I3 Concepts

Information = Context + Data

For more than four decades, computer analysts and programmers have been creating systems to manage every kind of information.  Millions of man hours have been invested in constructing these information collections, but most of them can be used only by applications specifically designed for that purpose.  ZONAR’s intelligent  information interchange (I3) technology addresses the general characteristics of information housed in computer systems and the methods available to facilitate the sharing of that information among all applications that may have a need for it.

I3 is based on the equation: Information = Context + Data.  Data (for example, the number 45) cannot convey information without context (SpeedLimit in MPH).  Traditionally, information has been split into context and data during the design and programming of computer systems. The context is embedded in the program and database structure while data is stored elsewhere. The context and data are brought back together in the displays, forms and reports the users see as information.

Exchange of information among diverse application systems is hampered by context and data separation, since each component must be managed separately.  In order for a traditional “data only” exchange to succeed, the context must be identical in the communicating systems, or programs must be written to convert the data to fit alternate contexts.  I3 solves these problems by combining context and data into a single object which can be processed as an information package.  Each Information Object contains not only data, but also all the properties and relationships which describe the meaning of that data.  This allows precise interpretation and true semantic processing of the object even if the originating system is unknown.

Utilization of I3 technology for integration and development projects provides a number of far-reaching benefits:

  • As the number of applications included in a traditional integration project grows, each new addition requires more interface mappings than the previous one.  The resources required to develop and maintain these interfaces can quickly become prohibitive.  I3’s universally applied Information Object model requires only a single mapping to enable communication with all other integrated applications.
  • Restraints imposed by existing business processes and rigid workflow infrastructures are often obstacles to satisfying real-world needs for sharing information.  I3 technology makes information “understandable” throughout the enterprise, and management of that information through ZONAR’s Information Sharing System (ISS) provides asynchronous interchange and independent publish/subscribe capability to meet virtually any access requirement.
  • In addition to the initial integration project, the issues of maintenance of the new interfaces, future integration of previously excluded or newly acquired systems, and expansion outside enterprise boundaries need to be considered.  The ISS is designed to provide a permanent information management capability, which will become increasingly important in the information-driven IT environment of the future.