What is interoperability and how can my company achieve it?

Industry 4.0 -

By Carla Jardón /

23 October, 2019

It is becoming increasingly common for companies to have to deal with a higher volume of relevant information. Mobility has propelled the sharing of data and the number of connected devices across the globe.

According to the latest data by Ericsson contained in its Mobility Report, mobile data traffic grew by 78% in the second quarter of 2019 in relation to the second quarter of the previous year, and reached 32 Exabytes (EB). Around the world there are now 6.1 billion mobile broadband subscribers. How is this volume of information managed?

All of this data is received by companies from different devices, and is often presented to the organizations in a disorderly fashion. This fact hampers their efficiency and the fulfillment of set goals. In order to organize all of the information and turn it into something useful for the companies, they apply an innovative concept: interoperability.

What is interoperability?

The concept of interoperability is defined in the ISO/ISO/IEC 2382 Information Technology Vocabulary as the “capability to communicate, execute programs, or transfer data among various functional units in a manner that requires the user to have little or no knowledge of the unique characteristics of those units” (ISO, 2000).

Other authors such as Lueders defined it in 2004 as “the ability of ITC Systems and the business processes that they support to exchange data and enable the sharing of information and knowledge.”

These definitions are reminiscent of humanity’s old idea of being able to share information universally, regardless of the technology that is used for storing, processing or distributing it. It is with this goal in mind that the press was invented in 1440 and ARPANET was created in 1969, which would soon evolve into the Internet that we know today.

Nowadays, in the booming age of digital data, the technologies that facilitate the interoperability between companies and allow them to take advantage of various benefits are becoming increasingly stronger.

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Benefits of interoperability

The organizations that apply technologies to facilitate the communication and synchronization between systems obtain the following benefits:

  • Cohesive information. Information systems that operate in isolation are identified and redundant information is located in order to accomplish a more fluid communication between them.
  • Increased adaptability. Systems that collect information connect with each other and transfer the data that they have detected automatically and flexibly, adapting faster to changes.
  • Increased productivity and control. Collected data is related with production and it is managed in a way that it is available and accessible by the various users with more ease.

A company can leverage these advantages if it applies system interoperability in every aspect of its business.

How can your company achieve its systems interoperability?

Companies usually achieve interoperability on two levels: semantic and technical.

Semantic interoperability

At this level, the systems that exchange the data perfectly understand it. In this case, semantic interoperability requires the obtained information to be highly useful and meaningful.

Technical interoperability

This refers to a level of interoperability that allows different software components to work in cooperation with each other, even in those cases in which the programming language and interface may be different.

In order to achieve interoperability at any of these two levels, it is essential to transform the messages.

Message transformation refers to the processing and modification of the messages in the different systems of an organization operates with the purpose of achieving an adequate communication between them; not unlike a message translation.

When a company’s systems communication and exchange messages understood by all of them, interoperability is fulfilling is purpose.

Companies can achieve system interoperability through the implementation of a specific software, such as Nexus Integra.

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Interoperability – a must for 21st century companies

Companies have to manage a significant amount of data arriving from a myriad of devices. This new landscape forces organizations to implement technologies that enable the interoperability of all of their systems. They need all systems to communicate with, and understand, each other to be able to leverage the advantages of Big Data.

Applying a technology of this kind allows for the communication to be more fluid between different interconnected systems; they allow systems to automatically manage the input and output of data based on the demand in order to increase the efficiency and make adaptation to changes faster, and they provide a better user access to data, increasing the productivity and its control.

Nexus Integra helps companies accomplish system interoperability so that they can take advantage of all of its benefits.

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