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In the process of system integration, subsystems are connected to form one system, in which subsystems cooperate and communicate. Software applications are linked together to build a coordinated unit. For this process, several techniques can be made use of: enterprise application integration (EAI), computer networking, process management, or programming.
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Disparate systems are integrated in such a way that they can communicate and receive information. Because of this interaction between (sub-)systems, new possibilities arise – such as data sharing or transfer for application fields like predictive maintenance. Information can be accessed from anywhere.
In vertical integration, subsystems are integrated (according to their functionality) by creating units (information silos) that build a subsystem incapable of communication with other systems. The information is not shared and cannot be accessed as easily and an expansion of functionality is difficult.
Horizontal integration (ESB) allows for communication between subsystems via interfaces connected to a designated subsystem. Standardised data formats like OPC are used to avoid the need for data conversion.