For systems engineering, systems integration (SI) establishes linkages between hardware (HW), software (SW), products, services, processes and humans. Over the last decade the world of systems development has evolved rapidly particularly in the use of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products as elements of larger systems. The growing trend toward COTS-based systems (CBS) architectures is based on modular components available within the market. This trend has presented various challenges for systems engineering practitioners attempting to understand the implications of using COTS products within these large and complex projects. This paper analyses those unique aspects of COTS products that influence the SI process differently than the integration of ‘in-house’ custom developed products.
Keywords: systems integration, systems life cycle, commercial off the shelf, COTS, COTS-based systems, CBS, systems of systems architecture, systems requirements, systems of systems integration complexity