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Quick glossary: Internet of Things

Originally Published:
Jul 2016

To comprehend the true power of what we are creating with the Internet of Things, we'd better take a few moments to understand some of the technical terms involved.

From the glossary:

When history is written sometime in the distant future, the Internet of Things (IoT) could very well be designated as the technological culmination of the Information Age. By combining technologies ranging from simple sensors to super computers crunching big data results, the IoT changes the way we work, play, interact, and measure whatever reality we choose to create from this point forward.

But to comprehend the true power of what we are creating, we should become familiar with at least some of the terms involved in IoT. This list of 27 concepts and technologies will help you grasp the vocabulary behind the Internet of Things and the ideas supporting an interconnected, all-things-networked world.

Ambient intelligence
The ability of gadgets, sensors, vehicles, and other IoT devices to recognize and respond to the presence of human beings. An example would be the ability of your IoT home to recognize your vehicle’s proximity and open your garage door automatically.

Artificial intelligence
A branch of computer science research with the stated goal of enabling computer systems to approximate human behavior and decision making based on environmental inputs.

Big data
Large data sets that are difficult to fully analyze without employing sophisticated algorithms to search for hidden patterns, trends, and correlations. In general, the IoT produces nothing but big data, and deriving any valuable information for decision making from IoT requires some form of artificial intelligence or machine learning processing.

Bluetooth
A short-range wireless connectivity standard that enables communication between devices over short distances. The approximate maximum distance between Bluetooth devices is 30 meters.

Cloud manufacturing
A paradigm that transforms traditional manufacturing resources and capabilities into manufacturing services. The concept is similar to software-as-a-service but applies to manufacturing. The concept is made possible by cloud computing, communication networks, and the IoT.

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