The Top 20 IoT Acronyms Utilities Need to Know Now - Trilliant

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The Top 20 IoT Acronyms Utilities Need to Know Now

As the smart grid era evolves toward an increasingly interconnected world, this list provides a quick guide to all the essential terms you need to know.

In 2017 nearly 8.4 billion devices are connected in the Internet of Things, according to Gartner – with experts projecting between 30 and 50 billion devices by 2020. Utilities looking to keep pace need to understand the unique vocabulary rooted in their industry as well as those converging from other industries. Here’s a look at essential definitions.

AMI – Advanced Metering Infrastructure: AMI refers to architecture for automated, two-way communication between a smart utility meter with an IP address and a utility company. It’s a precursor or early example of an IIOT network. Its goal is to provide utility companies with timely data about power consumption and allow customers to make informed choices about energy usage based on the price at the time of use.

Broadband: This refers to high-speed data transmission in which a single cable can carry a large amount of data at once. It enables a large number of messages to be communicated instantaneously.

 DA – Distribution Automation: DA refers to placing intelligent controls on the distribution portion of a utility’s grid, the system of local power lines and neighborhood substations, enabling real-time monitoring and intelligent control.

SCADA – Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition: SCADA is a smart distribution capability widely used in industrial applications to provide process control systems that let operations manage distribution grid elements.

Smart City: A smart city is one that shares infrastructure, costs, data and policies across departments to understand the city as a whole. It uses information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance livability, workability and sustainability.

Smart Grid: An electricity supply network that uses digital communications technology to detect and react to local changes in usage. Its initiatives seek to improve operations, maintenance and planning by making sure that each component of the electric grid can both ‘talk’ and ‘listen.’ The smart grid era emerged gradually over the past three decades, fueled by advances in information and communications technology.

Smart Home: A smart home is a residence equipped with special structured wiring to enable remote control or programming of an array of automatic home electronic devices by entering a simple command. Smart home energy elements may feature elements controlled by residents or utilities or a combination of the two.

IoE – Internet of Everything: IoE is a term used to describe a possible future characterized by  nearly ubiquitous machine-to-machine (M2M) communications  encompassing people, structures, vehicles, systems and processes. Despite the name, it does not necessarily depend on a worldwide web/internet connection.

IoT – Internet of Things: The applications of smart sensors, information and communications technology to connect the billions of devices around the world to create new applications and business models that enable a more efficient, cleaner, safer and better way of living.

IIoT – Industrial Internet of Things: IIoT is a concept that refers to the application of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the manufacturing industry. IIoT can greatly improve connectivity, efficiency, scalability, time-savings and cost-savings for the industrial industry.

IoT vs. IIoT:The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) refers specifically to two main added values of the Internet of Things (IoT), increasing efficiency and improving health/safety. IIoT refers to a subcategory of the broader IoT. IoT includes IIoT plus things like wearables and smart consumer products. Concepts related to interconnectivity of the electrical grid would be considered industrial IoT applications.

IP – Internet Protocol: IP is the principal set of digital message formats and rules for exchanging messages between computers across a single network or a series of interconnected networks.

LAN – Local Area Network: A LAN is a group of computers and associated devices that share a common communications line or wireless link to a server. Computers and mobile devices use a LAN connection to share resources such as a printer or network storage.

Mesh Network: A mesh network is a type of network topology in which a device (node) transmits its own data as well as serves as a relay for other nodes. Secure mesh architecture is often used for AMI networks and can be part of a larger IIoT application.

M2M – Machine-to-Machine Communication: M2M is a broad label that can be used to describe any technology that enables networked devices to exchange information and perform actions without the manual assistance of humans. It is a core concept in internet of things applications.

PAN – Personal Area Network: PAN is the interconnection of information technology devices within the range of an individual person. It can be used for communication amongst the personal devices themselves, or for connecting to a higher-level network and the internet. Bluetooth devices often provide consumer PANs, such as between a mobile phone and a speaker or TV.

RFID – Radio Frequency Identification: RFID is a technology that incorporates the use of electromagnetic or electrostatic coupling in the radio frequency (RF) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to uniquely identify an object or person. It’s coming into increasing use in industry as an alternative to the bar code.

Sensor: A device that detects (senses) changes in the ambient conditions or in the state of another device or a system, and conveys or records this information in a certain manner.

WAN – Wide Area Network: WAN is a broadband network that provides communication over larger distances. It requires high bandwidth and low latency. AMI backhaul, CCTV, WiFi and renewable resource integration are all examples of utility use cases for WAN.

For more on the world of IoT and all it encompasses, check out this IEEE project that is inviting people to contribute to the evolving definition of IoT.