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A-Z of Tech Terms (H-P)

The world of tech can be a confusing place full of complicated terms and theories. Are you new to the world of tech? Or do you just want to be informed about what’s going on? After all, advances in technology affect all of us.

 

This is the second article in a series where we explain important tech terms you should have at least a basic understanding of.

See Part 1 (A-G) here.

 

Hackathon

This is where programmers get together to work intensively on a collaborative project over a short period of time, usually for a few days or up to a week. Projects often take the form of website, mobile app or robot with the goal of starting with an idea and finishing with a complete prototype.

 

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the idea of connecting everyday things to the internet so they can communicate with you and each other. The most common examples are smart home products and wearables – such as:

  • Smart thermostats like Nest and Hive that you can control via an app on your smartphone.
  • Smart plugs that monitor how much energy your devices are using and turning them on and off accordingly.
  • Home security systems controlled from your smartphone.
  • Smart pet feeders that calculate the best nutrition for your pet, control how much they need to be eating and can even order a delivery of food when it runs out.
  • Wearable devices that are inserted under the skin, tracking glucose levels in diabetes patients and sending a message if the levels are nearing the limit.
  • Wearable fitness trackers such as Fitbits and Apple Watch.

 

The future of the Internet of Things is predicted to be smart cities – cities that use data to improve infrastructure, utilities, services and quality of life for its residents.

 

Keywords

Keywords are vital for ensuring that people can find what they are looking for when they search on the internet. Keywords are the words and phrases that people type in when they want information. If you have a website and want people to be able to find it, you ideally need your website to appear on the first page of results, so you need to have the right keywords – this is called SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

 

To have successful SEO, you need to let the search engines (such as Google) know that your website has the most useful, high quality and relevant content for your potential customers. This is where keywords come in. Keywords let search engines know what your website is all about. The world of SEO and keywords is complicated – keywords are just one of many factors that can contribute to your Search Engine Ranking.

 

LAN

LAN stands for Local Area Network. It basically means all the devices connected in a specific location, such as an office or home, via a wired or wireless connection. Most commonly the devices are connected using a Wi-Fi signal. The wireless router connects all the computers, laptops, smartphones, printers, smart TVs and other smart home devices so they can communicate with each other, creating a LAN.

 

Machine Learning

Machine Learning is one vital subfield of AI, the science of creating machines that learn and act like humans. AI – Artificial Intelligence – is covered in the first article in this series. It revolves around the creation of intelligent machines that have traits such as speech recognition, learning, planning, problem solving, knowledge, reasoning and perception.

 

The field of machine learning aims to build machines which can learn on their own, using algorithms to identify patterns in data and build their own models which explain the world around them They can work out how to act in certain situations – without the need for every single rule to be programmed into them.

 

But what is machine learning actually used for in your day-to-day life?

 

Some of the most common uses of machine learning are virtual personal assistants like Siri and Alexa, who collect information based on how you have interacted with them previously in order to provide a continually improving and personalised service.

 

Many social media platforms also use machine learning to personalise their service, such as Facebook’s ‘People You May Know’ and ‘Face Recognition’ features.

 

Chatbots use machine learning too. If you’ve ever logged-on to a customer support chat on a website, it’s likely that you were actually talking to chatbot, not a real person. They use machine learning algorithms to run computer programmes designed to simulate conversations with human users. Chatbots work by learning from historical customer service data, natural language and interactions so that they can interact with customers and give high quality answers to their questions.

 

Phishing

Phishing is an online attack with the goal of tricking people into giving up their personal information via deceptive emails and websites. Hackers try to encourage the target to click on a link or download an attachment, or enter information into a fake website, which allows them to steal passwords, banking information and so on.

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