Basic terms


An alarm is an alarm configuration which was resolved to specific assets/devices and users.

Alarm configuration

An alarm configuration an aggregation of a generic KPI and responsible users/user roles to react when the KPI values are outside healthy limits which will be applied to specific assets/devices. 


This is a broad term. For example, in business administration (German: Betriebswirtschaftslehre) it is used to refer to something of value that is owned or held by an organization. Another example is in the sense of infrastructure asset management, for which even the ISO 55000 standard exists. In IoT platforms, the term asset is typically used to refer to what physical thing is augmented with IoT technology. For example, a machine would typically be referred to as an asset. (Note: since in our platform 2.0 we want us, our partners and customers to be very flexible in representing reality, we came up with the concept of using containers.) 


A channel defines data coming from a device by a unit (e.g. Temperature in C), a data type (e.g. float), and a type (e.g. measured value). 

Client (In the OAuth2 sense)

A client representing a system, app, etc. using the platform (see OAuth1 standard). A client has one or more roles. Examples of clients: a client for the portal is used to represent the portal, but this client cannot do much, because the portal needs a logged-in user, or in other words a user context, for the user to act. A client representing a SAAS solution of a partner that needs to consume time series from the platform would be given a permission to read a container that contains the relevant time series, and would therefore be allowed to read these time series. 

Conceptual Object

An conceptual object is for example a context within which something takes place or a result set. 

Constant Resource

A constant resource can be thought of as a constant, or as an element from a fixed finite set, or as an enumeration. Usually types are constant resources. Note however, that in even types can be explicitely modelled as resources, e.g. to make a set of available types dynamic and manageable e.g. via REST.

Constrained IoT Device

An IoT device that is limited in one or more aspects such as connectivity, bandwidth, mobile data volume, battery, computational power, memory, disk space, security capabilities. 


Containers are the basic and overarching organizational element within a Space in the Smart Data Platform. They are used in particular to digitally map organizational structures of real existing objects, e.g. plants, machines or sensors.

A container can also be enriched with descriptive data (also called metadata) according to its container type, e.g. address, hall number or assembly point. Which metadata are possible is defined in the respective container type. The container logic enables a flexible structuring of the platform and replaces the often insufficient mapping performance of a classical tree structure.

Regardless of the container type, it has zero, one or more filters that govern its content. Also independant of the container type it can have a set of tags. 

Container Type

The Container Type defines with which descriptive data (metadata) a certain container in the platform can later be enriched. All containers must belong to a container type. First the container type is defined and then the container.


A dashboard is used to gain an overview or insight into a resource. A dashboard is not a resource in itself. It is created based on a dashboard template in the context of a resource, typically a container. The user can navigate between dashboards and thus switch to another container. This can be thought of as a context switch.

Dashboard Template

Dashboards are rendered based on a dashboard template. A dashboard template has zero or more widgets. It also has one or more filters to select resources. The first filter of the dashboard template is supposed to have a group-by expression that yields the resources (e. g. ventilation plants) for which the dashboard template should be renderable. In order to create a dashboard template for a pre- determined fixed set of resources, the result set of this filter can optionally be saved, so that the filter is not re-evaluated at runtime (compare to KPI Template). 

Data Source

Data sources have been introduced to establish a layer that decouples resources such as widgets or KPI source elements from actual sources of data. A data source offers fields. 

Data Source Type

The available types of data sources, for example time series data source, virtual time series data source, device data source, parking lot. 

Datapoint (sometimes aka. Point)

This term is very often used in the industry. Usually it refers to a channel on a particular device instance and the time series behind that. Note: However, sometimes the term is used to refer to a particular value at a point in time, in a time series. 


A device can send data (measurements etc.) to our cloud. The data it sends depends on the device type and its channels. Some of the data can also relate to the state of the device itself, e.g. battery voltage or geolocation. 

Device Type

A type of device. Has zero or more Channels numbered from 1 to n.

Embedded Resource

A resource that is however not a resource on its own, but rather it is a part of, or embedded in, a larger resource. 


In the Smart Data Platform an entity is technically represented by a JSON document that conforms to an entity type. Entities are versioned. Version 0 is always the version in the works (aka. under editing). By sealing, version 0 becomes the new version n+1, where n is the number of previously sealed versions. 

Entity Type

A type for entities. It is technically represented by a JSON schema. 


A filter is a search function with which platform resources (e.g. devices, containers, etc.) can be found dynamically according to the search criteria entered. This also includes tags. The criteria of a filter are either all linked with the boolean AND ("corresponds to all following criteria"), or all linked with the boolean OR ("corresponds to one of the following criteria"). 

Function Element

A pre-configured function in a KPI graph that transforms data coming in at its inlets and yields result data at its outlet(s).

IoT Device

A Device that usually has one or more physical sensors. Such sensors may be as simple as temperature sensors, but they may also be more complex, such as optical sensors or imaging sensors. Due to sensors, the IoT device can take measurements, which it usually does in configurable intervals. 

IoT Edge Device

Powerful device at a site. It can monitor, compute or even control something on site, making it optional for the data to also reach the cloud. A good example of this would be a device for an AIoT solution installed on a ship, where connectivity to the cloud can have long outages or large transmission latencies when connecting via satellites. Another example would be an AIoT solution in a factory where certain aspects need to be monitored and controlled in real-time. 

IoT Gateway

A gateway that has the responsibility to connect devices and forward their data to the cloud. 


A KPI (Key Performance Indicator) is computed from a time series (e. g. measured values) and other KPIs based on a KPI template. 

KPI Context

KPI context is a term that helps to think about the computation of a KPI template within the context of a resource, typically a container (e. g. a ventilation plant). 

KPI Graph

A KPI graph is composed of one or more source elements, zero or more function elements, and one or more sink elements. 

KPI Template

KPIs are computed based on a KPI template. A KPI template has exactly one KPI graph. It also has one or more filters to select resources. The first filter of the KPI template is supposed to have a group-by expression that yields the resources (e. g. ventilation plants) for which the KPI template should be computable. In order to create a KPI template for a pre-determined fixed set of resources, the result set of this filter can optionally be saved, so that the filter is not re-evaluated at runtime (compare to Dashboard Template). 


A permission consists of a permission verb and a resource UUID. In this way, permissions can be created with respect to individual resources. To model some general permissions, the platform contains some resources in a special database table, each of which represent some general thing, like for example a platform module, e.g. the KPI Manager, in order to allow a permission to refer to something more general, while technically using a resource uuid to refer to it. In this way, a permission can for example also refer to an app. 

Permission Verb

A verb from a fixed set of verbs. Actually read, create, update, delete, grant.


A resource is an abstract term. For example, every container, device, device type, data source, etc. is a resource.


The role of one or more users or clients. It is associated with a set of permissions. 

Sink Element

A sink in a KPI graph. Represents a virtual time series computed by the KPI graph. It has one inlet. The sink will not transform the data, it will just be written to a storage. 

Source Element

A source of time series in a KPI graph. Its outlet is typically connected to an inlet of a function element. Each source element has a filter to select a data source. That filter is evaluated against the union of the result sets of the filters of the KPI template (compare to Widget)


A Space is the top organizational level within the platform. It represents the scope of an IoT project that is logically delimited in itself. This can be a customer project or a proof of concept, for example. A platform user (user) needs an invitation and the associated permissions in order to log into a Space and make changes if he or she has the appropriate authorization.

A space contains a number of containers. A space also transitively contains anything that these containers contain directly or transitively.

Another common case is that a space stands directly for an organization. What a space actually represents is up to the administrator. Typically a user that has been invited to a space will be able to select a space after login, in order to enter that space. All views are then scoped to this space (in addition to being scoped to the users permissions). What all a user can actually create, read, update, delete etc. within a space depends on the permissions of the user. If the user switches between modules, the scoping to the current space remains effective. The user can leave the space and enter another space. The user can enter a space again at anytime, unless in the meantime an administrator revokes the underlying invitation (or more exactly the permission that was added based on the successful invitation). 


A tag is a describing word which could be attached to a resource, like to a container, device, KPI, etc.

Time Series

A time series is a typed series of values over time. For example a series of measurements over time. Can have a fixed time resolution (compare: frequency, sample rate) such as halfminutely, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly or a varying time resolution such as raw. 


A user representing a natural person using the platform (see OAuth1 standard). A user has one or more roles. 


A widget is not a resource on its own, but it is actually embedded into a dashboard template and it is of a widget type. Each widget has a filter to select data sources. 

Widget Type

Type Each widget must be of a widget type. Available widget types are for example line chart, bar chart, pie chart, etc. 

Did you find it helpful? Yes No

Send feedback
Sorry we couldn't be helpful. Help us improve this article with your feedback.