Technology pitstops are critical items I tell projects that they must consider. The way we produce, deliver and manage tech data today is vastly different to how we will provide data over the coming years. We only have to look at the changes in technological capability over the last few years to appreciate the rate tech moves on.

These changes in technology advancements will impact how we can manage and deploy our data on long-life projects.

The typical platform will span generations of users, maintainers and owners. The way the data was initially produced on the project will change drastically as time passes by.

Todays, IETP is seen by many as considerable advancements in data deployment technology. When in fact, the IETP option has been around for a significant amount of time. Many vendors are now looking to the ‘next generation’ IETP through Augmented Reality deployments.

The difficulty is that we do not know what we do not know. We know that technology is evolving and rapidly. We know that even looking back a few years, technology and capability have changed. So what can we do?

Firstly we can monitor the market and see what technology is doing. Many companies now have ‘innovation cells’ that look at emerging technology. We can also use tools that are available to us. A good example is the Gartner Hype Curve, an industry-accepted indicator of emerging tech trends, where it sits in the curve and where it is going. (for more information

Secondly, we can plan project reviews. Where is tech now compared to when we started the project? Should we be adopting, migrating toward adoption?

The best possible advice I can give to projects is to keep your data in as a neutral format as you possibly can. Adopting standards and specifications early on will make migration in the future smoother. Avoid tools that take your data and manage it in ‘unique’ ways.

Littering the project landscape are examples of where projects are propping up legacy systems, unsupported operating systems, and hardware. The tools used are not ‘forward compatible’, or the held data is proprietary to a software system.

With our products living much longer and technology changing rapidly, we must have a strategy for data control and management that enables future tech adoption and does not disable our abilities to be innovative decades into product deployment. Having the flexibility to adopt new technologies opens the project, despite being in service for generations, new ways of being efficient and data current.

What are your thoughts? Do you plan on technology stops?

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Mike Ingledew

A trained aircraft engineer (rotorcraft), I entered in to the field of technical information writing S1000D data modules on a major European military platform.

After a series of high profile project roles and the privilege of supporting clients worldwide, I ended my 'employed' career at a subsidiary of Boeing Aircraft after I decided to leave and focus on TDW full-time.

From my time supporting clients worldwide, I could see that there was a market need for an independent organisation that could be a trusted advisory source for those needing to implement successful technical information strategies.

I am passionate about the art of technical communications and the process, software and skills needed in our market.

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