12 Tech Terms You Should Know

Technology moves quickly and it can be tough keeping up with the latest terms and phrases.

Whether you feel totally in the dark or just wonder about a new acronym you’ve heard, this glossary can bring you up to speed.

IoT (Internet of Things) – Refers to ”smart devices” that can be controlled through Wi-Fi and the internet, such as TVs and thermostats. IoT can also include any object, appliance or thing that can be connected to a network in some way in order to be remotely controlled.

VR/AR (Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality) – Virtual Reality brings experiences to life through a computer-generated 3D environment that can be interacted with by using a special headset with a screen inside. This is most popular with gaming experiences. It is increasingly being used for experiential marketing and educational training. Augmented Reality provides a similar experience to virtual reality yet incorporates your view of the real world instead. The most notable example of AR is Pokemon Go.

3G/4G – The former standard for high-speed cell phone networks in most regions of the world. 3G stands for Third Generation and has been largely replaced in most areas by the new, faster standard 4G LTE. 3G is still often accessed when 4G LTE is not available.

LTE/VoLTE– This refers to the latest standard for high-speed cell phone networks in most regions of the USA and around the world. LTE, short for Long Term Evolution, has largely replaced 3G with a faster and higher-quality network. Voice over LTE (VoLTE), however, is when you are capable of making a phone call over your LTE connection rather than the traditional voice network. Benefits to VoLTE include higher audio quality, the ability to simultaneously access data while on a phone call, and video calling for Android users.

4K / Ultra HD –This is the highest-definition version currently available. 4K (or Ultra High Definition) screens have four times as many pixels as a standard 1920×1080 full HD screen. This level of HD is still fairly new and not all TV and streaming providers have full support or content for it.

VA – Virtual Assistants are voice-driven assistants installed in Smartphones or devices that speed up any actions recommended by the user on the device. This can include anything from sending a text message to asking the virtual assistant about the weather.

AI – Artificial Intelligence performs tasks through devices or applications that usually require human intelligence and is a key factor behind many smart devices. AI is used in diverse fields from medicine to cyber security.

BLE – BLE or Bluetooth ® Low Energy is the same Bluetooth ® technology with low energy functionality. This new version makes it perfect for devices that are in use for long periods of time. Support of this new generation of Bluetooth ® technology is enabling the IoT in our daily lives, due to the interconnectivity of technology.

Everything on Demand – Today, consumers want everything at their fingertips and thanks to technology, many things are just an app download away. On-demand services are diverse, ranging from transportation (think Uber or Lyft) to accommodation, food delivery (Postmates or GrubHub) to even cleaning services or hiring freelancers.

HDR – The High Dynamic Range of digital photography brings out detail by blending multiple photos into one. Many Smartphones have an HDR camera mode, which will takes multiple photos quickly with different settings, then blends them together to use the best part of each.

OS – The acronym for Operating System refers to the type of base software on your Smartphone, computer or other devices like e-readers. The major OS options for Smartphones and Tablets are iOS (Apple devices), Android and Windows.

PTT – Similar to a function of a walkie-talkie, PTT or Push-To-Talk is a form of instantaneous communication through two devices, usually on an app. There is usually a button to switch the device from voice transmission mode to voice reception mode.

Navigating the changing digital landscape can be challenging. By knowing the latest jargon, you’ll have a source of reference and an easier time understanding the digital world.