IIoT Glossary




Artificial Neural Network


See "Neural Network"



The use of electronics and computers to control systems and machinery with limited or no human intervention.



The maximum data flow rate for a network dictated by the slowest link in the entire communication chain.

Broker (Aka "Server")


The server in the middle who manages incoming and outgoing data. This can be on a local device or managed cloud service.

Business Intelligence


Type of management software used to retrieve, analyze, transform, and report data for business intelligence.

Business Process Management


Type of management software for oversight and control of business processes.



See "Publisher" or "Subscriber"

Computerized Maintenance Management System


Type of management software that tracks and organizes customer information.



A component in an automation system that contains a program to process data inputs and outputs.

Customer Relationship Management


Type of management software that tracks and organizes customer information.

Data Mining


The process of analyzing large collections of data to generate insights or define patterns that will improve the understanding of the system the data came from.

Data Platform


A centralized computing system for collecting, integrating, and managing large sets of data.

Edge Gateway


In automation systems a gateway is a protocol translator. In the IIoT protocol translators are referred to as "Edge Gateways" because they are at the 'edge' of the widely distributed network of devices creating and consuming data.

Enterprise Application Software


Type of management software used to track an entire organization. Uses include billing, cataloging, security, customer relations, project management and human resources.

Enterprise Resource Planning


Type of management software that tracks information about resources within an entire organization.

Enterprise Quality Management Software


Type of management software focused on quality and compliance across an entire enterprise.

Human Machine Interface


A device for communication between a human operator and a machine. In modern control systems this is typically some type of touchscreen graphical interface.

Industrial Internet


See "Industrial Internet of Things"

Industrial Internet of Things


This is the interconnection of automated systems (operational technology) and information technology. A distributed network of devices generating, transmitting, and consuming data for status, analysis, or statistical purposes.

Industry 4.0


This is closely related to the Industrial Internet of Things and the term is often used interchangeably. Industry 4.0 is mostly used in Europe and is more focused on manufacturing.

Information Technology


The network architecture, hardware and software, that allows communication and analysis of vast stores of data across globally distributed assets.

Internet of Things


The consumer version of IIoT. A distributed network of devices generating, transmitting, and consuming data for status, analysis, and statistical purposes.

Manufacturing Execution System


Type of management software used to track and document the transformation of raw materials into finished goods in real time.

Material Requirements Planning


Type of management software used in production planning, scheduling, and inventory control systems to manage manufacturing processes.

Message Oriented Middleware


A software or hardware infrastructure that prioritizes sending and receiving messages between distributed systems. MQTT is a MOM protocol.

Message Queuing Telemetry Transport


A communication protocol quickly becoming the protocol of choice for the IIoT.

Neural Network (Aka ANN)


A type of computer program modeled after biological neural networks, such as the brain, that is capable of learning. The programs ability to adapt allows it to process very large data sets and recognize emerging patterns in the data.

Online Analytical Processing


Type of management software used to analyze the relationships between data sets.

Open Machine Interface


An HMI that runs on an open software platform allowing for more configuration and programming options.

Operational Technology


This refers to the physical devices interacting with the real world such as sensors and actuators deployed on the factory floor and the local automation components that control them.

Product Lifecycle Management


Type of management software for managing the entire lifecycle of a product from concept, through design, manufacture, use, and disposal.



In control systems, protocol is the language the components use to communicate. Examples protocols include Profinet and Modbus.

Publisher (Aka "Client")


Any device creating data for transmission to a broker such as sensors, PLCs, and HMIs.

Remote Machine Interface


A remote HMI. This means the HMI processor and touchscreen are physically located in separate locations.



A device that translates a physical property into an electrical signal.



A machine, or system, with integrated electronics or computer control that has some level of self-awareness and self-regulation.

Smart Factory


See "Industrial Internet of Things"

Smart Industry


See "Industrial Internet of Things"

Subscriber (Aka "Client")


The end user of the data. Possibly a management dashboard allowing you to see system statistics, or ERP program or management dashboard for high-end control and data analytics.

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition


A control architecture characterized by end-to-end connections within a single programming environment, from the sensor in the field to the PC in the office.

Supply Chain Management


Type of management software used to track and oversee supply chain interactions including supply, inventory, and transport.



A text string created by the MQTT network administrator to reference or address data. A topic may include a single data point or multiple related points. These topics are then subscribed to by the end user, or client.