The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) 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 developed in partnership with its members. For example, the Water Supply and Gravity Sewerage Codes and industry standards are particularly important to the water industry. These reference ‘bibles’ 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.
We met WSAA’s Carl Radford (Program Manager Asset Creation) 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 involving 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 update their content to cater to each 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. However, we quickly concluded that the complexities of editing and maintaining extensive 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 you could instantly use and understand. However, 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 slow – walk before we ran – 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. However, at this stage, they were happy to see the tangible outcomes that tekReader was constantly delivering.
The two principal Codes also needed to be published in PDF. Moving the WSAA membership to a brand new eReader technology was going to be a challenge, and PDF was required as a fallback to those unwilling to make the bold jump … more education to the masses was needed. 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 principal 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 platform components (tekAuthor), we were ready to bring the other utilities on board – 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 home offices.
tekReader provides end-user online 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 many hidden costs in creating its documentation and provided essential updates to its entire membership. For example, technical meetings that brought members from different Australian jurisdictions under one roof were almost eliminated, saving costs associated with planning, time, travel, accommodation, and disbursements.
Support is now a very efficient process. For example, someone with authoring difficulties 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 and links to support material. The information is then attached to the task and returned to the author for reference. It is also stored “under one roof” for others to access if they encounter a similar issue.
WSAA currently enjoys a 60% cost savings since adopting the tek.PS platform and is 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 this would transform 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 high-quality content and get it to market quickly.” David Courchesne said.
David’s start-up challenge was to find the right technology fit for digital textbook creation, publishing and distribution that was also cost-effective.
Conventional eBooks are usually 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 these complex 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 required an interactive document delivery platform that supported complex scientific equations and tables and integrated seamlessly with existing user management and paywall systems.
At the same time 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 lightweight 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. It was the de facto industry standard in desktop authoring and publishing technical content at the time.
eGloo is an Adobe FrameMaker reseller and training partner with extensive experience and expertise with FrameMaker and XML. eGloo leveraged Adobe FrameMaker’s structured authoring environment and integrated a lightweight content mark-up model based on the existing HTML5 standard. Because of this, content creation and maintenance was a straightforward 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. In addition, 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 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 the functionality to bookmark, highlight, take notes, page flip and access specialised glossaries and tables of content,” said Maryse Coziol.
The authoring environment easily supports 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. In addition, 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 KPIs!”.
“The game-changer is the behavioural shift that tekReader has facilitated on campus. Before tekReader, the readership split was 70/30 between desktop computers and mobile devices. 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. Their traditional technical writing market is enterprises using FrameMaker to create 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.”