The Internet of Things (IoT) is an environment in which physical objects are able to send and receive data via a network. Almost any product can become connected and reinvented as a smart, connected product. Be it a toy, sports gear, furniture or any other object – connectivity to a smart device allows sensing, analyzing and remote controlling. But getting a product smart and connected involves a variety of processes and not everyone is familiar with the accompanying terminology.

This Internet of Things dictionary describes some of the most important terms to help you get a better understanding of the IoT world.   

Common Internet of Things terminology and phrases

  • Connected Product/Smart Product: A connected product is a term used for a product that has the ability to communicate within the network in the IoT environment.
  • SensorA component which is used to measure a specific characteristic of the product or of its surrounding environment, such as temperature, pressure and light and react according to the required product specifications. Sensors which are able to connect between products are key components to almost all IoT products.
  • Hardware: The word hardware is usually used in the IoT world to describe the electronic components which are placed in the physical product. Mostly, the hardware includes at least a microcontroller, a communication module, an antenna, and connection points to the product’s sensors.
  • Firmware: Firmware is the software stored in the memory of a processing hardware device. It is responsible for operating hardware elements and controlling the inputs and outputs of the product. The firmware controls and operates the hardware and dictates the logic of the product’s components.
  • Software: Software is a general term for programs that operate computers and electronic devices. In the IoT world, Software is sometimes divided into two categories:
    • Application Software – programs that are meant to execute direct tasks that the user wishes to operate.
    • System Software – includes operating systems, and any program that supports the app’s functionality. System softwares work in the background of the system and do not affect the end-user.
  • Middleware: Middleware is the term used for software that is meant to connect between separate existing  programs. Middleware is often made to link between the operating system and an application that uses data from an external source.
  • Software Development Kit (SDK): A software development kit, or an SDK, is a programming package which enables a programmer to develop apps for a specific platform, such as Seebo’s IoT platform.
  • Dev Kit: A Dev Kit (A Development Kit) is a set of electronic components and Software which together create an Internet of Things solution package. For more information see Seebo’s Dev Kit guide.
  • Prototype: A sample of the product during the development process, which in an IoT product is likely to include some of the electronics and communication abilities of the final product.   
  • Bill of Materials (BOM): A list of the raw materials, sub-assemblies, intermediate assemblies, sub-components, parts and the quantities of each needed to manufacture. A BOM can define products as they are designed (engineering bill of materials), as they are ordered (sales bill of materials), as they are built (manufacturing bill of materials), or as they are maintained (service bill of materials).
  • PCB: Printed Circuit Board – a thin board (usually made of layers of fiberglass and epoxy) with conductive pathways and sockets for components that are etched or printed onto the surface. A PCB can have multiple layers of pathways, depending on the price and quality needed.  
  • PCBA: Printed Circuit Board Assembly –  PCBA, is the process of connecting electronic components to a PCB in a mass process. The assembly is done by soldering components onto a printed board. Today the assembly can be done automatically by a method called Surface-Mount Technology – SMT, in which computerized machines connect the wiring and components directly onto the printed board.
  • PCB JigA tool that enables the performance of actions on multiple PCBs at the same time. The jig is often meant for burning Firmware and testing of the PCBs. Using a jig shortens and simplifies the burning and quality and allows checking a batch of PCBs at once.
  • Schematic Diagram: Is used to describe the design of the electrical components in an electrical circuit. The Schematic diagram shows the electrical connection between the elements in the circuit. Today electronic design automation software (EDA or “electrical CAD”) is often used to create the schematic diagram.
  • Layout Diagram: Shows the physical connections and placement of electrical components in the circuit. The layout diagram of an electrical circuit will determine the physical size of the PCB. 
  • Firmware Over-The-Air (FOTA): A technology which enables the operating firmware of a device to be wirelessly upgraded and updated. FOTA-enabled products can download upgrades without the needs to physically connect the product to a computer. FOTA is a quick and simple way of updating new features which are often presented in IoT products.
  • Machine Learning: Machine learning is the term used when computers act without being programmed directly for exact tasks. This allows the machine to act in a basic form of decision-making in order to execute its mission. Examples of machine learning is a driver-less car, advanced web search and many other functions that surrounds us without even knowing, such as traffic control in a city.

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