Interoperability means that different systems, machines or devices can work together, cooperate and to understand each other. Because of interoperability the machines, technologies or systems can achieve synergies. It can be at different levels - both physical connection level - physical functioning (eg. Electricity network) or communication between the two systems (for example, sending e-mails).
Interoperability is achieved by compliance through standards and the compatibility (at the level of systems, interfaces, parameters or communication).
We do not need interoperability in practice?
With interoperability we encounter in everyday life even without knowing it. Because of interoperability we can travel with a mobile phone across the world and make phone calls from any country, because the systems of different mobile operators are interoperable, we can send e-mails from different devices, thanks to interoperability we can plug notebook or any electrical device into a socket anywhere in the world and it works (although socket holes are not the same - they are not compatible, but you can use an adapter).
- At the level of machines and equipment interoperability manifests itself through interfaces and ports - thanks to the compatibility of the physical interface.
- At the level of software we can see results by different applications or programs running in different environments and operating systems (even by themselves incompatible) and they can communicate together via standard interfaces (eg APIs, web services). Thus is enabled by the compatibility of the digital interface.