School of Information Systems

System Integration

  • What is System integration?  

System Integration is the process of integrating all the physical and virtual components of an organization’s system. The physical components consist of the various machine systems, computer hardware, inventory, etc. The virtual components consist of data stored in databases, software, and applications. The process pf integrating all these components, so that act like a single system, is the focus of system integration. Harmonious integration creates a unique selling point for businesses. For example, Apple is aware of the importance of seamless integration between its products, aiming to deliver the ultimate user experience. In fact, smooth integration is a prerequisite in modern society. In other words, societies need products and services that can be used effortlessly in the appropriate context. Examples of the need for integration can be found across different disciplines and industries. Augmented Reality and its integration with human life in the form of cameras, wearables, games or educational products reminds us of the need for the integration of technology with everyday life. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are other examples of technology being used to facilitate higher capabilities and better performance (Rajabalinejad, 2018a).  

  • Humans in system integration  

This section will clarify the different ways of dealing with integration in several engineering disciplines and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of these different approaches. In the most basic sense, system integration requires system elements to be integrated. For this reason, different components have to be be integrated to create subsystems, which in turn have to be be coordinates to make a framework. Frameworks regularly got to be worked or overseen by people to make an operational framework. Within the writing, the part of people in such framework integration is defined in different ways.  

  • System Integration fundamentals  

One of the primary tasks for engineering design, systems engineering, or risk management is to ensure at least the safe but, preferably, the optimal integration of a system with its environment. To do otherwise would lead to extra costs. Addressing the relationships between the system, subsystems, the environment and people is paramount for safe system integration. These relationships, or interfaces, are thus one of the core issues in proper integration. Systems engineering focuses on the system of interest (of which the human is a part) and the environment of the system of interest.  

  • Example of Application 

Safe integration of Automatic Train Operation (ATO)  

With continuous increase in the need for transportation, more and more passengers and cargo have to be carried by rail. In recent years, railway faced tremendous growth but with limited increase in capacity, making railway network more and more saturated (Lagay & Adell, 2018; Rao, Montigel, & Weidmann, 2013a). Two major methods to tackle these challenges are real-time rescheduling and automatic train operation (ATO). Real-time rescheduling increases efficiency of infrastructure management by dealing with deviations, breakdowns and incidents, while automatic train operation is an on-board approach available to minimise the loss of efficiency caused by manual operation. ATO is regarded as a promising solution to meet abovementioned challenges (Lagay & Adell, 2018). ATO is an on-board concept for all phases of the train operation, from acceleration to precise stopping, which implements train-level optimisation to help train operators realise automation and exact operation (Lagay & Adell, 2018).  

  • Conclusion 

People are increasingly demanding up-to-date technologies that are seamlessly integrated with their everyday life. The increasing complexity of high-tech systems raises the need for supporting tools enabling proper integration of newly developed technologies. The challenge is far beyond technical systems and requires more than the integration of hardware, software and humans in relation to a single product or system. Integration activities take place across the full lifecycle and are not limited to the design or production phases. The role of humans in systems integration is defined differently in different disciplines. This study concludes that an understanding of the role of humans in safety standards will facilitate systems integration. The study also found that the role of the technical system, humans and the environment are fundamental to systems integration.

Marisa Karsen