Ever Wondered What’s the Difference Between Interface and Integration?

Cam Richardson from ITC Systems shares his insights on the importance of learning the technical vocabulary.

The rapid advancements of technology are something that demands all of us develop a working knowledge of this technology. How is it used, how do you stay informed, what is the basic structure of the systems and solutions and how is it applied to your day-to-day functions. Understanding the connection between the systems and the operations will aid in the knowledge of technology.

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A good starting place is to get technical vocabulary and what this means. Of course, with all the acronyms and terminology you can easily be baffled and as some are used interchangeably it can be confusing to say the least.  Attention to detail usually is difficult and can end up frustrating the reader/user to the point where the learning process of the programs and technical aspects will end a quiet death.

Navigating technical language is a roadblock for many people as it hinders their understanding of the functions within there daily workplace.  As one example, what is the difference between interfaces and integration?


One of the most common descriptions of a system interface is a boundary across which two independent systems meet and act on or communicate with each other or in other words a bridge connecting separate islands of data. An interface can be unidirectional from one side of the bridge to the other, allowing traffic to flow in a single direction. Put another way, this bridge does not offer a route for a round-trip journey. A bidirectional interface is a bridge with two separate lanes of traffic moving in opposite directions.

But this bridge only connects two islands. What about bridges which connect a chain of islands, from one to another to another?  From one island to the next to the next and so on is how we steer from system to system to accomplish seemingly simple tasks however this illusion of simplicity is deceptive.


Integration is a fairly ambiguous term and can be difficult to comprehend. Integration can best be understood when one envisions how we use technology in our daily lives.

You’re working at your computer entering information, on your screen you cross-reference data, view results from another system and review other relevant information without ever leaving that one page.  In effect, all workflows within an integrated system appear to be seamless, allowing them to gain access to all this information via one process. User activity is completed in one step, with no delays related to translation, transition or copying data.

Integration allows a user to employ multiple systems simultaneously from a single place and is for the end-user as its entire purpose is efficiency and value to the person using the technology. So, you see technology is all about the details and understanding how systems interrelate. The next time you perform a simple task think about what may be happening in the background to make this happen. You will be surprised at what you know when you perform this exercise.

About ITC Systems

ITC Systems, a multi-national corporation with offices in St Louis and Toronto, is the industry’s dominant manufacturer of self-serve unattended cashless payment terminals in North America. Founded in 1989, the company maintains a large dealer network throughout North America and Internationally. ITC Systems markets to colleges and universities, copy/print VAR’s and other institutions that charge for the use of products and services in self-serve and unattended cashless environments. Applications include POS, copy and print control, food service outlets, vending, laundry, parking and other cashless applications. To learn more about ITC Systems, please visit www.itcsystems.com.



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