Information & Communication


Interoperability

Technical Applications

Summary

A number of problems arise when computer systems must be made to interoperate with each other. The problem is particularly acute for large-scale integrated systems. Given the custom nature of such systems, open standards have rarely been used in the past for their data management tasks, even where such standards existed. As a result, it is a monumental task to interconnect such systems, as the defense modeling and simulation community has discovered.

ImpactEconomy

The majority of data exchange standards as well as product data exchange mechanisms in widespread use today in the computer industry did not evolve through the coordinated efforts of international standard setting bodies. Instead, most of these standards started as vendor-specific specifications that eventually became widespread de facto standards due to the strong market success of particular products. In many cases, vendors, of these products seeking to capitalize on the economic advantages of owning an industry de facto standard, made their particular specifications widely available, primarily though licensing agreements. Usually, only after a de facto standard has been absorbed throughout the industry, do standard making bodies attempt to define and control such a standard. Because of the importance of interoperability to military systems, the Defense Modeling and Simulation Office (DMSO), has invested significantly during the past few years to develop appropriate standards. The continuation of such standardization efforts is a critical requirement for the foreseeable future. It is also increasingly important in commercial systems as larger and larger computer systems are used for design, manufacturing, and education.

WorldView

Both Europe and Japan have lagged the U.S. in developing their own standards in this area. Neither Japan nor Europe has the worldwide market presence needed to establish a de facto standard. Japanese and European computer makers are still primarily limited to serving their domestic markets and lack strong capabilities to successfully market products internationally.