ICT Glossary of Terms

5G: Fifth generation (5G) cellular represents the latest stage in the evolution of mobile communications. It is also a new standard that relies upon various supporting technologies including millimeter wave (mmWave) propagation, IPv6 transmission protocol, and many others still in the R&D stage with major infrastructure providers. Unlike LTE /4G, 5G represents a purpose-built technology with a network-centric approach. Among the major differences with LTE, 5G will provide substantially higher data rate in a range of several gigabits per seconds (Gbps). 5G is also being standardized to provide improvements to the Internet of Things (IoT).

6G: Sixth generation (6G) cellular is part of the evolution of cellular mobile communications as the 6G technology market follows 5G to continue the transformation of wireless communications beyond voice and data services to become more more intertwined with other technologies. Several key technologies will converge with 6G including AI, big data analytics, and computing. 6G networks will extend the performance of existing 5G applications along with expanding the scope of capabilities in support of increasingly new and innovative applications across the realms of sensing, wireless cognition, and imaging.

AIoT: The convergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), otherwise known as the Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT), will facilitate unprecedented opportunities for the ICT industry as well as the industry verticals that leverage data analytics for improved business operations and development of new and enhanced products and services. Largely relegated to consumer electronics and appliances today, the AIoT market is anticipated to become an essential utility-type service to enterprise.

Asset Tracking: Whereas much of the attention placed upon emerging solution areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT) is directed towards new technologies, the most important thing to business is arguably new business development, enhancing existing products/services, and cost savings. This is why the asset tracking market is so important to IoT as well as GPS, RFID, WiFi, and other technologies important to enterprise connected assets. As asset tracking technologies improve in terms of economies of scale and scope, asset tracking solutions for management of low-value assets become increasingly viable for SMB and consumers.

Application Programming Interface: The role of Application Programming Interfaces (API) is evolving within the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) space to support increasingly more than consumer oriented communications, applications, commerce, and digital content. With the Internet of Things (IoT), APIs are a key enabler of IoT software development as well as application and service operations. They are also rapidly becoming table stakes for interoperability between IoT platforms, devices, and gateways. Telecom APIs capitalize on existing network infrastructure and platforms to facilitate many new business opportunities for global Communication Service Providers (CSP) to offer Business-to-Business (B2B) services in a Data as a Service (DaaS) basis. CSPs offer data over Telecom APIs in a DaaS model to data aggregators as well as direct to enterprise customers and Over-the-Top (OTT) players. In response to the growing threat of all apps being completely OTT based, with little or no carrier involvement, Leading CSPs such as AT&T realized as early as 2011 that they needed to start programs to open up network assets as well as databases to third-parties as a means of establishing and maintaining their own application development community.

Artificial Intelligence: Comprised of many different technologies and tools, Artificial Intelligence (AI) provides methods and techniques to provide human-like decision making in an automated basis, and on  a scale and scope that would be prohibitive without advanced software and careful system integration. AI is anticipated to have an ever increasing role in ICT including both traditional telecommunications as well as many communications enabled applications and digital commerce. AI is increasingly integrated in many areas including Internet search, entertainment, commerce applications, content optimization, and robotics. The long-term prospect for these technologies is that they will become embedded in many different other technologies and provide autonomous decision making on behalf of humans, both directly, and indirectly through many processes, products, and services.

Augmented Reality: Augmented Reality (AR) is a form of immersive technology that represents a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input that enriches the user’s perception of the real world. Although AR is often perceived to be in the visual domain (video, graphics, etc.), it also includes sound and touch as well as data such as presence and location information. One of the industry adoption areas for AR is connected vehicles as AR can enhance automobile services including information, entertainment, security and safety. A see-through heads up display vehicle augmented reality system will be of value to drivers as an augmentation of the real-world.  This will include a view of the real-world with an overlay of augmented information such as navigation routes, destination, pedestrian, obstacles on the road, and more.

Big Data Analytics: Designed to deal primarily with Unstructured Data, Big Data technologies represent a collective combination of physical infrastructure, data collection and integration capabilities, data security infrastructure, data storage management, data mining and analytics. New models are emerging to reduce friction across the value chain including enhanced Big Data as a Service (BDaaS) offerings. BDaaS is anticipated to make cross-industry, cross-company, and even cross-competitor data exchange a reality that adds value across the ecosystem with minimized security and privacy concerns.

Blockchain Technology: The term blockchain refers to decentralized ledger or database management system that enables participants to record data that is stored as a chain of transaction in the form of digital tokens, sequentially grouped into a block. Each block is connected to the previous block to form a peer to peer network that facilitates data transfer among participants using cryptographic security while ensuring a high degree of transparency and security. The block may represent financial transactions, contracts, assets, identities, and anything else in digital format. Bitcoin is the early example of the use of blockchain technology.

Cloud Computing: From its origins, cloud computing has been largely relegated to Software, Platforms, and Infrastructure (SPI) in an “as a service” model as Software as Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). While the SPI model is important for enterprise and service providers, cloud computing is evolving to encompass Everything as a Service, often referred to as XaaS where X represents the specific service supported via a cloud environment. Cloud computing is also evolving from a purely centralized approach to one in which edge computing becomes increasingly important.

Data as a Service: Data as a Service (DaaS) is defined as any service offered wherein users can access vendor provided databases or host their own databases on vendor managed systems. DaaS is expected to grow significantly in the near future due to a few dominant themes including cloud-based infrastructure/services, enterprise data syndication, and the consumer services trend towards Everything as a Service (XaaS). In addition, vendor managed systems provide necessary scalability and security for sustainable services execution. The DaaS market is expected to continue to expand alongside the Cloud Computing services model over the next decade. Telecom Data as a Service (TDaaS) is one of those new models in which CSPs offer DaaS to various third-party businesses on an anonymized basis. IoT Data as a Service (IoTDaaS) offers convenient and cost effective solutions to enterprises of various sizes and domain. IoTDaaS constitutes retrieving, storing and analyzing information and provide customer either of the three or integrated service package depending on the budget and the requirement.

Data Management: Managing ICT data takes many shapes and forms. Specialized technologies, tools, and techniques (referred to collectively as Big Data Analytics) are utilized to deal with unstructured data (e.g. data that is non-correlated and/or of sufficient size and scope to be unwieldy to manage with conventional data management tools). Leveraging analytics tools to derive value, and the integration between cloud, IoT, and enterprise operational technology are key focus areas for large companies across virtually every industry vertical. This is important for many industry verticals and market segments. For example, Smart Cities will rely upon IoT data management and analytics to provide control, automation, and enable better decision making.

Edge Computing: There is an evolution underway in which edge computing is gaining prominence in ICT networks. Decentralized or distributed (e.g. Fog) cloud computing will become increasingly important as various wireless and Internet of Things (IoT) related applications require massive computing at the edge of networks. Mobile cellular operators are making plans for Mobile Edge Computing (MEC), which enables cloud computing capabilities and an IT service environment at the edge of the cellular network. MEC will enable many new and enhanced applications and services including improvements in Augmented Reality, Location-based Services, Enterprise-specific Context Aware Services, Real-time Data as a Service (DaaS), and more.

Haptic Internet: Most people are familiar with Haptic technology by way of the kinesthetic user interface for smart phones or other consumer electronics that recreates a sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations, or motions to the user. Conversely, haptic devices may incorporate tactile sensors that measure forces exerted by the user on the interface.  Tactile Internet will be based on haptic sense/ touch that will connect humans with unknown environments. Haptic sense establishes bilateral communication patterns as touch imposes sensed motion on environment that enables environment to create a distortion or reaction and feel. Tactile Internet enables the service level of haptic or non-verbal communication where remote users will be able to enjoy haptic experiences through real-time interactive systems. The primary application that will run on tactile Internet is called haptic communication. Sensing touch is used as communication medium in non-verbal and non-visual haptic communication.

Heterogeneous Networks: Wireless networks need to handle an ever increasing number of devices, consuming high volumes of data, both indoors and outdoors, and in a very unpredictable pattern with seamless coverage and consistent capacity. A Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) is comprised of a combination of cellular Macro Cells, Small Cells, Carrier WiFi and supporting technologies to meet the coverage and usage demands of both humans and machines (associated with IoT apps and services). In a HetNet environment, the Macro Cell provides a larger umbrella coverage area while Small Cells are placed in strategically closer locations to the UE to provide required coverage and capacity. HetNets are critical infrastructure for the success of LTE and for the development of future 5G based networks.

ICT Infrastructure: Telecom and Computing networks are comprised of physical and logical elements, which are manifest in the architectures and systems that provide features, functionality, and capabilities necessary to provide modern communications, applications, digital content and commerce. Certain components and systems are foundational elements, supporting core services, whereas other elements provide value-added services (VAS) and/or enable VAS capabilities.

Immersive Technologies: Augmented Reality, Haptic Internet, and Virtual Reality are all examples of “immersive” technologies. The term “immersive” is used as this category embodies those technologies that facilitate a fully immersive human experience, often including multiple senses as well as interaction with virtual objects and/or interaction between the real and virtual worlds. Application and service areas include gaming and entertainment, training and simulations, transportation, manufacturing, and many other industry verticals and use cases. One immersive technology application example is hologram calling.

Industrial Evolution: Not a “revolution” but an evolution, industrial systems and processes have evolved through three unique stages starting with mechanization and the use of water power in phase one. Phase two was characterized as industry reliant upon electricity and the use of automated factories for mass production. The third stage of industrial evolution is characterized as leveraging electronics and IT systems for further automation improvements. The fourth stage, often referred to as “Industry 4.0” (or Industrie 4.0) leverages emerging technologies such as IoT to enable cyber-to-physical communications, interactions, and control.

Industrial Internet of Things: The term Industrial Internet or Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is sometimes used in the context of next generation manufacturing, but it may also be referenced in a more general sense to pertain to the broader enterprise market, which includes many different industry verticals such as IoT in Agriculture. In both cases, IIoT benefits will extend beyond initial cost savings and process improvements to identification of entirely new business models and service offerings as traditional products transform to services.

Intelligent Network (IN): The term Intelligent Network is typically reserved for reference to telecommunication standards and technologies associated with centralized control application control and services management. IN standards in cellular networks include Customized Applications for Mobile Enhanced Logic (CAMEL) for GSM networks and Wireless Intelligent Network (WIN) for ANSI networks. The use of CAMEL and WIN are central to the delivery of many important cellular services such as prepaid communications. While IN natively relies upon SS7 for signaling, solutions have been developed to enable signaling via Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) for certain database oriented services such as enhanced Caller ID.

Internet of Things: The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to uniquely identifiable objects (things) and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure. Stated differently, the concept involves the notion that there are many things (assets, objects, etc.) in the world that may be addressed/labeled/cataloged for various purposes.

IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS): The IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) is an architecture for delivering Internet Protocol (IP) based multimedia services with quality of service over multiple access networks from a common core. It was initiated in mobile standards body 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), as a part of the vision for evolving mobile networks. The original vision was the delivery of internet services over GPRS (General Packet Radio System). That vision was subsequently updated by 3GPP, 3GPP2, Cable Labs and TISPAN (Telecommunications and Internet Services and Protocols for Advanced Networks) to support multiple access networks.

Packet Switching: A form of switching in which data is transmitted as packets of information that are “bursty” in nature a usually transmitted over diverse routes. This is in contrast to circuit-switching that relies upon maintaining a dedicated channel for signaling and communications.

Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS): Often used to refer to the most basic legacy features, such as “dial tone” and the ability to simply initiate and receive calls, POTS is occasionally used to conversely refer to telecommunications services that do not rely upon advanced features or technologies such as use of Internet Protocols or next generation ICT infrastructure.

Presence: In an ICT context, presence is really not an application by itself but is rather an enabler of applications, adding value to them. Mind Commerce defines presence information within a telecommunications context as the state of an object or device, status of attachment or engagement, device type, usage or activity, and coarse location information. All of these attributes can be used to distinguish the presence of an entity or object. In telecommunications or computing an object or device can be many things including a PC or laptop, circuit-switched or IP-based phone, mobile/cellular phone, or other wireless device. Presence data may come from many sources including applications, devices, networks, etc. Presence may be determined physically, but is often determined logically based various attributes such as state, attachment, usage, registration, etc.

Programmable Telecom: The term Programmable Telecom (or Programmable Telecoms) is an important one as it pertains to the general notion of leveraging telecommunications capabilities by way of Telecom APIs as well as other tools including SDKs, GUIs, open source platforms, and other methods. Mind Commerce has covered Telecom APIs extensively since the year 2011. Relying in part upon research provided by Mind Commerce, AT&T launched an Enterprise-Focused API Program in 2013 focused on the extension of Telecom APIs to enterprise customers.

Public Switched Telecommunications Network (PSTN): Generally referred to as the core telecommunications network relied upon for local wireline communications as well as transport of long distance calls and other traditional services. In contrast, cellular systems are typically not considered part of the PSTN, but rather interconnect with it so that wireline callers can reach wireless users and vice versa. Likewise, next generation packet-based networks that utilize Internet Protocol based signaling and data transfer are also not considered part of the PSTN.

Self-organizing Networks: Mobile Network Operators (MNO) are constantly optimizing their networks.  MNO look towards automation technologies, processes, and procedures as a means of more efficiently managing their large networks, which consist of tens of thousands of base station with hundreds of settings each. Self-organizing Networks (SON) provide automation solution for planning, configuration, management, optimization, and healing of mobile RAN functions that emerged out from 4G LTE environment and IMS technology. SON provides efficient, and in some cases, programmatic means of fine tuning cellular networks. SON systems are part of next generation OSS/BSS technologies for mobile network operators to automate previously manual network optimization procedures.

Session Initiation Protocol: Designed in 1996 and specified by International Engineering Task Force (IETF), Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a signaling protocol used for a variety of purposes in IP networks. SIP is principally a mechanism employed to seamlessly create, modify and terminate sessions involving multiple participants. Such sessions could be Internet telephone calls, multimedia conferences or multicast sessions. SIP can work with any type of media content. SIP is independent of the transport layer and can therefore be used with multiple transport protocols.

Signaling System Seven: A critical component of modern telecommunications systems, SS7 is a communications protocol that provides signaling and control for various network services and capabilities. Being a layered protocol, SS7 provides various protocol levels for connection oriented and connectionless (database) signaling in fixed and mobile networks. The Transaction Capabilities Application Part (TCAP) portion of the SS7 protocol stack is utilized for transport of the payload of other application processes. The ISDN User Part (ISUP) portion of the SS7 protocol is a form of connection oriented signaling used for call set-up.

Smart Buildings: Intelligent Buildings are Internet connected and rely upon IoT technology to provide improvements over legacy commercial real estate such as enhanced efficiency, safeguarding assets, and other operational improvements.  Smart Buildings encompass central control of the vital systems that provide security, comfort and sanitation for its inhabitants. The discrete operations are integrated into a common network of control.

Smart Cities: A large percentage of the global population lives in an urban environment, a rapidly accelerating trend that is taxing the resources and management capabilities of city governments. In addition, the enhanced mobility of modern society has created extreme competition between cities to attract skilled residents, corporations, and related jobs. Accordingly, many countries have initiated efforts to create “Smart Cities“. These efforts include global ICT infrastructure suppliers and communication service providers deploying a combination of technologies including Artificial Intelligence, Broadband Wireless, Cloud Computing, and IoT Technology to improve the efficiency and operational effectiveness of urban centers and surrounding suburban environments.

Smart Infrastructure: Physical infrastructure includes buildings, transportation (roadways, railways, and ports), utilities, and more. Improving the operational effectiveness and efficiency, safeguarding assets, and establishing new value-added services are the fundamental goals of establishing Smart Infrastructure. A few of the more important areas to consider are Smart Cities, Smart Buildings (primarily focused on commercial real estate), and Smart Homes. With modern employment becoming increasingly more flexible, the Smart Workplace is also a consideration across infrastructure elements and not relegated to a single location.

Smart Workplace: The Smart Workplace concept is cl