In this glossary you will find a collection of technical terms from the IT industry to help you better understand the IT world. The terms are sorted alphabetically and each is accompanied by a short definition.

AI - Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science that deals with the development of intelligent systems. Intelligent systems are systems that are able to understand and solve tasks typically associated with human cognitive abilities such as learning, problem solving and decision making.

ARM - Advanced RISC Machine

The abbreviation ARM stands for Advanced RISC Machine. ARM processors are a type of microprocessor based on the reduced instruction set architecture (RISC). RISC architectures are more efficient compared to other architectures such as CISC architectures because they require fewer instructions to perform a given task. This makes ARM processors a good choice for applications where power saving is important, such as in mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

ARM processors are used in a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, smartwatches, televisions, servers and even cars. They are the most widely used type of microprocessor in the world.

BIOS - Basic Input/Output System

The BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) is firmware stored on the motherboard of a computer. It is responsible for initialising the computer's hardware and loading the operating system. The BIOS also contains a number of functions used to manage the computer's hardware, such as hard disk and memory management, keyboard and mouse control and the command prompt.

The BIOS is normally started when the computer is started. It then runs a series of tests to ensure that the computer's hardware is working properly. If the computer's hardware is working properly, the BIOS loads the operating system into main memory and starts it.

The BIOS is an important component of a computer. It is responsible for initialising the computer's hardware and loading the operating system. The BIOS also contains a number of functions that are used to manage the computer's hardware.

BSP - Board Support Package

In embedded systems, a board support package (BSP) is the layer of software containing hardware-specific boot firmware and device drivers and other routines that allow a given embedded operating system, for example a real-time operating system (RTOS), to function in a given hardware environment (a motherboard), integrated with the embedded operating system.

CAN - Controller Area Network

A serial bus system that enables communication between intelligent devices. It is a reliable, efficient and flexible protocol used in a variety of applications, including the automotive industry, industrial automation and medical technology.

Capacitive touchscreen - CT

A capacitive touchscreen uses the electrical conductivity of the human body to detect input. When a user touches the screen, the human body conducts electricity between the finger and the screen. This current flow is detected by a sensor under the screen and transmitted to the computer. The computer can then determine the position of the finger on the screen and perform an appropriate action.

COM - Computer on Module

A Computer on Module (COM) is an embedded system that contains all the essential components of a computer, including CPU, memory, storage, bus system and I/O interfaces. COMs are usually housed on a small, pluggable module that can be inserted into a dedicated carrier board.

COMs are a popular choice for embedded systems because they provide a compact, flexible and cost-effective platform that simplifies the development and deployment of new products.

COTS - Commercial off-the-shelf

Commercial off-the-shelf or components-off-the-shelf (COTS for short) are mass-produced products from the electronics or software sector (cf. standard software) that are built and sold in large numbers in a completely identical manner (colloquially "off the shelf"). This can be practised, for example, with office products or merchandise management systems.

CPU - Central Processing Unit

The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is often referred to as the main processor. This is the heart of a computer. Without the CPU, the PC cannot work, as the processor is responsible for all calculations and the exchange of data between memory and the components.

DSI - Display Serial Interface

DSI is a serial interface for the transmission of image data between a display and a host processor. It offers high data transfer rates, low power consumption and low cost and is therefore used in a variety of mobile devices and other applications.

edge computing -

Edge computing is an approach to data processing that involves processing data closer to the source of the data. This reduces latency and decreases bandwidth usage.

With edge computing, data is not sent to a central server but processed directly at an edge device. Edge devices are, for example, sensors, routers or smart home devices.

eDP - embedded DisplayPort

eDP is a serial interface for the transmission of image data between a display and a host processor that has been specially developed for use in embedded systems. It offers high data transfer rates, low energy consumption and low costs and is therefore used in a variety of embedded systems.

ETL - Extract, Transform, Load

Extract, Transform, Load is a process in which data from several, possibly differently structured data sources are united in a target database. Extraction of the relevant data from different sources Transformation of the data into the schema and format of the target database Load.

ETX® - Embedded Technology eXtended

ETX stands for Embedded Technology eXtended and is an integrated and compact computer-on-module form factor of 95 × 125 mm that can be used in a design application similar to an integrated circuit component.

FFF - Form, Fit and Function

A concept from product development. It describes the three essential characteristics of a product:

  • Form: The external appearance of the product, including its size, shape, colour and surface.
  • Fit: The ability of the product to interact with other products or components.
  • Function: The ability of the product to fulfil its purpose.

FFF is an important concept for the development of safe and reliable products. By considering the form, fit and function of a product, engineers can ensure that it functions properly and avoids potential hazards.

FNGBoot - Flash-n-Go Bootloader

In-house development by SECO Northern Europe and specially adapted to the company's SBC. The boot loader consists of a slim programme loader that performs the basic initialisation and loads the kernel into RAM. For maintenance purposes, the bootloader can start a minimalist Linux operating system, the FNG system. It contains all the drivers necessary for the board and enables software updates and maintenance of the hardware and software.

FPGA - Field-Programmable-Gate-Array

An FPGA is a digital integrated circuit in which a logic circuit can be loaded. The term can be translated as a field-programmable gate array.

HMI - Human Machine Interface

A Human Machine Interface (HMI) is an interface between a human and a machine. It allows the human to communicate with the machine and control the machine.

An HMI usually consists of a display, a keyboard and a mouse or other input device. The display shows the human information about the state of the machine and the human input is processed and implemented by the machine.

HMIs are an important component of many modern technologies. They make it possible for people to interact with machines and control machines.

HPC - High performance computing

HPC or supercomputing is like everyday computing - only more powerful. It is a method of processing large amounts of data at very high speeds by using multiple computers and storage devices as an interconnected structure.

IoT - Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the term used to describe the network of physical objects ("things") that are equipped with sensors, software and other technology to connect them to other devices and systems via the internet so that data can be exchanged between the objects.

IPS - In-Plane Switching

In-plane switching is a type of liquid crystal display (LCD). IPS displays offer good colour reproduction, high contrast and a wide viewing angle. However, they are also slightly more expensive than other types of LCD displays, such as TN displays.

IPS displays are commonly used in laptops, desktop monitors and televisions. They are also found in some smartphones and tablets. IPS displays are particularly well suited for applications where good colour reproduction and high contrast are important, such as photo and video editing, graphic design and gaming.

LLM - Large Language Model

A large language model (LLM) is a machine learning model that is trained to understand and generate natural language. LLMs are trained with huge datasets of text and code, and they can be used for a variety of tasks, including: Text generation, language translation, question answering or creative text formats (e.g. poems, codes, scripts or pieces of music).

LTE - Long Term Evolution

Long Term Evolution is a term for the third generation mobile radio standard. An extension is called LTE-Advanced or 4G+. It is downward compatible with LTE in the Next Generation Mobile Networks project.

LVDS - Low-Voltage Differential Signaling

A serial interface for the transmission of digital signals with high data transfer rates, low energy consumption and low costs. It is used in a variety of applications, including displays, telecommunications and industrial automation. Data is transmitted via two lines, with the voltages on the two lines being subtracted from each other. This makes LVDS robust against electromagnetic interference (EMI).

NPU - Neural Processing Unit

NPU stands for "Neural Processing Unit" and is a special type of processor that is optimised for the execution of artificial neural networks (ANNs). ANNs are a type of machine learning model that mimics human brain function. They are used in a variety of applications, including facial recognition, speech recognition and language translation.

OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer

OEM products are products that are manufactured by one manufacturer but distributed by another company under their brand name. OEM products are often cheaper than products sold under the manufacturer's brand because the manufacturer does not have to bear advertising and marketing costs.

OEM products are used in a variety of industries, including automotive, electronics, medical and construction. OEM products are a great way to save money without sacrificing quality.

PCI - Peripheral Component Interconnect

Peripheral Component Interconnect, usually abbreviated to PCI, is a bus standard for connecting peripheral devices to the chipset of a processor. There are numerous variants and applications of the standard. The best-known variant is mainly used in the PC environment and is officially called PCI Conventional.

RedCap - Reduced Capability

"RedCap is an acronym for "Reduced Capability". It is a 5G radio standard that is designed to reduce the cost and power consumption of IoT devices. RedCap devices offer a number of advantages over conventional 5G devices, including:

  • Lower cost: RedCap devices use fewer components and parts than conventional 5G devices, which leads to lower costs.
  • Lower power consumption: RedCap devices use less power than conventional 5G devices, which leads to longer battery life.
  • Better adaptation to the requirements of IoT devices: RedCap devices are specifically designed for the requirements of IoT devices such as sensors and actuators.
Resistive touchscreen - RT

A resistive touchscreen uses the electrical properties of two conductive layers to detect input. The two layers are separated by a thin spacer. When a user touches the screen, the two layers are connected and an electric current flows. This current flow is detected by a sensor under the screen and transmitted to the computer. The computer can then determine the position of the finger on the screen and perform an appropriate action.

RISC - Reduced Instruction Set Computer

RISC microprocessors are a type of microprocessor that uses a reduced instruction set. This means that they only support a few instructions, but they are very simple. This makes RISC microprocessors faster and more efficient than microprocessors with an expanded instruction set.

RTOS - Real-Time Operating System

A real-time operating system (RTOS) is an operating system that is capable of running applications with specified response times. RTOS are used in applications where a delay or failure of the operating system can lead to catastrophic consequences, such as in aerospace, medical and automation engineering.

RTOSs differ from general operating systems such as Windows or Linux in that they are not designed to run a large number of applications simultaneously. Instead, they are designed to run a specific application with high priority and ensure that this application is executed within the specified response times.

SaaS - Software-as-a-Service

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a licensing and distribution model with which software applications are offered via the internet, i.e. as a service.

SBC - Single Board Computer

A Single Board Computer (SBC) is a complete computer mounted on a single printed circuit board. SBCs are usually smaller and less expensive than desktop computers and are often used in embedded systems.

SBCs typically contain a processor, memory, storage and input/output interfaces. Some SBCs also have integrated graphics cards, Ethernet ports or other functions.

SBCs are a popular choice for a variety of applications. They offer a number of advantages over traditional computers, including size, weight, cost and flexibility.

SDK - Software Development Kit

A software development kit (SDK) is a collection of tools and libraries that help developers create applications for a specific platform. An SDK can contain code, documentation, examples and other resources to help developers create applications quickly and easily.

SKU - Stock Keeping Unit

SKU (pronounced "skew"), short for Stock Keeping Unit, is used by retailers to identify and track their inventory. An SKU is a unique code consisting of letters and numbers that indicate characteristics for each product, such as manufacturer, brand, style, colour and size.

SOM - System on Module

A System on Module (SoM) is a compact, self-contained computer system mounted on a single printed circuit board. SoMs contain all the essential components of a computer, including CPU, memory, storage and I/O interfaces. SoMs are typically used in embedded systems where a compact and cost-effective solution is required.

SoMs offer a number of advantages over traditional embedded systems, including size, cost and flexibility.

TPM - Trusted Platform Module

TPMs are secure cryptoprocessors used in a variety of devices to increase security. They provide a range of functions including system integrity checking, key management and authentication.

UI - User Interface

The user interface (UI) is the interface between the user and a software application. It consists of all the elements that the user can interact with to use the software, such as buttons, menus, fields and graphics. The user interface should be easy to understand and use, and allow the user to complete tasks quickly and easily.

UX - User Experience

The term user experience describes all aspects of a user's impressions and experience when interacting with a product, service, environment or facility. This also includes software and IT systems.