy to perform mechanical work, but instead provides very small amount of power for powering low-energy electronics. While the input fuel to large scale generation costs money (oil, coal, etc.), the ‘fuel’ for energy harvesters is naturally present and is therefore considered free. For example, temperature gradients exist from the operation of a combustion engine and in urban areas, there is also a large amount of electromagnetic energy in the environment because of radio and television broadcasting.

EnOcean – An energy harvesting wireless technology used primarily in building automation systems, and is also applied to other applications in industry, transportation, logistics and smart homes.


Fog Computing – Describes an approach where compared with Cloud Computing, IT performances are performed at the edge of the network, thus creating user proximity. This leads to lower service latency and denser geographical distribution. This is a CISCO term equivalent to Edge computing.


Gateway – A network device or software run on a computer in the network that can communicate with other networks, even if these use a different protocol. Offering the ability to share information.

Geotagging – The process of tagging a photo, video or other types of media with coordinates such as marking its location.

Global Storage – Storage that contains global information about many entities of interest. Access to the global storage is available over the Internet.

GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) – The most widely used digital cellular network and the basis for mobile communication such as phone calls and the short message service (SMS).


Haystack (Project Haystack) – An open source initiative to streamline working with data from the Internet of Things. We standardise semantic data models and web services with the goal of making it easier to unlock value from the vast quantity of data being generated by the smart devices that permeate our homes, buildings, factories, and cities. Applications include automation, control, energy, HVAC, lighting, and other environmental systems. Haystack creates a data tag and definition that all the parties in the Haystack community agree on.

Hosts – Computers that provide (host) certain services or resources within a network, which other participants within the network can then access and use.

Hybrid Cloud – A mix of public and private cloud.


IAAS (Infrastructure As A Service) – Refers to an on-demand business model for IT capacities. Instead of owning an 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. These are specific services that are essential for any IoT implementation to work properly. Such services provide support for essential features of the IoT.

Identity – Consists of recognisable properties 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 because they can’t be distinguished from each other.

Industrial Internet – A term introduced by General Electric (GE) and stands for the convergence of machinery and smart data. It allows for constant and real time adjustments.

Internet 4.0 – Used to describe the Internet of Things also stated as Ambient Internet.

Internet of Everything – A term defined by Cisco Systems and basically means applying the IoT to everything, thus creating new capacities and smart processes in virtually every fi eld we can think of. Cisco calls it the connection of “people, process, data and things”.

Interoperability – The term describes a system’s ability to share information and services with another system ideally based upon common standards. Much of the success of the IoT relies on the ability of connected devices to operate seamlessly and effectively together.

IoT (Internet of Things) – A development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data. A state in which physical objects (things) having embedded technology to sense and communicate, being connected via an identifier such as a micro-chip/SIM. This will serve the 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. It can be compared with the digital connection on the internet.

IoT Service – Software component enabling interaction with resources through a well-defined interface. Can be orchestrated together with non-IoT services (e.g. enterprise services). Interaction with the service is done via the network.

IP (Internet Protocol) – One of the most fundamental protocols used for data communication on the Internet. Any device utilising Internet Protocol can be referred to as an IP Device.

IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6) – A new version of IP, where the addresses are made up of 128 bits and the number of addresses possible is huge.


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Local Storage – Special type of electronic data storage that contains information about one or only a few entities in the vicinity of a device.

Location Technologies – Location technologies like Global Positioning Systems (GPS) work to establish and communicate the location of a device to sensors around it. In the IoT, this capability serves to position a device or user within a system.

Low-Power Radio Network – A network with limited range that enables smart objects to communicate with each other wirelessly; also referred to as Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN). The standard IEEE 802.15.4, Bluetooth is another example of a low-power radio standard.

Low Power Wireless Network – Low power wireless network or 6LoWPAN concept originated from the idea that ‘the Internet Protocol could and should be applied even to the smallest devices, and that low-power devices with limited processing capabilities should be able to participate in the IoT’. The 6LoWPAN group has defined encapsulation and header compression mechanisms that allow IPv6 packets to be sent and received over IEEE 802.15.4 networks. IPv4 and IPv6 are the work-horses for data delivery for local-area networks, metropolitan-area networks, and wide-area networks such as the Internet. Likewise, IEEE 802.15.4 devices provide sensing communication-ability in the wireless domain. The inherent natures of the two networks are, however, different.

LoRa Protocol (LoRaWAN) – A LPWAN specification deployed internally to enable IoT and M2M, intended for carrier networks of wireless, battery-operated things.

LTE (Long Term Evolution) – A mobile cellular standard that provides faster Down- and Upload speeds. Despite being marketed as a fourth generation standard it does not fulfil all of the technical requirements.


M2M (Machine to Machine) – A typically closed network of devices in which they can communicate with one another and/ or other control systems located on the same network.

Machine Learning – An application of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it learn for themselves.

Machine Learning Algorithm – A mathematical model of data analysis that automates analytical model building. Using algorithms that iteratively learn from data, machine learning allows computers to find hidden insights without being explicitly programmed where to look.

Message Queueing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) – A lightweight messaging protocol for small sensors and mobile devices. Useful for connections with remote locations where a small code footprint is required.

Microcontroller – A small computer on a single integrated circuit containing a processor core, memory, and programmable input/output peripherals. Program memory in the form of NOR fl ash or OTP ROM is also often included on-chip, as well as a typically small amount of RAM. Microcontrollers are designed for embedded applications, in contrast to the microprocessors used in personal computers or other general purpose applications. Microcontrollers are used in automatically controlled products and devices, such as automobile engine control systems, implantable medical devices, remote controls, office machines, appliances, power tools, and toys. By reducing the size and cost compared with a design that uses a separate microprocessor, memory, and input/output devices, microcontrollers make it economical to control digitally even more devices and processes. Mixed signal microcontrollers are common, integrating analogue components needed to control non-digital electronic systems.

Modbus – A communication protocol that is 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.


Nest – The Nest Learning Thermostat represents Google’s first foray into the automated home market. Through regular use, the Nest learns your schedule, programs itself, and can be controlled from your phone, lowering heating and cooling bills by up to 20 percent.

NFC (Near Field Communication) – A set of wireless technologies which allows for simple and contactless exchange of data within very close distance.

Node – A connection point, a redistribution point or a communication endpoint. The definition depends on the network and the protocol layer referred to. A network node is an active electronic device that is attached to a network and is capable of creating, receiving or transmitting information over a communications channel.


Object – A ‘thing’ in IoT (in contrast to the digital and network connection shared between these systems). This could be household appliances, wearable technology, security systems or other connected devices. Refer to Thing.

Observer – Anything that has the capability to monitor a physical entity, like its state or location.

Open API – A publicly available application programming interface that provides developers with programmatic access to a proprietary software application or web service.

Open Source – Code freely available for anyone to modify and redistribute. This stands in contrast to a proprietary system. Readily available Open Source software is fuelling a great deal of advancement in the IoT, as developers from all walks of life try their hand at innovation.


Personal Area Network (PAN) – The interconnection of information technology devices within the range of an individual person, typically within a range of 10 meters. For example, a person traveling with a laptop, a personal digital assistant (PDA), and a portable printer could interconnect them without having to plug anything in, using some form of wireless technology. Typically, this kind of personal area network could also be interconnected without wires to the Internet or other networks.

Pervasive Computing – Pervasive computing (also called ubiquitous computing) is the growing trend towards embedding microprocessors in everyday objects so they can communicate information. Such computing devices are completely connected and constantly available.

Pervasive Sensing – The ubiquitous capabilities in sensing device activity or condition changes: regarded as essential in IoT, often applied to the sensing of human activity by a system.

Platform As A Service (PAAS) – Cloud service platform which provides web developers with all the infrastructure they need to develop and run an application.

Power over Ethernet (PoE) – Technology for wired Ethernet LANs (local area networks) that allows the electrical current necessary for the operation of each device to be carried by the data cables rather than by power cords. Doing so minimises the number of wires that must be strung in order to install the network.

Power over WiFi (PoWiFi) – Technology that can convert signals sent by wireless routers into direct current. A continuous stream of low power signals can be harvested from inactive WiFi hotspots.


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Remote Monitoring and Control – Automated monitoring and control of devices, technologies and or processes.

Representational State Transfer (REST) – An architecture for web standards, especially for the HTTP protocol. It is supposed to simplify the design of network applications compared with, for example, SOAP. An architecture for representing entities exposed by a Web Service in order to interact with them (Create, Read, Write, Delete). Has become very popular as a more efficient alternative to traditional SOAP Web Services.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) – The use of electromagnetic or inductive coupling in the radio frequency portion of the spectrum to communicate to or from a tag through a variety of modulation and encoding schemes uniquely to read the identity of an RFQ Tag. A method to identify objects (including humans) through electromagnetic waves without actual physical contact. This way, data can be gathered more easily. An object or creature is equipped with a transponder which transmits data to an electronic reader. Other than, for example, barcodes, the information can be read without a line of sight and in some cases operating distance can be over a kilometre.


Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) – A computer system which gathers real-time data to monitor and control systems or processes.

Sensor – To determine certain physical or chemical characteristics and transform them into an electrical signal to make them digitally process able. Sensors form the backbone of the IoT, helping to bridge the gap between digital and physical.

Sensor Hub – A technology which connects sensor data and processes it. The hub does part of a data-processing job.

Single Sign-On – Ability to enter a name and password only once to get to several password protected systems in one working period. Once the user has logged in, a central network application grants access to all the resources to which the user is entitled.

Smart Buildings – Buildings designed and equipped to try to minimise 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.)

Smart Cities – A concept that tries to create a more intelligent city infrastructure by using modern information and communication technologies. Smart cities are about a more flexible adaptation to certain circumstances, more efficient use of resources, improved quality of life, fluent transportation and more. This will be achieved through networking and integrated information exchange between humans and things.

Smart Grids – Grids which coordinate energy use and distribution. This enhances efficiency and becomes more and more important because of renewable energies which are not always as reliable as other forms of energy.

Smart Home – Refers to the networking of household devices and systems through information and communication technology. This way, processes within a household can be monitored and controlled automatically to optimise quality of life, costs, security and environmental impact.

Smart Meters – Electronic devices which measure and display resource consumption (of water, gas, electricity, etc.) and communicate this information to third parties (mainly control systems). This allows for a more efficient distribution, usage and control of these resources.

Software as a Service (SaaS) – Software delivered to the user and updated via the internet. Typically enabled by a cloud service that hosts the software. Often there is no software installed on the user’s device but it is accessed via a web browser. Although this is not a requirement of SaaS, for example, Adobe and Microsoft both deliver applications that are installed on the user’s device through a SaaS model.


Tag – A label or other object used to identify the physical entity to which it is attached.

Thing – In the phrase ‘IoT’, the word ‘thing’ denotes a physical entity (in contrast to the digital and network connection shared between these systems). This could be household appliances, wearable technology, security systems, or other connected/connectable devices.


Unconstrained Network – A network of devices with no restriction on capabilities such as storage, computing power, and/or transfer rate.


Virtual Entity – Computational or data element representing a physical entity. Virtual entities can be either active or passive.


Wearable Technology (aka Wearable Tech) – Technologies or computers integrated into articles of clothing or accessories. The most prominent example, the Apple watch. Wearable technology, like the Jawbone Up and Fitbit activity trackers are the main focus areas of the IoT. Devices like these often work by gamifying real-life tasks, bringing people into the device’s ecosystem, and generating data that can be analysed to improve products and lifestyles.

Wireless Communication Technologies – The transfer of information over a distance without the use of enhanced electrical conductors or ‘wires’. The distances involved may be short (a few meters as in television remote control) or long (thousands or millions of kilometres for radio communications). When the context is clear, the term is often shortened to ‘wireless’. Wireless communication is generally considered to be a branch of telecommunications.

Wireless Sensors And Actuators Network (WSAN) – Networks of nodes that sense and potentially control their environment. They communicate the information through wireless links enabling interaction between people or computers and the surrounding environment.


No terms yet!


No terms yet!


ZigBee – A low-power radio protocol for small amounts of data, based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard. It has low power consumption, a range of about a 100 meters and a bandwidth of 250 kbps. IoT staples like the Nest thermostat and Hue light bulb both use Zigbee chips.

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