Technical writers support IOT. As the Internet of things continues to evolve, technical communicators will need to create content that supports audience demand for unlimited inter-connectivity of people to people, people to machine, and machine to machine. Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler, and presenter, Alexander Hoffmann, Technical Documentation Head at Xeditor.com.
The Internet of things (IoT)
IoT is the network of our Smart devices like cars, Smart homes, and household appliances with software, sensors, and actuators that allow these objects to interact.
The exchange of data within the IoT extends the internet’s connectivity well beyond PCs and phones to include a wide range of remotely controlled and monitored (formerly) non-internet-enabled appliances.
Applications of the IoT will be most important in Smart homes, elder care, and artificial intel. The IoT will automate factories and transportation, as well as energy management and environmental monitoring.
The Internet of Things and the Future of Technical Communication
The IoT has begun to provide an infrastructure to connect data with objects without the need for human interaction. If myriad devices and systems are understood and run by machines, will we still need instructions typed up by a Tech Pub team?
The answer is yes and no. Print manuals will no longer be practical or necessary and will likely disappear as laws requiring printed matter expire. Documentation will still be needed, however, and will be accessed on the internet, in the product, or printed on the product itself.
Technical Writers will produce Smart Content
Smart content is Intelligent content. A definition of Intelligent content developed by Ann Rockley, President, The Rockley Group:
Intelligent content is content which is not limited to one purpose, technology or output. It’s content that is structurally rich and semantically aware, and is therefore discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable and adaptable.*
For a detailed explanation of Ic, its benefits, and how it impacts industry, see Ann Rockley’s article, What Is Intelligent Content?
Technical writers will develop Intelligent content for:
- Technical documentation
- Multiple devices, for multiple products, in multiple locales, to multiple audiences
When you add structural and semantic meaning to content, organizing, searching, processing, and discovery are greatly improved, which also increases the value of the data.
Technical writers support IOT. Technical writers will likely become information managers to ensure that the content is Smart or Intelligent. In manufacturing, managing interdepartmental communication and feedback from the customer will be critical to the goals of the company.
*Quotation attributed to Ann Rockley came from the book she co-authored with Charles Cooper: Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy, 2nd ed. (Berkeley: New Riders, 2012).