Clear solutions for clear outcomes; interoperability vs compatibility.

Richard Keyse, CEO | 27 Jan, 2023 |

The term “interoperability” has been used for many years within the care sector. Despite this, the care sector lacks a clear definition of interoperability and importantly, how to achieve this.

Widely seen as the key to future proofing care, the consensus is that interoperability is a good thing which leads to:

  • Not being locked into one provider of peripherals.
  • Greater choice of peripherals.
  • Protection against digital component shortages.

Interoperability has become an umbrella term to describe disparate systems, technology and processes working together. Without a clear understanding of what interoperability really is, it is difficult for care providers to set expectations for outcomes enabled by interoperability. At 2iC-Care, we are experts in interoperability and the opportunities it presents so we are taking this opportunity to share our view.

The most common mistake in the care sector is that interoperability is regularly mistaken for “compatibility”.  Compatibility is where a device, hub or dispersed alarm unit (DAU) manufacturer shares its proprietary protocol to enable several devices to integrate. The limitation of compatibility is that integration only occurs within a closed group.

Whilst this is a step forward for the care sector, compatibility does not deliver the future proofed, scalable, and efficient utilisation of the best peripherals that open protocol interoperability offers.

At best, compatibility means a peripheral provider would need to develop a new API for each and every proprietary protocol it wishes to connect with. This adds cost to the buyer, and the process is often long which slows down progress.

Therefore, at its most basic level, interoperability in the care sector should start with an open protocol.

The SCAIP standard has enabled many Hub/DAU’s to interact with many ARC systems freeing up Local Authorities to choose the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) of their choice. However, the majority of Hub/DAU’s continue to use proprietary protocols to connect to peripherals within the home preventing the use of many device types that can improve a domiciliary care offering and personalise remote monitoring.

An open protocol means that any peripheral or solution provider that adheres to the open protocol is instantly accessible by and Hub/DAU. This provides an almost unlimited choice of peripherals for care providers so care can be personalised to each service-user. Additionally, greater choice in the market ensures innovation, competition and competitive pricing.

2iC-Care's technology, Andi, utilises a powerful open protocol.

Before there was 2iC-Care, there was 2iC. 2iC is a technology company that built the Lean Services Architecture (LSA) protocol which enables greatly enhanced bidirectional, digital interoperability in the defence and blue light sectors. The LSA Specification was invented and authored by 2iC and tested and published under the Open Government Licence by the UK Ministry of Defence and been used by many blue-chip companies and governments around the world even in low or intermittent bandwidth environments.

Andi maintains all the interoperability benefits of the 2iC LSA technology to bring true advanced interoperability to the care sector.


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