Predictions for Content Lifecycle Management for the year ahead are always tricky. You must be mindful to look far enough ahead to pick an interesting technology or trend, which may not be familiar to everyone, in order to educate and inspire the reader; yet your picks need to be mature enough to be realistically adopted in the chosen timeframe. This aligns with my theory of the ‘Innovation Paradox’ when it comes to aerospace information technology. In order to gain traction in the aerospace IT market, one must be able to demonstrate innovation and adoption of the latest and greatest technology platforms and trends. However, one must not necessarily expect to realize an instant return on an investment in such solutions, as early adopters in aerospace engineering are a reasonably rare breed. A demonstration of innovation by an aerospace software vendor offers the chance of future proofing; however, an immediate trusted, solid and reliable solution is what the majority of aviation IT customers are seeking.
With this in mind, I have chosen emerging trends in Content Lifecycle Management (CLM) to keep an eye on in 2016. They can be summarized as the 3 A’s of CLM:
Agnosticism, Aggregation & Augmented Reality
None of these concepts are especially new, but collectively I believe these themes represent the shape of things to come in 2016 with regards to the demands of aerospace operators, aviation MROs and OEMs and their requirements for technical content lifecycle management.
The concept of agnosticism in an information technology context has been around for several years. It usually refers to software or hardware solutions that have been designed so that they are interoperable among various systems. You will often hear reference to device or platform-agnostic software especially in mobility. This is software that will run on, or is supported by multiple devices or operating systems. With regards to CLM, then content and format agnostic solutions would be of interest as they support multiple document and content types and formats, be they XML, SGML, PDF and so on, from multiple content sources. A business-process agnostic solution functions in different business environments across an enterprise supporting multiple user groups and workflows.
Agnosticism is an increasingly important trend in technical content lifecycle management, as users are seeking to optimize their processes for creating, delivering and consuming content across their entire enterprise, therefore requiring the chosen solution to support any content, on any platform on any device.
The problem with many OEM solutions is that they only support the OEM’s own products and models. Some content lifecycle management, health monitoring and other related diagnostic tools only work on a portion of an operator’s fleet. This results in some mixed-fleet users suffering from ‘Swivel Chair Syndrome’. Symptoms include a sore neck from having to maintain several systems across multiple screens and then having to keep an eye on all of them. As with Agnosticism, users expect their systems to be compatible with all content types, regardless of source, and to manage the lifecycle of their content in one single-aggregated solution.
Again, this is not a new technology, but one I predict will come to the fore in 2016. Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are supplemented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics, GPS other meta data. I featured the potential usage of an augmented reality based future software solution for paperless aircraft maintenance in my keynote presentation at the Airline and Aerospace MRO & Operations IT conference in Bangkok last year.
Gartner’s 2015 Hype Cycle had augmented reality cruising the downward slope towards the trough of disillusionment back in October 2015, but with the increasing development of 3D assets by OEMs for next generation models and with the emergence of a new breed of interesting hardware such as Microsoft’s Hololens and ODG’s R7 Smart Glasses, augmented reality is expected to be an actual reality in 2016.
How accurate are these predictions? Only time will tell, but if we don’t see a growth of these trends in 2016 I will be: Amazed, Astounded and Aghast…
That’s 3 more A’s for CLM in 2016 for you!