Six Terms to Up Your IoT Vocabulary


The Internet of Things (IoT) lexicon is constantly growing. Don’t get caught unprepared. 

You know that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach when you didn’t study for the test and you think you’ll get a failing grade? You stare blankly at the test questions and feel completely lost and adrift. It’s like having a conversation with a colleague who casually drops a term or acronym related to the Internet of Things (IoT), and you suddenly find yourself on unfamiliar ground. 

When you work cross-functionally across IT, security, DevOps and identity teams, there are several IoT terms that are bound to come up. You can help yourself, your team, and your career by getting familiar with them. Here are some of the most common ones: 

  • Things: This is the “T” in IoT. It  refers to any device, process, or machine that becomes part of the infrastructure or your organization and needs to be managed. The term is casually used in conversation, as in: “How many things do we have operating on our network?”
  • RPA: This acronym spells out Robotic Process Automation, which is the ability of a machine to consistently and repeatedly perform a pre-programmed task. Think of it as a claims agent process for an insurance company that can automate inputting claims faster and with fewer errors – far exceeding human capabilities. The next iteration of RPA involves artificial intelligence (AI), which moves RPA out of the static, rule-based arena and into self-driving IoT intelligence.
  • Identity of Things (IDoT): This term refers to identifying, registering, and managing the full lifecycle of all the “Things” in your domain, just like you do human identities. This term is sometimes derisively referred to as ‘IDIOT’, but there is nothing dumb about IDoT. In fact, it’s likely the future of IoT.
  • IoT IAM: This acronym is equivalent to the Internet of Things Identity and Access Management. That’s a mouthful, but just like IDoT, it’s another way to reference managing the full lifecycle of IoT devices on your network – when they join, move, and leave. 
  • IIoT: This is the Industrial Internet of Things and refers to devices used in an industrial or manufacturing environment. Examples include valves, sensors, and instruments used to efficiently and safely run a factory. Another term to represent this is Industry 4.0. 
  • Device posture: This is an endpoint security capability that proactively checks whether a device is in a fully secured state as a condition for allowing the device onto the network. If it still has a factory password or it does not have a proper certificate, it’s likely not getting on your network.

Congratulations! You’re on the road to expanding your IoT vocabulary and can flaunt your smarts among your peers. 

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