Design Engineering

IIC releases version 2.1 of Internet Vocabulary Technical Report to help clarify IIoT

Devin Jones   


The report is designed to provide a set of common definitions surrounding IIoT conversations, in an effort to clarify confusion and establish a baseline foundation.



In an effort to help clarify the vocabulary surrounding IIoT conversations, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has released version 2.1 of their Industrial Internet Vocabulary Technical Report.

Designed to provide a common set of terms and definitions for IIoT related documents, the glossary was corralled from and cross-referenced with other IIoT related organizations like the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS) to name a few.


Here’s the IIC’s mission statement pulled from the report:

This Industrial Internet Vocabulary Technical Report specifies a common set of definitions for terms that are considered relevant and important to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to be used by all IIC documentation. Each of the terms listed in the first column of the table is rendered as a bookmark, which can be used for cross references in any document that imports this table. Many of these definitions have been imported from other standards, as indicated in the Source column of these tables. IIC as a source indicates that this is a definition from IIC itself.

With dozens upon dozens of definitions, the report clarifies the differences between hotly contested topics like edge and edge computing amongst others. What’s also interesting though, is the inclusion of many security driven terms, a subsection of the IIoT conversation that’s proven to be at times confusing and underrepresented when it comes to implementing IIoT systems.

“It’s funny to me to see the quantity of new terms added into the IIoT vocabulary. This really demonstrates how IIoT is creating an evolution and revolution in the industrial market,” says Luc Richard, National Segment Marketing Director for Schneider Electric Canada. “Vocabulary is the foundation of communication, and if we are to have a clear understanding of the information we’re communicating we need to have a common set of definitions for the vocabulary we’re using. Looking at all the different terms in this document without looking at their definitions, I could easily interpret terms to have different meanings. This goes to show how necessary it is to have a unified set of definitions, especially in IIoT,” he says.

Read more:The IIC publishes Edge Computing in IIoT white paper

Two in particular that stood out, were functional framework and functional viewpoint which share subtle differences in talking about a similar concept.

Functional framework: set of abstract reusable functional components that can be extended/customized and applied to several applications in a specific domain.

Functional viewpoint: architecture viewpoint that frames the concerns related to the functional capabilities and structure of industrial internet of things (IIoT) system and its components.

While in no way definitive, this technical and it’s original iteration is one of the first “official,” reports released by an international consortium.


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