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Consortium brushes up on its IIoT vocabulary

Includes new definitions for industry terms such as edge, IT and OT convergence and connectivity and interoperability

Report says that new IIoT terms need to be defined across many vertical sectors
Report says that new IIoT terms need to be defined across many vertical sectors

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has published version 2.1 of its Industrial Internet Vocabulary Technical Report. It is intended as a “foundational document” that provides a common set of definitions for IIoT terms used in all IIC documents.


The report adds definitions for terms used in edge and edge computing, IT/OT convergence, connectivity, interoperability, brownfield and greenfield.


What is the ’edge’?


It defines the ‘edge’ as the boundary between pertinent digital and physical entities, delineated by IoT devices, and ‘edge computing’ as distributed computing that is performed near the edge, where the nearness is determined by the system requirements.


“Edge and edge computing are hotly debated topics in IIoT this year,” said Marcellus Buchheit, one of the primary authors of the report, and president and CEO, Wibu-Systems USA. “At the moment, the IIC is the only consortia to provide definitions for edge and edge computing.”


The report also provides definitions for data management, including data, data at rest, data in motion, data in use, data integrity and many others to make communication on this subject easier for IIoT stakeholders.


“Without an agreed upon vocabulary, there’s a lot of room for misunderstandings"


The report clears up confusion on ‘connectivity’ and ‘interoperability’, which IIoT stakeholders often mix up. Connectivity means the ability of a system or app to communicate with other systems or apps via networks. Interoperability means the ability of two or more systems or apps to exchange and use that information.


Different verticals, different terms


“People from different backgrounds and different vertical industries will often use different terms to mean the same thing. Additionally, the industrial internet has core concepts that mean different things to different people,” added Anish Karmarkar, co-chair of the Vocabulary Task Group, and senior director, standards strategy and architecture at Oracle.


“Without an agreed upon vocabulary, there’s a lot of room for misunderstandings. For example, we’ve defined IT/OT convergence as a process of interweaving IT and OT in order to create IIoT systems. While IT/OT convergence is a hot topic today, not everyone is on the same page as to what it exactly means.”


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