PLM, Expensive Documentation and Cheap Texbooks

PLM, Expensive Documentation and Cheap Texbooks

Apple is going to eduction. Bam… It sounds fantastic. Textbooks are on the iPad. I was screening few publications about this event yesterday. One of them specifically caught my attention – Publisher Terry McGraw on Steve Jobs and Digital Textbooks: “This Was His Vision”. Another one from Mashable – Why the iPad Won’t Transform Education — Yet. You can ask me – how is iPad educational story is related to PLM? Here is what I’m thinking…

Technical Publication

The topic of product documentation is very important to manufacturing companies. Customer demands with regards to the product documentation are growing. It should be rich and precise. The stuff that was completely appropriate 5 years ago, today is obsolete. Customers are interested how to have a high-quality documentation, technical instructions and maintenance manuals. I’d like to quote Jim Brown of Tech-Clarity. Here is the passage from his paper “The business of 3D Technical communication“:

3D product communication goes beyond flat, static documents to incorporate richer, interactive, more realistic representation of products.

PLM vendors started to think about applications in this field already 5-6 years ago. It ended in multiple acquisitions and partnerships. PTC acquired Abotext back in 2006. Dassault acquired Seemage (aka 3DVIA Composer) in about the same timeframe. I can bring few more examples.

Tablet Computer and Technical Publication Platforms

iPad introduction and following golden rush of alternative post-PC platforms are presented new opportunity to PLM software vendors. You can see how companies are trying to approach a tablet platform for delivery of technical publication stuff. Below you can see two examples – one from PTC Arbotext and the second one is coming from Cortona3d

PLM and Technical Documentation

In my view, the value of product documentation and technical publicaton is clear. An interesting point if you think will be possible to convert high-quality product documentation into sellable assets. Actually, in my view, companies can try to do so. What if manufacturing companies will start selling (or renting) product documentation the same way Apple plan to sell textbooks? I don’t think it is crazy.

What is my conclusion? Do you think PLM vendors, and their partners will start buying iPad maintenance textbook on the iPad? Who knows? At least, it becomes obvious that sometime the most successful business models are sounds like a crap in the beginning.  Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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