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Explainer: Decode the latest business tech jargon

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

The Smarter Team is made up of business and technology journalists who write to offer insights to small and medium businesses about technology, business know-how and emerging trends.

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

The Smarter Team is made up of business and technology journalists who write to offer insights to small and medium businesses about technology, business know-how and emerging trends.

Here’s your go-to resource to understand tricky tech jargon.

With new technology comes new terminology. So many acronyms and jargon words are created on the internet all the time, which can be difficult to keep up with.  So to decode the terminology, we’ve created a glossary of terms.   From AdWords to VPS, from Machine Learning to Artificial Intelligence, our new technology glossary is here to help you better understand digital-business tech terms.

 

Person typing on wireless keyboard.

With new, innovative technology and products comes new terminology. So many acronyms and jargon words are created on the internet all the time – it can be hard to keep up. So to decode the terminology, we’ve created a glossary of terms. From blockchain to connected retail, actionable analytics to mobile first, and artificial intelligence to augmented technology, this glossary is here to help you understand today’s digital-business tech terms.

Actionable analytics:

In conversations about big data this year, the term actionable analytics will pop up. Simply, it means analysing data to reveal any problems or challenges and their underlying causes, and then taking action to solve those issues. In a retail setting, one might use actionable analytics to determine why you aren’t selling enough of a particular product, and how you change things to sell more.

Application programming interface (API):

A set of programs and tools that dictate how one app talks to another. For example, embedded Google Maps on your website so customers know where your business is and how to get there is one example of the delivery of API.

Artificial intelligence (AI):

Artificial intelligence is a regular presence in our tech-led lives. Broadly, AI refers to intelligence displayed by machines. Specifically, it is the ability of a machine or software (like AI applications) to learn and adapt from the data in its environment to achieve a specific goal. AI’s impact on business is substantial, including greater efficiency via the automation of complex tasks.

Augmented reality (AR):

Augmented reality is adding digitally created elements like sounds, videos, or GPS data to the real world. This is deployed via specialist AR glasses or an everyday smartphone. The most famous, recent example is Pokemon Go and more recently Ikea has created an app to virtually ‘place’ furnishings in your space so customers can experience a product before buying.

Automated marketing:

Software that automates marketing tasks, such as scheduling email sends and social media posting. It’s also known as marketing automation.

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Big data:

High volume, high velocity and high variety data generated by any and all digital activities.  With the right techniques, detailed and valuable insights can be extracted including consumer behaviours, demographic trends or performance metrics.

Blockchain:

Famously hard to define, blockchain technology is a digital record of transactions in which individual records, the ‘blocks’, are linked together in a single list to form a ‘chain’. Cyber currency Bitcoin is the the most well-known example of blockchain application in action. Deloitte attempts to define blockchain in 100 words, or a 2-minute video, here.

Captcha:

A test to determine whether the user is human or machine. Prevents bots or spammers by requiring the user to complete a visual test or enter a difficult-to-read piece of text or password.

Chatbots:

A chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the internet. It can be thought about as kind of a dynamic FAQ, responding with preloaded answers to a users questions.

Cloud application:

A software application and business continuity service that is accessed online via an app or browser, instead of installed on a local computer.

Cloud computing:

A general term for storing and accessing resources and data over the internet. From emailing on-the-go, to working in a virtual office, cloud computing allows users to share virtualised resources rather than relying on local hard drives, installed software and fixed devices. Cloud-based applications and services can be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Connected retail:

Connected retail is a way to reach customers seamlessly through a combination of physical and digital experience. It’s a connected cloud-based ecosystem that leverages data and the Internet of Things. Walt Disney World recently created a leading example of connected retail – it used a smart wristband that allowed visitors to tailor their experience, including curated information and bespoke offers and deals.

Content Management System (CMS):

A software application used to create and manage digital content, such as the various pages and elements of a website or app. Popular content management systems include WordPress, Drupal and Joomla!.

Content marketing:

A marketing technique of creating and distributing high-quality, valuable and consistent content to attract, acquire and engage the target audience with the goal of the customer taking a desired action. For example, a company blog or custom magazine.

Conversion rate optimisation (CRO):

A systematic approach to increasing sales and leads on a website, by changing images and words or using tools including call-to-actions and split testing (also known as A/B testing).

Customer persona:

A fictional representation of an ideal or typical customer based on demographics, buyer behaviours, motivations and goals; who they are, where they are, where and when they buy, why they buy and how they think. Customer personas help to plan products and marketing strategies.

Customer relationship management (CRM):

Software to record, track and manage current and future customers. It can store information such as names, contact details and records of phone calls. Popular CRMs include Salesforce, HubSpot and NetSuite.

Data breach:

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) defines a data breach as “when personal information held by an organisation is lost or subjected to unauthorised access or disclosure.” Such an event can take place when a device containing data is lost or stolen, a database is hacked, or information is provided by mistake. A spate of data breaches in recent years have highlighted the issue and led to the drafting of new legislation with specific requirements for business.

Data mining:

Data mining is a process that involves the practice of examining large databases in order to generate new information. That new information can used for actionable analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Digital Direct Marketing (DDM):

The electronic delivery of communications to specific recipients, usually via email or mobile phone messaging.

Disruptive technology:

New ways of doing things that shake up a traditional industry. For example, Uber is disrupting the taxi industry by exploiting smartphone technologies and behaviours.

Encryption:

Turning plain text into ciphertext, so it cannot be easily read. You need access to a secret password to decrypt it and make it understandable

Google Ads:

Google’s online advertising service. Businesses can set a budget and create relevant ads which are then shown to people who search specific key words using Google.

Hyperautomation:

While artificial intelligence was arguably the big buzzword of 2019, hyperautomation will likely be 2020’s. Hyperautomation is the evolution of AI and uses these advanced technologies, and machine learning, and put simply it is a bot that can conduct human tasks to make business more efficient.

Hypertext transfer protocol:

A set of standards used by the World Wide Web that determines how information is formatted and transmitted. The majority of website URLs begin with http://.

Hypertext transfer protocol secure:

An encrypted website connection that is the secure version of HTTP. A secure website’s URL will begin with https://. This is essential for online payment systems and other web pages that process private or sensitive information. (See also SSL Certificate).    

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS):

A form of cloud computing that lets a user host their applications on a virtual server on shared infrastructure. It includes hardware and software such as servers, networks and operating systems.

Integrated marketing:

A strategy that creates a consistent experience of a brand (its ‘look and feel’) for consumers across all communication methods (channels), including advertising, PR and social media.

Internet of Things (IoT):

Everyday physical objects connected to other machines, appliances or objects via the internet, and embedded with sensors and technology used to collect data. Information is consumed by machines, rather than people, and communication happens between these machines to complete or automate certain tasks. For example, turning off heaters in your house remotely, fridges that can order the milk, smartwatches, and fitness trackers. 

Machine learning:

Machine learning is an extension of artificial intelligence. Software with machine learning has the ability to learn from data without being programmed to. In a business context, this enables effective and precise automated learning and decision-making in real-time.

Mobile first:

Historically, software developers designed with a focus on desktop computers. Today, they focus on where the people are most: on mobile. This paradigm shift is due to the change in consumer behaviour, but also an increasingly mobile workforce. Mobile-first is the development of software and apps adapted to alternate ways of working and use habits.

Net neutrality:

The Oxford Dictionary defines net neutrality as “the principle that internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.”

Personalisation:

Becoming increasingly used in marketing, personalisation is the act of customising information presented to a user. Using collection and analysis of expansive data sets, companies can personalise the user’s experience of a product. Personalisation is used in Facebook’s friend recommendation, Google Ads, and across many online marketplaces in product recommendations.

Platform as a service (PaaS):

Cloud platform services that allow developers to build applications and services over the internet.

Pay per click (PPC):

This is a common digital advertising model that charges the advertiser only when someone clicks on their ad. For example, search engine advertising is pay per click.

Quick response code (QR code):

A barcode that can be read using a smartphone camera.

Search engine optimisation (SEO):

The strategies and techniques used to increase the number of visitors to a website by making it more visible to search engines, so it gets a higher ranking on the relevant search results pages. Techniques include using specific keywords that customers commonly search for in your website copy, having links back to your web pages on other sites, and featuring engaging content and imagery.

Smart industry 4.0:

Industry 4.0 is touted as a subset of the fourth industrial revolution and mostly concerns industry. For example, a factory or production business considered to be working in industry 4.0 will have machines and technology interconnected with wireless connectivity as part of a system that can visualise the entire production line and make decisions automatically.

Software as a service (SaaS):

Cloud-hosted software delivered over the internet so they don’t have to be purchased and installed on the customer’s computer.

Virtual private network (VPN):

An encrypted connection over a public network (like the internet) that provides secure access to a private network. A VPN can let you access a business network while travelling or hide browsing activity on public Wi-Fi to avoid the risk of your web traffic and data being intercepted.

Virtual private server (VPS):

A virtual server that acts as a dedicated server, and is installed on a physical computer, but also has shared hosting facilities. A VPS can be less expensive than renting a dedicated server and can be easily scalable to grow with your business. But businesses with high traffic or heavy demands may prefer using a fully dedicated server.

Voice-User Interface (VUI):

VUI’s allow users to interact with a system, such as software or hardware, via voice commands. It enables users to use complex digital products using only speech. The use of VUI is projected to continue to rise through 2020 and beyond.

 

*Originally published October 13th 2016. Updated February 6th 2020.

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