Within the Digital Agriculture environment there are many terms, names and acronyms used. These are new to many people and are often confusing particularly if there has been limited exposure to them in the past.

Below is a glossary of terms to act as a reference point on the digital Technology journey.

AgGuide publication- AgTech: An introduction



An actuator is a component that is responsible for moving and controlling a mechanism or system, such as opening a valve. 

Access point 

An access point is a wireless network device that acts as a portal for devices to connect to a local area network. 

Augmented Reality (AR) 

Augmented reality (AR) is an enhanced version of the real physical world that is achieved through the use of digital visual elements, sound or sight. This can be delivered via goggles or a digital device like a phone or tablet. 


Beacons are small transmitters that connect to Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-enabled devices such as smartphones or tracked packages. 


Backhaul generally refers to the side of the network that communicates with the global internet, paid for at wholesale commercial access rates to or at an Ethernet Exchange or other core network access location. All IoT devices need backhaul, whether directly built into the device or through a network. 


Bandwidth describes the maximum data transfer rate of a network or internet connection. It measures how much data can be sent over a specific connection in a given amount of time. For digital devices, the bandwidth is usually expressed in bits per second (bps) or bytes per second. For example, a gigabit ethernet connection has a bandwidth of 1,000 Mega-bps. 


Describes technologies that allow a smart card, mobile phone or other device to connect wirelessly – without contact – to an electronic reader. 


A code, sometimes known as source code, is a term used to describe text that is written using the protocol of a particular language by a computer programmer. 


A device is a unit of physical hardware or equipment that provides one or more computing functions within a system. 


Data is a collection of statistics or facts for future analysis or reference use. 


A gateway is a “hub that translates” communication between two digital sources or devices that allows these to share each other´s data transfer and communication. 


The global system for mobile communications (GSM). 


A hub is hardware device that connects other data-transmitting devices to a central station. 

Cyber-physical systems 

Cyber physical systems are integrations of computation, networking and physical processes with feedback loops where physical processes affect computations and vice versa. 


Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept of connecting any device to the internet and to other connected devices. 


A node Is any active, physical, electronic device attached to a network. 

Precision Agriculture 

Precision Agriculture is the management of production at a highly granular level such as individual trees in an orchard, or zones with a paddock. It can be enhanced by the use of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to improve operations via use of smart devices to monitor crops, livestock, and weather. 

Pressure Transducer 

A pressure transducer measures the quantity and percentage of fluid in a vessel based on applied pressure of the material being measured. 

Ultrasonic Sensor 

An ultrasonic senor emits sound waves which reflect back off the material being measured. Level is determined based on time taken for sound waves to return to the sensor. 

Variable Rate Technology (VRT) 

Variable Rate Technology (VRT) allows variable application rates of inputs across a farming system to better match requirements across an area in a precision agriculture system 

Virtual Reality (VR) 

Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer-generated simulation in which a person can interact within an artificial three- dimensional environment using electronic devices. These can include special goggles or gloves fitted with sensors. 



The third generation of cellular technology (3G) which delivered faster data-transmission speeds, enabling video calling and mobile internet. 


The fourth generation (4G) of cellular technology, released in 2008, which brought further increases in speed so HD mobile TV, video conferencing and other apps were enabled. 


The current generation of cellular technology is 5G (fifth generation) with deployment commencing in 2019 offers even greater speeds of up to 100Gbps, lower latency and greater device density per cell. 


Long term evolution (LTE) is a standard for 4G wireless broadband technology that offers increased network capacity and speed to mobile device users. 

Mobile or Cellular 

A mobile or cellular network is a radio network distributed over land through cells where each includes a fixed location transceiver known as base station. 


Roaming enables a travelling wireless device to keep connected by visiting another network when it leaves its home location.



Bluetooth is one of the world’s most common communications technologies. It allows for data transmission by radio waves over a short distance. 


Local Area Network (LAN) is a network that interconnects devices within a limited area with a locally managed network equipment. Most commonly seen as a connection between two devices by way of an ethernet cable. 

Meshed Network 

A Mesh network is a local network in which infrastructure connects directly to as many other nodes as possible and cooperates with one another to direct data to and from clients. 


Wider Area Network (WAN) is a network that extends over a large geographical area. 


Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) is made up of autonomous devices using sensors to monitor physical or environmental conditions. 


Wi-Fi is a technology that allows for wireless device communication over specific radio bands and is the most common technology used for wireless Internet connection. 


Wireless Local Area Network {WLAN) functions the same way as a LAN does, except that a device can connect to the network wirelessly. 


Z-Wave is a communications technology typically used in security automation and smart homes because of its low energy radio waves which enable it to communicate from appliance to appliance. 



Extended coverage (EC) GSM IoT is a Low Power Wide Area technology. It is designed as a high capacity, long range, low energy and low complexity cellular system for IoT communications. 

LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) is a connectivity service that connects infield devices such as a weather station to the internet, via a locally installed LoRaWAN tower(s). LoRaWAN is an international Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity protocol. LoRaWAN resides within the Low-power WAN (LPWAN) connectivity group.


Low-Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) is a WAN that caters to smart devices using low power. 


The Long Range (LoRa) low power wireless standard is intended for providing a cellular-style low data rate communications network. Aimed at the Machine to Machine (M2M) and IoT market, LoRa is suitable for intermittent low data rate connectivity over significant distances. 

LTE-M (Cat-M1) 

Long term evolution for machines (LTE-M) also known as CatM1, refer to the LTE-MTC (LTE-Machine Type Communication) standard defined by the GSMA (Global System for Mobile communications). It is Low Power Wide Area technology which allows extended coverage over 4G/5G.


A narrowband radio technology (NB) specially designed for the Internet of Things (IoT), hence its name. Special use is on indoor coverage, low cost, long battery life, and large number of devices. This technology can be deployed in GSM and LTE spectrum on 4G/5G.


Sigfox is a cellular style system that enables remote de. vices to connect using ultra-narrow band, to provide low power low data rate, and low-cost communications for remote connected devices. 


Ultra-high frequency (UHF) is a commonly used radio frequency range between 300 MHz and 3 GHz (3000 MHz). 



A CubeSat is a miniature satellite that is generally cheap to build and launch. 

GEO Stationary Orbit 

Satellites that sit above the equator and orbit at the same rate of movement as the earth are in a geostationary (GEO) orbit. Because they are positioned a great distance from the earth they allow for wide areas of view. 


Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is a constellation of satellites providing signals from space that transmit positioning and timing data to GNSS receivers 

Low Earth Orbit 

Some satellites have a low earth orbit which means that they obit the earth at very low altitudes, enabling them to circle the earth quickly. They have limited view of the earth surface due to low altitude positioning. 

Nano Satellite 

Nano satellites are small satellites weighing up to 10 kg. 

Polar Orbit 

The polar orbit refers to the orbit in which satellites orbit the earth from pole to pole rather than along traditional east-west direction. 


Lightweight M2M 

Lightweight M2M is a device management protocol designed for sensor networks and the demands of a machine-to-machine (M2M) environment. 


Modbus is a serial communications protocol for use with programmable logic controllers (PLCs) that is used to connect industrial electronic devices. 

CAN Bus 

CAN bus is a protocol used in vehicles, cars, tractors and trucks for sensors and on-board computer control modules to communicate. 


Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) is a protocol designed to connect the physical devices and networks with applications and middleware, making it an ideal connectivity protocol for IoT and M2M. 


Machine Type Communications (MTC) is a descriptive term for fully automatic data generation, exchange, processing and actuation among intelligent machines, with low or no intervention by humans. 


Digital Twins 

Digital twins are digital replicas of physical assets, processes, people, places, systems and devices that can be used for various purposes such as modelling systems and integrating historical machine data into a digital model. 


The embedded SIM (eSIM or eUICC) is a secure element designed to remotely manage multiple mobile network operator subscriptions and be compliant with GSMA specifications. 


Geographic Information System (GIS) is a system designed to capture, manipulate, analyse, manage and present spatial or geographic data. 


Global Positioning System (GPS) is a technology created by the US Government that allows for location services. Now commonly used worldwide. 


Hardware-Assisted Virtualisation (HAV) is the use of a computer’s physical components to support the software that creates and manages virtual machines (VMs). 


Integrated Circuit Card Identifier (ICCID) is the unique serial number embedded on a SIM card. 


International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) is a unique number, usually fifteen digits, associated with identifying a GSM-connected device. 


Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) is a device that measures and reports a body – such as a drone’s – specific force, angular rate, and sometimes the magnetic field surrounding the body. 

IoT module 

An Interconnection of Things (IoT) module is a small electronic device embedded in objects, machines and things that connect to wireless networks which send and receive data. 


An Internet Protocol Address (IP Address) is a unique designating number assigned to a computer or another device that is connected to a network, most notably the internet. 


Latency is the delay in transfer of data or signal. 


Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) is a remote sensing technology which uses the pulse from a laser to collect measurements which can then be used to create 3D models and maps of objects and environments. 


Mechatronics is engineering of both electrical and mechanical systems which includes a combination of robotics, electronics, computing, communications systems, control and product engineering. 


A modem is a hardware device that allows a computer to send and receive data over a telephone line or a cable or satellite connection. 


Normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) is used as an indicator of plant health by highlighting changes in plant growth using a comparison between infrared and visible light transfer. 


An on-board computer (OBC) is a small computer that is installed inside the cab of a truck. Key features of the on-board computer include: trip and hour registration, trip planning, track and trace, truck navigation, messaging traffic, fuel consumption registration and the possibility to measure the driver’s driving style. 


Radio Detection and Ranging (RADAR) is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the range, angle, or velocity of objects. 


A router is a hardware device designed to receive, analyse and move incoming IP packets to another network. 


System on chip (SOC) or a single-board computer, is a microchip with all the necessary electronic circuits and parts for a given system. Good examples include a smartphone or wearable computer, on a single integrated circuit. 


Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) is a smart card that stores data including identity, location, phone number, network authorisation data and security keys It is installed into a wireless device. 


Telematics is a method of monitoring an asset by using GPS and onboard diagnostics to record movements on a computerised map. 

Wireless modem 

A wireless modem bypasses the telephone system and connects directly to a wireless network. Via this it can directly access the internet connectivity. 



Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition and decision-making. AI also enables machines to learn from experience. 

Computer vision 

Computer vision is a part of computer science working to enable computers to see, identify and process images in a manner similar to human vision. 

Deep learning 

Deep learning is a machine learning technique that teaches computers to learn by example. 


Haptics is the science of applying tactile sensation and control to interaction with computer applications. 

Machine learning 

Machine learning is a method of data analysis that automates construction of analytical models, based on the idea that systems can learn from data, identify patterns and make decisions with minimal human intervention. 

Neural networks 

A neural network is a computer system modelled on the human brain and nervous system. It is designed to help machines reason more like humans. 



Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of routine definitions, protocols, and tools for building software and applications. An API allows one software system to easily and automatically share data to another software system with a set of permissions allowed by the user. An API connects your business processes, services, content, and data to channel partners, internal teams, and independent developers in an easy and secure way. 


Access Point Name (APN) is a gateway that translates communications between telecommunications and computer networks, most commonly the internet. 

Cloud Computing 

Cloud computing is internet-based computing that allows for data access from distinct computers or devices. It is typically referred to as though the cloud itself is storing the data, but data is stored on physical computers that allow access to the data system any time via the internet. 

Edge Computing 

Edge computing is a model in which computation is largely or completely performed on device nodes known as smart devices or edge devices. These are often distributed around an area and saves the need of it taking place in a centralised cloud environment. 

Firmware or FOTA 

Firmware or FOTA is a specific class of computer software that provides the low-level control for the device’s specific hardware. FOTA refers to the capability of upgrading firmware over-the-air. 

Fog Computing 

Fog computing is also known as edge computing or fogging. Fog computing is a term created by Cisco that refers to extending cloud computing to the edge of an enterprise’s network 

Flow-based programming 

Flow-based programming is a type of dataflow programming in which programme steps communicate with each other by transmitting data through some kind of channel. The channels are managed by the larger system, leaving the connected components free to focus on processing input and producing output. 

Hybrid Cloud 

A hybrid cloud computing environment can use a variety of on-premises, private cloud and third-party, public cloud services linked between the two platforms. 


JAVA OR JSON (pronounced JASON) is a general-purpose computer programming language designed to produce programs that will run on any computer system. 

Open source 

Open software describes software for which the original source code is freely available and can be redistributed or modified. 

Peer to Peer 

Peer-to-peer computing or networking is used to separates tasks or workloads between peers. 


Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is a communication protocol for the exchange of information between various operating systems using Extensible Markup Language (XML). 


Big Data 

Big Data are amounts of data that are so large that traditional technologies cannot handle their transfer or analysis. Certain IoT technologies are able to handle and transfer big data. 


A blockchain is a growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked using cryptography. For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol. 

Data Filtering 

Data filtering describes a wide range of strategies for refining data sets so they provide what a user or set of users, needs without including other data that can be repetitive, irrelevant or even sensitive. 


Data Driven Decision Making (DDDM) is an approach to business governance that requires decisions that can be backed up with verifiable data. 

Data Packet 

A data packet Is a unit of data made into a single package to travel along a given network path. 


HADOOP is an open source distributed processing framework that manages data processing and storage for big data applications running in group systems pervasive computing, also called ubiquitous computing. The embedding of computational capability into everyday objects to make them effectively communicate and perform useful tasks in a way that minimises the end user’s need to interact with computers. 


Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) is a computer system for gathering, analysing and controlling real-time data. 

TCP or IP 

The Internet Protocol (IP) suite is the computer networking model and set of communications protocols used on the Internet and similar computer networks. 



International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is a unique identification or serial number that all mobile phones and smartphones have. 

International Article Number 

International identification number is a barcode symbiology and numbering system used in global trade to identify a specific retail product type. This may be from a specific manufacturer in a specific packaging configuration. 


Mobile Equipment IDentifier (MEID)is a globally unique number identifying a physical piece of CDMA2000 mobile equipment. 

QR Code 

The quick response, or QR Code is a two-dimensional version of a barcode able to convey a wide variety of information almost instantly by scanning with a mobile device. 


Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) are used for data transmission and capture by way of radio waves. Usually applicable to short distance transmission. 

Smart Label 

Smart label is an enhanced version of a bar code. Smart labels take the shape of RFID tags, Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) tags, or the most commonly seen, QR codes.


Unique Identifier (UID) is a number given to any device within any system to allow the ability to interact with it. 


Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) is a string of characters that unambiguously identifies a particular resource. 



Botnet is a network of private computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners’ knowledge. 


General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in May 2018 and imposes rules on controlling and processing personally identifiable information. 


Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a framework for business processes that facilitates the management of electronic or digital identities. 


Industrial Control Systems (ICS) is a collective term used to describe different types of control systems and associated instrumentation. This can include the devices, systems, networks, and controls used to operate or automate industrial processes. 


IPSec is a secure network protocol suite that authenticates and encrypts the packets of data sent over an internet protocol network. IPSec uses cryptographic security services to protect communications over IP networks. 


Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is a set of policies and procedures needed to create, manage, distribute, use, store and revoke digital certificates and manage public-key encryption. 


Transport Layer Security (TLS) is an encryption protocol used to protect data in transit between computers enabling two computers to agree to encrypt the information in a way they both understand.