Besides feeling overwhelmed by the terms and getting lost in an alphabet sea, I often find that many of us don’t REALLY know what the terms mean and if we did, we might be able to dive deeper into the conversation and understand the industry below the surface.
Now let’s be real – not all terms are important to know, but we do sound smarter when we are challenged on a definition and actually understand the role it plays in what we are doing and how it influences developments.
So without further ado, here is the reveal of some mobile-related acronyms you should know, and what they actually mean.
2.5G or GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) – Faster voice connections and still widely used for data transmission over the wireless cellular networks because it makes less power demand on the mobile device than 3G.
2G or GSM – 2nd generation mobile cellular telephone network, now largely superseded by 3G and 4G.
4G/LTE or Long Term Evolution – 4th generation of mobile cellular telephone network, which provides high-speed data for mobile devices and data terminals – newest and quickest mobile communications technology.
A-GPS or Assisted-GPS - speeds up location fixes by augmenting the satellite signal with a local cached signal (ie. providing a cell position from a mobile device). Technology used to determine the location of a device transmitting the signal.
ADC or Automatic Data Capture – methods used to automatically capture data (ie. barcode scanners, signature capture, cameras).
ASP or Application Service Provider – provides computer-based services to customers over a network. Can also be known as On-demand software or software as a service (SaaS).
AVL or Automatic Vehicle Location or tracking - Satellite transceivers that can determine the exact location (latitude and longitude) of a vehicle; sometimes installed directly into vehicles for various reasons.
Bluetooth – Although not an acronym, it is important in mobile. Bluetooth technology is short-range wireless enabling wireless devices to detect others and communicate without a physical link or configuration.
CDMA or Code Division Multiple Access – digital communications technology.
EDGE or Enhanced Data rate and EDGE - boosts data transfer speeds over GSM networks up to 384Kps. Often viewed as a midway point between GSM and 3G.
EDI or Electronic Data Interchange – the structured transmission of data, via electronic technology, between organizations. It is used to transfer electronic documents or business data from between computer systems.
ETSI or European Telecommunications Institute – creating and implementing standards for wireless networks in Europe.
Firmware – integral software in hardware, which instructs the mobile computer on which data to collect from which sensors/ECUs and how often to do it. Again, not an acronym, but an important term.
Geo-fence – a virtual barrier that automatically triggers an alert when a vehicle or person enters/leaves a predefined area. The technology can be used for real-time monitoring of deliveries, job schedules, and location of workers.
GIS or Graphical Information System – digital mapping data used to translate raw latitude and longitude positions into meaningful points on a map.
GPS or Global Positioning System – the space-based network of satellites freely accessible to anyone and maintained by the US Government. GPS provides location and time information anywhere near the earth.
GSM or Global System for Mobile Communications – developed by the ETSI and refers to the technologies on which cellular networks were built and a replacement for analog cellular networks. GSM networks have evolved through the generations of technology (2G, 3G and 4G) and will changing as it incorporates with 4G LTE Advanced standards.
IrDa or Infrared Data Association – standard for infra-red data exchange between devices; has been largely replaced by Bluetooth.
LBS or Location Based Services – applications that have functionality related to knowing the physical location of the user.
MAM or Mobile Application Management - software and services that increase the speed of the creation of internally developed or in-house enterprise mobile apps; can also refer to the deployment and management of in-house and commercially available mobile apps used for business on company provided and BYO (bring your own) mobile devices (which is a huge growing trend and can cause security concerns).
MDM or Mobile Device Management - this refers to software that secures, monitors, supports, and manages mobile devices using various operators, service providers, and enterprises. This technology supports the distribution of apps, data and settings for phones, tablets, printers and other devices. This is particularly important for larger companies using company distributed and employee BYO devices since it can lower security risks and optimize communications.
MEAP or Mobile Enterprise Application Platform - is a suite of products/services fostering the creation and allowing the development of mobile apps. MEAPs can be an alternative to standalone apps and the solution is used to increase the longevity of an app and allow it to work across platforms without additional charges.
SaaS or Software-as-a-service – web-based applications, which users access via computer and Internet, allowing data to be accessed and stored externally on the Internet (in the cloud), rather than locally on a hard drive. Common uses for this “on-demand” software include accounting, collaboration, customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), human resource management (HRM), content management, etc.
SIM or Subscriber Identification Module – this refers to the smartcard inside a mobile device, which identifies the mobile device to the mobile network.
WAP or Wireless Application Protocol – the system used to display data on mobile devices. This is how the data appears on a smartphone.
Wi-fi or Wireless Fidelity - the standard for wireless communication. Mobile devices can connect to the Internet and other sources via wi-fi connection.
WLAN or Wireless Local Area Network - a system for data communications over a fixed wireless network such as within a warehouse.
WWAN or Wider Wireless Area Network – a system for data communications over a mobile network.
There are plenty more, but these should be a good start to helping you connect the mobile dots!