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A Glossary for the IoT

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A Glossary for the IoT

Brush up on your IoT terminology with this guide, which walks through some basic definitions to build up to more complex ideas and terms.

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This is Internet of Things guide describes common terms and meanings used in IoT. The Internet of Things is a relatively new topic and one of the most disruptive technologies out there. It is important to know the meanings of the words and phrases that stand at the base of this new revolution.

Below is a list of words used in the Internet of Things:

Internet of Things (IoT): The first time the term Internet of Things was officially recognized was in 2005, when the ITU Internet Reports 2005 talked about it. The Internet of Things is an ecosystem where objects are connected together to exchange data. The system's complexity doesn't matter. The important aspect that identifies an object is its capability to connect to the network and exchange information.

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): We define the IIoT as the Internet of Things as applied to industrial systems. IIoT is a set of technologies and strategies derived from IoT and applied to industrial production systems. For example, IIoT can be used to monitor a production system so that we assure higher quality levels. IIoT promises to have a large impact on production systems. The idea that stands behind IIoT is using smart machines with sensors to improve the product quality and the efficiency. An important aspect is represented by Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology.

IoT wiki

Device: A device is a smart object that can connect to the Internet. This is the small brick in the Internet of Things ecosystem. This ecosystem is built by thousands of interconnected devices. A device can be, for example, a sensor connected to the Internet or a wearable that we use nowadays to monitor our health. Moreover, an object can be a simple home appliance that connects to the Internet or a sensor we use to monitor a physical property.

IoT platform: This is an important component in the IoT ecosystem. An IoT platform provides several services and is the glue between the devices and the data stored in the cloud. An IoT platform provides several services like:

  • Data storage. The information sent by sensors is stored in the cloud and used later.
  • Connectivity services: Several devices can be connected to an IoT platform using several protocols (MQTT, HTTP, CoAP, and so on)
  • Data analytics: A set of services that uses stored data for purposes ranging from a simple service to machine learning and so on.
  • Data visualization: Visualization provides several ways to represent data using charts.

IoT gateway: A gateway is, conceptually, an object that connects several devices to the cloud. Devices can be placed in different areas and, instead of connecting directly to the cloud, they use a gateway to connect to it. A gateway can provide protocol translation features. For example, a gateway connects to the devices using a low power protocol and sends and receives data from the cloud using a different protocol. Moreover, a gateway can enforce security, providing an encryption mechanism.

IoT board: A board is an MCU (microcontroller unit) that provides set a set of features to connect sensors, actuators, and so on. Usually, they can connect to the Internet natively or we can add a shield on top to extend their features. For example, Arduino boards are widely used in IoT prototyping. There are boards with different features and specifications and we have to select the right one according to our needs and use case.

Machine-to-Machine: Machine-to-Machine (known as M2M) is a set of protocols and techniques used to make machines talk to each other. This is IoT branch is widely used in the Industrial Internet of Things. It focuses its attention on the ways we can make machines exchange data without human interaction.

MQTT: MQTT is an emerging protocol widely used in IoT. We have discussed it several times on this blog. It is a lightweight, message-oriented protocol. It decouples the sender of the information from the receiver using a broker that behaves as a message router. If you want to know more about it, delve into MQTT. Find out more about IoT protocols.

LoRaWAN: The LoRa Alliance maintains a protocol called LoRaWAN t— Low Power Wide Area Newtork â€” built for the Internet of Things. It enables interoperability without using complex systems. LoRa uses a star network topology based on gateways that permit message flow from devices to the central server. While the gateways are connected using standard IP connections, the devices use a single-hop wireless network to connect to the gateways. The connection between the devices and the gateways take place using different frequency channels and data rates. For more information, read the LoRaWAN official documentation.

SigFox: A company that has created a proprietary network that connects objects using a low power network. Nowadays, this network is gaining momentum and it is getting widespread. It uses the ISM (Industrial Scientific Medical) radio band. The ultra narrow-band waves pass through solid objects using low power. Find out more about SigFox.

At the end of this post, you hopefully know new IoT terms that can be useful to understanding the Internet of Things.

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Published at DZone with permission of Francesco Azzola, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.


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