There are so many acronyms that the sheer weight of them could be having an impact on the manufacturing sector!

Some of these acronyms have been around long enough to be easily recognizable and perhaps even understood. But new forces, accompanied by new acronyms, are always developing and will continue to do so as technology explodes – in the current decade, the current century, and the foreseeable future.

Consider this blog as a primer or glossary of terms, with an effective date of May 2018. Naturally, you could look this stuff up on the Internet, but it could be nice to have it all in one easy-to-retrieve (ETR?) place. So here it is, in alphabetical order.

AI – Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence demonstrated by machines. In computer science, AI research is defined as the study of “intelligent agents,” which refers to any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of successfully achieving its goals. The term is applied when a machine mimics human functions such as “learning” and “problem-solving.”

DT – Digital Transformation

DT refers to the transformation of business by adopting digital technologies. This accelerates sales and growth of the business from end to end. The transformation stage means that digital usages inherently enable new types of innovation and creativity in a particular sector, rather than simply enhancing and supporting traditional methods.

HITL – Human-in-the-Loop

A model that requires human interaction. HITL allows the human user to change the outcome of or the next step in an automated or programmed event or process. Machine learning technology (see below), which has become a powerful tool in the IT toolbox, are increasingly incorporating HITL. Human-in-the-Loop machine learning is proving itself as the future of this technology.

IoT – Internet of Things

IoT is a network of physical devices embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and connectivity which enables these objects to connect and exchange data. Each “thing” is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but is able to inter-operate within the existing Internet infrastructure. Experts estimate that the IoT will consist of about 30 billion objects by 2020.

IIoT – Industrial Internet of Things

IIoT is the use of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in manufacturing. It incorporates machine learning and big data technology, harnessing sensor data, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication and automation technologies. In manufacturing specifically, IIoT holds great potential for quality control, sustainable and green practices, supply chain traceability and overall supply chain efficiency.

ML – Machine Learning

Machine learning is a field of computer science that generally uses statistical techniques to give computers the ability to “learn.” ML progressively improve performance on a specific task without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning is a method used to devise complex models and algorithms that lend themselves to prediction. In commercial use, this is known as predictive analytics.

RPA – Robotic Process Automation

Robotic process automation (or RPA or RPAAI) is an emerging form of business process automation technology based on the notion of software robots or artificial intelligence (AI) workers. RPA systems develop the action list by watching the user perform that task in the application’s graphical user interface (GUI) and then perform the automation by repeating those tasks directly in the GUI.


These are not all terms that you would use in your business on a daily basis! But it’s good to be conversant in the technology lingo that is invading the manufacturing sector.

Here’s one more acronym, one that will be useful for you if you’re a manufacturer looking for the ERP software system that best fits your company. SSG stands for Strategic Systems Group. We work exclusively with manufacturing companies to help them maximize the benefit of their software systems. That’s all we’ve done since 1991.

Contact us today. Call SSG at 310.539.4645 or email us at

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