Water Services Association of Australia is the peak industry body representing the urban water industry. Their members provide water and sewerage services to over 20 million customers in Australia and New Zealand and many of Australia’s largest industrial and commercial enterprises.
WSAA maintains a wide range of valuable resources that have been developed in partnership with its members. Particularly important to the water industry are the Water Supply and Gravity Sewerage Codes and industry standards. These are the reference ‘bibles’ that guide water utilities, designers and constructors in providing cost-effective, sustainable water and wastewater services to the Australian community and its commercial and industrial enterprise.
When we first met WSAA’s Carl Radford (Program Manager Asset Creation) it was at their Melbourne offices. He had a copy of the Water Supply Code sitting on the meeting table, in two “BIG” white A4 binders stacked on top of one another. He informed us that they authored in Microsoft Word and published to PDF which was then pushed up to their online library.
Code creation, updating and publishing was all a manual process that also involved the Sydney Water, Hunter Water, Melbourne Retail Water Association (MRWA) and South East Queensland (SEQ) water utilities. The utilities collaborated with Carl by using the WSAA IP (Word Docs) to make updates to their content to cater for each particular jurisdiction. The collaboration was all done through emails, phone calls and post-it notes that hung off Carl’s desktop computer.
We were amazed that with all the manual processes and ad hoc collaboration methods, the quality of the subject matter remained high. We quickly concluded that the complexities of editing and maintaining large resources collaboratively with many editions and versions required a longer-term solution.
We demonstrated tekReader to the WSAA team, indicating that this was our flagship product. An HTML5 eReader that was a component from our tek.PS platform – the end delivery platform. It was tangible, very cool and something that you could instantly use and understand. All the downstream processing, the data stuff and the products you needed to populate the content to tekReader was more complicated – “0s” and “1s”, propeller head”, XML technologies – all of which 99% of new clients have a difficult time grasping.
We had to start out slow – walk before we run – so we migrated the WSAA Water Supply and Gravity Sewerage Codes to our tek.PS platform. Throughout this migration project we also educated WSAA on the benefits of XML publishing. They were aware of the strengths but were not ready to make the jump to use it. At this stage they were happy to see the tangible outcomes that tekReader was constantly delivering.
The two main Codes also needed to be published to PDF. Moving the WSAA membership to a brand new eReader technology was going to be a challenge and PDF was needed as a fallback to those not willing to make the bold jump … more education to the masses was needed … so this was done through workshops and seminars. The PDF output was attainable due to the power of XML and multi-channel publishing.
Once the two main Codes were in place the integrated Codes needed to be completed for the other utilities. eGloo did the heavy lifting for this stage of the project. At the same time, we started training WSAA with the downstream authoring, document processing, workflows, collaboration and the products that made it all tick. Once WSAA was familiar with these components of the platform (tekAuthor) we were ready to start bringing the other utilities on onboard – let the online collaboration begin!
tek.PS now offers WSAA and associated utilities a platform to author, collaborate, manage and scale publishing efficiencies – all online. During the COVID outbreak it has served as a reliable, effective and efficient tool for all stakeholders to create and maintain their Codes from the comfort of their own home offices.
tekReader provides end-user on-line enhancements through increased interactivity of large technical diagrams and pop-up definitions. Numerous navigational mechanisms increase efficiency for quick and easy discovery of content. Viewing codes and standards on any device, especially smartphones and tablets, improves accessibility for practitioners in the field.
From a business perspective WSAA has eliminated a vast amount of hidden costs to create their documentation, as well as providing important updates to their entire membership. Technical meetings that brought members from different Australian jurisdictions under one roof have almost been eliminated, saving costs associated with planning, time, travel, accommodation, and associated disbursements.
Support is now a very efficient process. If a person is having authoring difficulties, they can submit a task on the platform. Once eGloo receives the task the update can be made. A video is also created that shows how the issue was resolved, as well as links to support material. The information is then attached to the task and sent back to the author for reference. It is also stored “under one roof” for others to access if they come across a similar issue.
WSAA currently enjoys a 60% cost savings since adopting the tek.PS platform and are constantly discovering other indirect savings across their business model … oh, and the post-it notes have disappeared from Carl’s computer.
Canadian tech consultant and entrepreneur David Courchesne had an idea for a new business in the traditional academic publishing market. He identified the need to demystify the combination of digital textbook publishing and partnering with academic authors. He believed that this would transform both the “textbook” time to market and the overall student reader experience.
“Textbook publishing still has a barrier to entry where the production process requires specialist technical knowledge and the distribution networks are controlled by established industry players. “I want to democratise the opportunity for any lecturer or teacher to create and publish their own high-quality content and get it to market quickly.” David Courchesne said.
David’s start-up challenge was to find the correct technology fit for digital textbook creation, publishing and distribution that was also cost-effective.
Conventional eBooks are usually all textual-based, straightforward to publish and delivered to various proprietary platforms. Production complexities multiply exponentially when content is peppered with complex document constructs that are not well supported by conventional eReader and proprietary e-book formats. Large industry publishers have the expertise, digital platforms and specialist software to wrangle with these difficult constructs … but it all comes at a cost.
For a one-person start-up, David needed a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) technology that stripped away the complexities. He also needed a document delivery platform that was interactive, supported complex scientific equations and tables and integrated seamlessly with existing user management and paywall systems.
About the same time that David was looking for a solution, eGloo had just launched their first iteration of the tekReader publishing platform. An end-to-end document delivery model in the cloud.
The first iteration had three layers:
The authoring (tekAuthor) component was developed around a light-weight template that worked with several XML editors, Word for Windows and other popular authoring tools. eGloo chose to launch the tekAuthor template using Adobe FrameMaker, at the time it was the de facto industry standard in desktop authoring and publishing of technical content.
eGloo is an Adobe FrameMaker reseller and training partner and have extensive experience and expertise with FrameMaker and XML. eGloo leveraged Adobe FrameMaker’s structured authoring environment and integrated a light-weight content mark-up model based on the existing HTML5 standard. Because of this, content creation and maintenance was a straight-forward process and enabled document delivery automation to a global audience.
“While complex content structuring and reuse strategies may be a requirement for large specialist organisations, eGloo has worked to bring technical content authoring to the masses by offering a clever configuration that eliminates complexity while adopting a bottom-up approach. The process incorporates simplified XML content for automation, efficiency and quality.” said Don Stolee, eGloo’s founder.
A basic online search connected the Canadian start-up with the Australian tech innovator. It quickly became apparent to David Courchesne that the tekReader publishing product was the perfect fit for his new venture. He emailed Don Stolee indicating that,
“I believe your company and tekReader product is the key to my success.”
With the publishing technology in place and ready to go, David Courchesne partnered with Maryse Coziol (Digital Production Manager) and Class2Digital was officially up and running in 2016.
“tekReader eBooks are published in an immersive, interactive web-based interface that is responsive and adaptive for any browser. It has functionality to bookmark, highlight, take notes, pageflip and access specialised glossaries and tables of content.” said Maryse Coziol.
The authoring environment easily support multiple languages which also suited Class2Digital as their audience was predominantly geared towards the French-Canadian market. The first two accounting textbooks were published using tekReader which involved academics from the University of Sherbrook. It was a successful start to David’s venture.
Maryse also added,
“With my experience in digital production, I was impressed with the simplicity of the powerful authoring workflows to build the textbook components. The eReader technology means we can use web analytics metrics to assist with future editions and product development – each chapter can be measured for performance and given KPI’s!”.
“The game-changer is definitely the behavioural shift that tekReader has facilitated on campus. Prior to tekReader the split of readership was 70/30 between desktop computers and mobile devices. Now, with tekReader’s optimal user experience the split is 30/70 in favour of tekReader!”
For Adobe, FrameMaker in the education sector is a new market to explore. Their traditional technical writing market is enterprises using FrameMaker for the creation of complex product guides, user manuals etc.
Adobe’s Principal Product Marketing Manager Saibal Bhattacharjee said, “eGloo Technologies have done a remarkable job configuring FrameMaker for their tekReader platform, and repurposing FrameMaker for success in newer markets. This is exactly the sort of innovation and product development Adobe is inspired to partner with.”