This month ADG has been celebrating 20 years of delivering software and services to Air, Sea, Land and Space Programs. My inbox continues to fill up with the same question from my customers and colleagues – what next for ADG and OneStrand? I believe what they are really asking is “what will the next 20 years bring to the technical data management sector globally”.
Every day I view tenders from many sectors around the globe. These RFT’s are good indicators of what industry is expecting from their software and service providers. I’m also in constant contact with my customers and partners, discussing future technologies and product directions. I’ll use this 20 year immersion in the tech data sector to polish my crystal ball and attempt to answer the “what’s next” question.
Let’s look at content creation. Over the last five years Writing Teams have been asked to do more with less. More and more Authors are expecting more automation in their authoring tools. Not only do they expect Spell-checkers, they need Simplified Technical English (STE) checkers, along with Schema Validation and Layered BREX Validation, combined with Workflow built in, not bolted on.
On the image front, SVG is coming back in a big way. Readers want the same high resolution and image manipulation as CGM but without the need for CGM Viewer plug-ins on PC’s and tablets.
In the late 90’s the term “Multi-channel Publishing” hit the market. You would take a single document and simply publish it to PDF, HTML, and SGML with one tool. Adobe FrameMaker in particular championed this Multi-channel strategy. Fast forward 20 years to 2017, seamless access to up to date content is what the market expects. ADG met this demand in 2016 with the release of our Content Distribution and Management System (CDMS). CDMS seamlessly publishes and auto-updates S1000D IETP’s to Windows PC and Tablets in both online and off-line modes.
I’ve also been waiting for Engineering Data Management applications to take a bigger role in content creation. As the Internet of Things makes more EDM and LSAR software vendors revisit their tool sets, we will see Data Modules and Illustrations pushed directly into S1000D Common Source Databases (CSDB’s).
I like many others have also been watching the Augmented Reality (AR) sector with interest. I believe AR is an excellent technology for training operators and maintainers even, before equipment is built and delivered. Although I am not convinced that it will become the default imagery used on the maintenance floor in the next 10 years.
What is here and now is the rapid adoption of CSDB systems in the Cloud as organisations look to handle their requirements to deliver S1000D, while reducing I.T. costs. The cloud also lets your CSDB service provider become an extension of your authoring team. They can provide writers, consultants and illustrators on demand, all working in the same system and workflows. This cloud based blend of in-house authoring and external teaming will become the norm with the exception of classified Military programs.
This snapshot does not cover the next 20 years and in fact it probably won’t even cover the next 10, but it is certainly reflects what I am seeing as expected delivery today and into the near future.
I will be at the S1000D User Forum in New Orleans in September 2018, where I look forward to speaking with customers, partners and visiting delegates on what their predictions are for the future of Tech Data Management. I hope to see you there – hover boards, flying car’s and other future technology is optional!
CEO, Absolute Data Group (Celebrating 20 years!)
MD, OneStrand LLC