What Is iiRDS, Exactly? A Short Introduction
The tekom working group Information 4.0 started working on iiRDS (intelligent information Request and Delivery Standard) back in 2016.
Their vision was to develop a standard that operates from two different sides: requesting and delivering intelligent information between individual and independent companies. In practice, this means that manufacturers can easily supply many customers with the information for use they require, and customers can also easily integrate information for use from many different manufacturers. Information is intelligent because it is specified to the exact use case and individualized for the person who needs it.
In times of Industry 4.0 and smart factories, this standard opens up new methods of advanced technical communication. Technical documentation in the form of a handbook becomes outdated, slowly but surely – hunting for current information in thousands of pages of documentation is quite ineffective nowadays. iiRDS replaces that procedure with tiny information bits containing just the information needed at the very moment in the exact use case. The user-centricity and the dynamics of iiRDS can be explained with the example of a service technician who, if a machine malfunctions in a production plant, is able to get instructions on how to take adequate action – context-sensitive, right on the spot, and on the preferred mobile device.
Sounds Quite Revolutionary – So How Does iiRDS Work?
Today, many different OEMs need to deliver information to many different customers. The OEM needs to fulfill the customers’ requirements each time on how they want the information to be delivered individually. Sooner or later, this procedure results in a mess. But if a standard is put in between the suppliers and the recipient, this mess is not necessary. A standard in between generates a win-win situation for both OEMs and customers, and this is what iiRDS constitutes: Manufacturers can easily supply many customers with the information for use they require, and customers can also easily integrate information for use from many different manufacturers.
The basic idea: As the print format of documentation dissolves and is transferred to the digital world, a new form of creating context is necessary. The key to this concept is metadata. Metadata can establish the context between single topics and can narrow a whole bunch of topics down to the one. As metadata provide the context, they belong to the scope of delivery just as the information itself does. Providing the function of requesting and delivering information between individual companies is one of the utmost concerns of iiRDS.
The fact that at one company, instructions for use might be called “instructions for use” but, in another company, the same thing might be called a “user guide” or even “user manual”, illustrates that a standard is required. iiRDS is this standardized vocabulary for technical documentation. Companies do not need to adjust their terms – they only need to map their term to the one defined in iiRDS. Simply by doing so, the information exchange between various undertakings is enabled.
And How Does iiRDS Look in Practice?
The metadata can be used to request and deliver information in a concrete context, or as iiRDS puts it, according to concrete use cases that are already defined – for example, delivering exact instructions to a service technician in the event of a malfunction. Welcome to the world of Information 4.0. Be on board with iiRDS by implementing the standard or by becoming a member of our Consortium. Benefit from the advantages from the earliest stage on!
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What iiRDS Is Not
iiRDS can be a lot of things. But there are also things that iiRDS is not. For example, iiRDS is not a tool for content creation. iiRDS's only role is understanding a request and delivering information accordingly via a content delivery portal. Also, iiRDS is not to be seen as a display format. At least one step more must be taken in between to display iiRDS content attractively. And last but not least, iiRDS is not a format for storing content. iiRDS focuses on exchanging information, not storing it.
Specification and RDF Schemes
If you are technically interested in how iiRDS works, feel free to register in the menu on top of this page to have a look at the specification and the RDF schemes in Materials. We also recommend that you register for the newsletter so that you never miss an update about further developments.
iiRDS is published under Creative Commons CC BY ND.