Next ITTT Event – Tuesday, May 12

ITTT is delighted to invite you to our next meeting.
The event will be themed around how we can make ourselves more relevant professionally.

Here are the details:
* Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2015
* Time: 15:00 – 18:00
* Location: HP, Yehud

Agenda
Technical Writer, Technical Communicator, Information – Developer, TBD
What could our jobs look like in 2020?
Eli Jacobs, CEO of JBS

Followed by workshops

In preparation for Eli’s talk please read this blog post, and think about the questions presented there. If you are moved to do so, please write a comment to share your experience.

ITTT CONFERENCE_2

This photo was not taken at an ITTT meeting; but we hope a future meeting will look like this

Were very grateful to HP for hosting this next event.
There’s no charge for the event, but…
Since space is limited, you must register in advance by no later than May 10.
To register, send an email to:
ittt.forum@gmail.com

You can check out the first ITTT blog post here.

The ITTT Forum is jointly sponsored by
Tech-Tav Documentation
and
JBS Technical Communication Services

The New Reality of Technical Communication

by Yossi Karp

yossi karp selfie

An Augmented Selfie of Yossi Karp

Technical Communication is on the verge of an upheaval. We have been told for years that the PDF is dying a slow death, to be replaced with on-line, flexible, modular, responsive, and interactive formats.

We are already moving away from the written word as the primary medium for instructional guides. 3D animation and live-action video are engaging ways to communicate information, but those solutions are so pre-2015.

The next big thing in technical communication is augmented reality (AR). When a user looks through glasses, goggles or at a mobile device, software layers virtual objects on top of the physical environment so that it seems to the user that the virtual object is actually there. Users can then interact with those virtual objects in 3D space.

The possibilities for AR are endless. Healthcare, design, gaming, education, marketing, and of course, instructional guides are just some of the practical applications for AR.

Technical communication is about presenting information clearly and in a user-friendly manner. Good technical communication enables users to get on with the job as efficiently as possible. For certain types of documentation, AR answers that need better than any other currently available technology.

Imagine that a service technician needs to replace a part in a machine. The technician puts on a pair of AR glasses and looks at the machine from any angle. The software maps the 3D space, and recognizes the machine and its parts. The technician uses a virtual touch-screen, seemingly suspended in mid-air, to select the required procedure. Screws, panels, and brackets are highlighted so that the technician can easily identify and remove them. The software runs in real-time at the technician’s pace so that it progresses to the next step only when the previous step is successfully completed. Dangerous parts are highlighted with a red overlay, and warning symbols flash if the technician is about to put himself in danger. Visual cues, such as pulsing arrows, show the technician which way to pull the part out of the machine. A voice-over might add to the experience by providing further information, instructions, or safety warnings.

While AR at that level of engagement is exciting to think about, it sounds like something out of Star Trek, Minority Report, or at least, Back to the Future. This concept video from 2009 shows a BMW technician using AR glasses to walk him through the steps of fixing a car. In 2009, those glasses were science fiction. But the thing is, it isn’t 2009 anymore.

There are already tools available to enable you to turn your smartphone or tablet into an AR device. Point the camera at an object and the software recognizes it and overlays virtual 3D elements. The experience is less immersive than a headset, but the technology is proven and is available right now. For instance, in this video the AR application provides instructions for using an Epson multifunction printer. A written procedure, video or even 3D animation can’t provide that level of immersive, interactive communication.

In this example, the user points an iPad at a picture on a printed brochure and the product springs to life in full 3D. Imagine what you can show your users when they point their iPad at a 2D graphic or QR code in your documentation or on your web site. The possibilities are limitless.

Magic Leap, an AR company, recently released this exciting video, showing off some of the cool things they are working on.

Microsoft is planning to release its HoloLens AR headset as soon as December 2015. HoloLens, demonstrated earlier this year, is a powerful, cable-free, stand-alone device that promises to deliver a spectacularly immersive experience. And if you think that devices like HoloLens will be out of the average consumer’s price range, you’d be mistaken. Pundits estimate that the retail price for a HoloLens headset will be between $500-$900 US – cheaper than most mid-range laptops.

 

Augmented reality is not going to replace all forms of technical documentation; the written word, video and animation will still be around for some time. However, augmented reality has real-world advantages that other media do not. As technical communicators, we should explore the possibilities that augmented reality has to offer, and grab the opportunity to get in early on this mind-blowing technology.

Yossi Karp is a Technical Communicator at Stratasys Ltd. He blogs at www.ykarp.com and curates a Flipboard magazine “Everyone Needs One of These” at www.ykarp.com/magazine.

 

 

 

Report from the ITTT Inaugural Forum

Dear Technical Documentation People,

We were pleased to hear the very positive feedback  from the first session of the ITTT Forum. So many of you identified with the need to take a fresh, new look at the future of the technical writing industry in Israel.

Yoni and Steve’s presentations can be found at the links below.

I look forward to provoking you all at the next session of the forum by presenting my views on the future of our field: Technical Writer, Technical Communicator, Information Developer, TBD: What could (or SHOULD) our jobs look like in 2020?

Enjoy the photos and presentations.

Eli Jacobs and Yoni Palmer

Here is Yoni’s presentation: Yoni Palmer on the Future of Technical Content

Here is Steve’s presentation: Steve Wiseman on the wise use of the technical CMS

Here is Nir’s presentation: Nir Gaist on Hackess Denied!

Yoni Palmer kicking off the forum
Yoni Palmer kicking off the forum
ITTT Inaugural Forum -  where is the next generation?
ITTT Inaugural Forum – where is the next generation?
Nir Gaist, founder of Nyotron, an exciting cynersecurity startup - making sure we never forget the "technical" in technical writing
Nir Gaist, founder of Nyotron, an exciting cybersecurity startup. The ITTT includes talks about current technologies because we want to make sure we never forget the “technical” in technical writing.