Interoperability is a characteristic of a product or system, whose interfaces are completely understood, to work with other products or systems, present or future, in either implementation or access, without any restrictions.
Read that again.
Completely understood, work with other products, present or future, no restrictions.
Interoperability, together with standards, makes integration so much easier. It enables so many vendors to participate in a supportive way, providing you with an explosion of choice.
EtherNet/IP is a certifiable standard. Four independent groups promote the network as a public domain application, including the ODVA, the Industrial Open Ethernet Association (IOANA), Control Net International (CI) and the Industrial Ethernet Association (IEA).
More About CIP
EtherNet/IP is part of CIP, the Common Industrial Protocol. CIP defines the object structure and specifies the message transfer. CIP is very efficient. Its producer-consumer communication model allows multiple receiving devices to consume data from a single sending device at once.
CIP is an object-oriented protocol, which provides for structural standardization across a broad vendor community. Each CIP object has attributes (data), services (commands), connections and behaviors (relationship between attribute values and services). The ODVA manages a library of objects that vendors can build from, including a range of functions from network communications to behavior of I/O.
This is where CIP provides for interoperability. These objects are designed to perform in a standard, consistent way. A group of objects used in a single device constitutes an object model. Device Profiles are standardized object models for common devices, such as VFDs. The VFD device profile, for example, would contain a standard motor object. These profiles provide for functional basics, such as network communications, as well as device configuration, information, behavior, etc. This allows the vendor community enough freedom to make design enhancements without having multiple structures for common devices.
 ODVA – Common Industrial Protocol