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ISO Definitions of Integration and Interoperability. Here Is More on ICII

Read Charlie Gifford's article What’s Interoperability and Why Is It Important?

What Are “Interoperability” and “Integration”?

Interoperability and integration are defined by ISO Technical Committee 184, Subcommittee 5 (ISO/TC 184/SC 5), “Architecture, Communications and Integration Frameworks” as follows:


  • Two or more entities (devices, equipment, machines, people, processes, applications, software units, systems, enterprises) can exchange items (information, material, energy, control, assets, ideas) in order to perform their respective tasks.
  • Items exchanged according to a set of rules and mechanisms implemented by an interface in each entity.
  • Inter-operating entities have a common understanding of the properties of the items exchanged.


  • Two or more component entities (each with a distinct structure, behavior and boundary) form a system that exhibits its own distinct structure, behavior, and boundary.
  • A task is perceived to be accomplished by a system and not by component entities performing individual tasks.
  • Component entities cooperate, collaborate, coordinate and exchange items as needed to perform a system’s task.
  • Interoperability among component entities is a pre-requisite to system integration.

Why Should End Users Join IICI?

For end users’, IICI key benefits include:

  • Public list of certified products and system integrators
  • Single unbiased point of compliance testing and certification
  • IICI certified products save lifecycle integration time & costs
  • Reduced costs and time in product selection and deployment
  • Improved system reliability and responsiveness assured by interoperable products…‘out of the box’ to known high degree
  • Provides a “Voice of the Customer” and “Voice of the Market”
  • A voice in IICI and into form of adaptive manufacturing for global economic growth
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