How to Speak the Language of the IIoT

IIC releases Industrial Internet Vocabulary Technical Report v2.0.

(Image courtesy of the Industrial Internet Consortium.)

(Image courtesy of the Industrial Internet Consortium.)

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), like any other engineering topic, has been populated with its fair share of jargon. For example, even the term “Industrial Internet” can be esoteric to anyone not directly involved in IIoT, and IIoT engineers themselves may have slightly different definitions than their peers.

To address this issue, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has released an update of its Industrial Internet Vocabulary Technical Report, v2.0. A collaborative effort from members of the IIC’s Vocabulary Task Force, the Vocabulary Technical Report amounts to a glossary of commonly used IIoT terms. As such, this document serves to ensure that everyone in the IIoT space has a common understanding of their mutual language.

Going back to our example, here’s how the Vocabulary Technical Report v2.0 has defined “Industrial Internet:” “Internet of things, machines, computers and people, enabling intelligent industrial operations using advanced data analytics for transformational business outcomes.”

Most terms in the report—from “access control” to “vulnerability”—are defined with cross references to other terms. For example, the above definition of “Industrial Internet” includes and links to the term “analytics:” “synthesis of knowledge from information.”

“Industrial Internet projects succeed when participants can communicate using common vocabulary terms and definitions,” said Oracle’s Anish Karmarkar, who led the IIC’s Vocabulary Task Group. “The IIC Industrial Internet Vocabulary Technical Report v2.0 ensures all IIoT stakeholders are speaking the same language, avoiding what would otherwise be an IIoT ‘Tower of Babel.’”

Version 2.0 of the Vocabulary Technical Report improves upon v1.0 in several ways: New terms were added (e.g., “trustworthiness”), unnecessary terms were removed (e.g., “Internet”) and some terms were redefined to bring them up to date (e.g., “security”). Notably, the terms “actuator,”“device” and “sensor” were given the prefix “IoT” (e.g., “IoT device”).

“The IIoT is changing quickly, and as such, the meaning of specific words and phrases has also changed,” said Wibu-Systems’ Marcellus Buchheit, a member of the IIC Vocabulary Task Group. “The vocabulary team reviewed nearly every first edition term, removing 11 unnecessary terms, adding 16 terms and redefining 11 terms. Our goal was simplicity, clarity and relevancy to the IIoT.”

To brush up on your IIoT vocabulary, you can view the report on the IIC’s website. To learn more about the IIC, read “Industrial Internet Consortium Releases IIoT Reference Architecture Standard Version 1.8.”

Written by

Michael Alba

Michael is a senior editor at He covers computer hardware, design software, electronics, and more. Michael holds a degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Alberta.