Measures of Interoperability

Measures of Interoperability

Supriya Ghosh (Arcadia Concepts, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-854-3.ch003
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Now that we have discussed today’s information enterprise, this chapter focuses on the larger concept of interoperability. The definition of this word is not simple and a lot has written about this topic, so this chapter focuses on providing an objective definition of the subject matter. It then defines particular types of interoperability and how these types are measured. It defines the concept of loosely coupled systems, and how to obtain greater interoperability through looser coupling. It describes an objective way to measure interoperability based on the LISI profile in use by the DoD and NATO. It then provides an understanding of architecture strategies for achieving greater interoperability. It ends the chapter by discussing interoperability measures within large-scale distributed systems.
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As you explore Chapter 3, it will cover the following topics:

  • A Broad Definition of Interoperability

  • Types of Interoperability

  • Interoperability based on Loose Coupling

  • Measures of Interoperability

  • Architecture Strategies for Greater Interoperability

  • Interoperability in Large-Scale Distributed Systems


A Broad Definition Of Interoperability

This chapter explores the other important concept that is within the title of this book, namely the word, Interoperability. As a concept, Interoperability goes hand in hand with the Net Centric vision. Since interoperability is a complex topic, this chapter provides a discussion on its definition and how interoperability should be measured across the information enterprise.

A popular perception within the technology industry is that interoperability is synonymous with connectivity. However, true interoperability is much more than just connectivity. Making two entities interoperable involves an integration of operational concepts and scenarios, policies, processes, and procedures. Within the net-centric context, interoperability is considered to be a desired but unattainable goal rather than a condition that can be quantified. It is understood that systems may choose to be either interoperable or not interoperable based on their function and day-to-day operations. For this reason, developing and applying precise measurements for this area is multidimensional and complex. The DoD admits that within their military forces and equipment, serious interoperability deficiencies exist today. For years, each of the Armed Force Services that includes the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines have all had their own set of applications and platforms that were by design made to not be interoperable with other systems. One of the detractions of a command and control structure is the issue of low interoperability – this has been identified in all recent, allied, joint, and combined operations and exercises.

Hence, most government agencies along with large corporate organizations recognize that there is a greater need for interoperability. This notion is also shared across the globe by many other countries along with the respective country’s military. Interoperability has been identified as a major issue by NATO which has to combine foreign forces along with disparate systems from a host of different countries, all following a separate set of information technology standards.

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