HomeConnectivityFrom A(ccess control) to V(ulnerability): ‘edge’ and other terms defined in new edition of IIoT dictionary

From A(ccess control) to V(ulnerability): ‘edge’ and other terms defined in new edition of IIoT dictionary

New definitions of terms used in data management, edge computing, and IT/OT convergence appear in the trade dictionary for the industrial internet-of-things (IIoT), published by the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC).

The new edition of the Industrial Internet Vocabulary Report, version 2.1, also clears up confusion around the terms ‘connectivity’ and ‘interoperability’.

The IIC said the document is intended to reduce confusion around new terminology in the broad IIoT market. It said the need for standardised definitions of IIoT terminology was “urgent”, as the technological architecture is relevant to, and open to interpretation by, many industrial sectors.

The dictionary is described as a “foundational document that provides a common set of definitions for IIoT terms” in IIC documents, and for anyone working in the IIoT, including those in IT, OT and vertical industries.

Anish Karmarkar, co-chair of the vocabulary task group at the IIC, and senior director, for standards strategy and architecture at Oracle, explained: “Without an agreed vocabulary, there’s a lot of room for misunderstanding.

“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.”

The new IIoT dictionary considers a broader set of terms associated with ‘data management’, including ‘data’, ‘data at rest’, ‘data in motion’, ‘data in use’, ‘data integrity’ and others. It also seeks to refine the meaning of ‘IT/OT convergence’, essential to the analytics process in industrial settings.

Karmarkar said: “We’ve defined IT/OT convergence as a process of interweaving IT and OT in order to create industrial IoT systems. While IT/OT convergence is a hot topic today, not everyone is on the same page as to what it exactly means.”

The document provides definitions for edge and edge computing, too, building on the release in June of the IIC’s industrial grade ‘cookbook’ for edge computing, which outlines four edge points on the edge-compute continuum.

Marcellus Buchheit, one of the report’s authors, and president and chief at Wibu Systems, said: “Edge and edge computing are hotly debated topics. Stakeholders in every industry have been asking ‘where is the edge,’ or ‘what is edge computing.’”

The report 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.

“At the moment, the IIC is the only consortia to provide definitions for ‘edge’ and ‘edge computing,” said Buchheit.

The dictionary also distinguishes ‘connectivity’ and ‘interoperability, which it says 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,” it said.

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