Industrial Internet of Things vocabulary terms updated

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) released updated definitions for terms such as the Internet of Things, cloud computing and more.

By Industry IoT Consortium (IIC) October 10, 2020


Learning Objectives

  • The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) released an updated report on definitions related to Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) vocabulary. 
  • A total of 158 words and phrases were defined. 
  • The report also included four terms that are being discouraged from the future use. 

The Industrial Internet Consortium’s (IIC) version 2.3 of the Industrial Internet Vocabulary Technical Report is one of six IIC technical reports that provides industry guidelines on vocabulary, architectures, security, analytics, connectivity and business strategy.

Internet of Things (IoT) vocabulary terms

Version 2.3 of the report includes new or updated definitions that enhance Internet of Things (IoT) vocabulary terms, including:

  • Internet of Things (IoT): A concept where components are connected via a computer network, and where one or more of those components interacts with the physical world.
  • IoT system: A system where the components are connected via a computer network, and one or more of those components interacts with the physical world.
  • Industrial IoT (IIoT) system: An IoT system used in an industrial context.

“The Internet of Things is evolving, and our understanding of IoT concepts is evolving as well,” said Erin Bournival, co-chair of the IIC Vocabulary Task Group and distinguished engineer, office of the corporate CTO at Dell Technologies in a press release. “We’re excited to provide new definitions for these fundamental terms to increase clarity for all IoT stakeholders.”

IIC computer networking definitions

Other terms with expanded definitions focus on computer networking. These include:

  • Cloud computing: Paradigm for enabling computer network access to a scalable and elastic pool of shareable physical or virtual resources with self-service provisioning and administration on-demand.
  • Connectivity: Ability of a system or application to communicate with other systems or applications via computer network(s).
  • Endpoint: Component that has computational capabilities and computer network connectivity.
  • Event: Any observable occurrence in a system and/or computer network.

Definitions from IIC for edge computing, IS, IT, OT

Other definitions from the 158 definitions in V2.3 of the report include:

  • Edge computing: Distributed computing that is performed near the edge, where the nearness is determined by the system requirements.
  • Industrial control system (ICS): Combination of control components that act together to exercise control in the physical world.
  • Information technology (IT): Entire spectrum of technologies for information processing, including software, hardware, communications technologies and related services.
  • Operational technology (OT): Hardware and software that detects or causes a change through the direct monitoring and/or control of physical devices, processes and events in the enterprise.
  • Security: Property of being protected from unintended or unauthorized access, change or destruction ensuring availability, integrity and confidentiality.
  • Situational awareness: Within a volume of time and space, the perception of an enterprise’s security posture and its threat environment; the comprehension/meaning of both taken together (risk); and the projection of their status into the near future.

The report also includes four terms that are discouraged because they are ambiguous or conflict with accepted interpretations. The recommended alternatives are highlighted for future IIoT-related publications:

  • Cloud to be replaced with: Cloud service
  • Device endpoint to be replaced with: Endpoint
  • Thing to be replaced with: IoT device, physical entity of interest
  • Virtual entity to be replaced with: Digital twin.

– Edited from an Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) press release by Chris Vavra, associate editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, The IIC is a CFE Media content partner.


Keywords: Industrial internet, IIoT, Internet of Things


What definitions not featured here or in the report do you think need to be highlighted?


Industrial Internet Consortium Updates IoT Vocabulary Terms – Consortium updates Industrial Internet Vocabulary Technical Report