October 2017

Smart and intelligent information

Intelligent information is a hot topic in technical documentation departments these days. In fact, as a tekom survey with German companies from early 2017 revealed, 55.5% of the companies were already discussing this subject.

Altogether 9.1% of the interviewees stated that they had already implemented a solution for intelligent information development, while 11.6% declared that they were in the project planning phase. And in 18.9% of the software companies intelligent information development is already part of the process. As expected, large enterprises with more than 5000 employees were early adopters of this trend. Three quarters of the respondents from these companies confirmed that intelligent information is a relevant topic for them. And 11.4% of these companies significantly more than the overall average of 9.1% have already implemented processes for intelligent information development.

Status of intelligent information development

Industrial enterprises

Software companies

Service providers

Total

Not relevant

44.5 %

52.5 %

36.0 %

45.5 %

In the investigation phase

36.4 %

21.3 %

37.1 %

33.8 %

In the project phase

12.2 %

7.4 %

12.4 %

11.6 %

Already part of the process

6.9 %

18.9 %

14.6 %

9.1 %

 

Table 1: Status of intelligent information development

Characteristics of intelligent information


But what is actually meant by smart and intelligent information? There is neither a single definition of the term, nor its features, nor how it is implemented in companies. Instead different approaches and implementations are considered. The term is used, for example, if a machine or an installation can be maintained or repaired with the help of Augmented Reality. Electronic documentation in the form of "eDok" is also referred to in this context. Intelligent information is modular and format-neutral, adapts dynamically to the application context, can be queried in a targeted manner and be displayed on different output devices. Intelligent information provision in technical communication focuses on the idea that defined target groups receive the information that they need online and in real-time, in a particular context and for a specific purpose.

 

Status of the development of intelligent information

 

Characteristics of the information

Not relevant

In the investigation phase

In the project phase

Already part of the process

Total

Content is reusable

55.00%

70.40%

71.60%

61.20%

61.60%

Targeted compilation and provision of information

47.40%

50.60%

42.00%

44.80%

48.60%

Product content dynamically adapted to the product status

24.30%

21.80%

32.10%

32.80%

25.10%

Content is media-independent and supports different end devices

14.70%

21.40%

35.80%

31.30%

20.90%

Dynamically adapted content provision for individual use cases

11.10%

12.80%

23.50%

29.90%

15.00%

Targeted access for different target groups

6.60%

10.70%

22.20%

23.90%

12.00%

Context-sensitive dynamically adapted content provision

6.30%

9.10%

22.20%

23.90%

10.30%

Content is stored in various networked data sources

6.50%

9.30%

8.00%

14.80%

8.70%

Dynamic content provision from different data sources

4.50%

4.50%

11.10%

14.90%

6.30%

Automated classification of content

2.40%

2.10%

4.90%

13.40%

3.80%

Content can be extended dynamically by further information and / or operating parameters in the application scenario

2.10%

2.50%

7.40%

4.50%

3.00%

Content is networked with content from other manufacturers

0.60%

1.20%

1.20%

7.50%

1.70%

 

Table 2: Status of the development of certain characteristics of intelligent information

 

Information development with intelligent information


Whereas intelligent information refers to features and characteristics of information, technical communication managers must define how the organization and the processes have to be designed so that content, media and technology interact perfectly to allow the development of intelligent information. The results reveal a "must-have" content strategy for intelligent information development: Almost 50% of the companies, where intelligent information development is already part of the process, also have a content strategy, while a further 20% are in the conceptual phase.

Technical implementation of intelligent information


Intelligent information takes place within the context of mobile media and digital provision. After all it is the technical innovation of the new mobile media and its applications that allows intelligent and smart information to be realized at all. Around 30% of the companies, which plan to implement intelligent information within the next two years, rely on browser-based apps. Of those companies where intelligent information development is already part of the process or in the design phase, between 50% and 60% rely on browser-based apps, e.g. on the basis of HTML5.

Information provision


The fact that apps play a crucial role in the creation of intelligent information is also shown by the results regarding the question of how documentation is accessed: In approximately 30% of the companies, where intelligent information is already part of the process, users accessed the technical documentation via apps. This is also true for 26.2% of the companies where intelligent information is in the design phase. In contrast to that only 5.9% of the companies where intelligent information is not relevant use an app for technical documentation.

Future outlook


Industry 4.0 is based on the idea of intelligent and digitally networked systems. This involves the exchange of information as well as the automated control of value-added processes. Industry 4.0 pursues similar solutions as intelligent information. The survey question was how technical communication was interlinked with industry 4.0 projects. It is evident that companies where intelligent information is already part of the process, are involved in industry 4.0 projects about four times as often than companies where intelligent information is not relevant.

Involvement of technical communication in in-house projects for Industry 4.0

Status of intelligent information in the company

Not relevant

In the investigation phase

In the project phase

Already part of the process

No, there are no in-house projects regarding Industry 4.0 in our company.

58.1%

40.2%

35.6%

40.6%

No, although there are in-house projects regarding industry 4.0 in our company.

12.1%

19.7%

12.6%

7.2%

No, but it is being planned.

10.5%

25.5%

19.5%

18.8%

No, and there is no interest either.

15.3%

5.4%

3.4%

14.5%

Yes, we are involved in in-house projects regarding industry 4.0.

4.0%

9.3%

28.7%

18.8%

Table 3: Involvement of technical communication in Industry 4.0 projects


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