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Content delivery, automation and a touch of Obi-Wan in technical writing and documentation – the SCHEMA Conference 2017

Technical writing and technical documentation were the focal points of the conference, held once again in Nuremberg on 9th and 10th May 2017. The SCHEMA Group, a provider of high-performance component content management solutions, opened its doors to the annual SCHEMA Conference, this year held for the first time in the Mitte Convention Center at MesseNürnberg. More than 500 delegates from 14 countries attended the conference to learn about the latest developments in technical documentation. Representatives from a number of certified partners from the SCHEMA partner network were also present, who, together with the “best-of-breed” manufacturer, develop solutions for consultancy, translation and implementation, to provide the best possible response to specific customer requirements. Amongst this year's guests were partners A2 documentation, acrolinx, across, C+P, congree, doctima, Dokuwerk, ep Technische Dokumentation, ICMS, Imprimatur, Kaleidoscope, nlg, Schmeling + Consultants, T3, TID Informatik, Transline, urban translation services, text & form and Dr. Rieland Technische Dokumentation.

In a number of workshops and lectures, speakers from the SCHEMA Group gave a detailed presentation of the latest 2017 release of SCHEMA ST4 – the proprietary and now globally used component content management system for a modular approach to technical writing. This year's focus was on content delivery in the context of Industry 4.0 and thus on the SCHEMA Content Delivery Server, known as SCHEMA CDS, a solution also developed at the company's Nuremberg site for the B2B sector. SCHEMA CDS is one of the few content delivery platforms that is currently available on the market as comprehensive standard software. At a packed podium discussion, a panel of experts comprising users, developers, researchers and associations principally discussed the implementation and further development of these new platforms, as well as questions on recoverability. Improved cooperation and optimised workflows were other issues covered this year, which generated huge interest amongst delegates. As well as the announced expansion of the automation workflow in SCHEMA ST4, reports of customer experiences in this regard were presented to the entire audience. SSI Schäfer, an Austrian intralogistics provider, talked about successful cooperation with SCHEMA ST4 as a standard platform for company-wide documentation and communication – with more than two hundred users and three technical writers. SEW Eurodrive also reported successful compliance with exacting standards using SCHEMA ST4. Representing the healthcare sector, Philips Medical Systems talked about the creation and presentation of novel analytics applications for service technicians with SCHEMA.

With 47 partners and speakers and some 40 workshops and presentations, over the two days of the conference, users still had plenty of opportunities to learn about partner solutions and individual features in SCHEMA ST4 and SCHEMA CDS in greater detail. With a slight modification to an Obi-Wan quote from the Star Wars epic, one speaker from SCHEMA Development showed how data analysis and evaluation can be successful. The British SCHEMA partner, Imprimatur Limited, talked about the key role of the SCHEMA Online Media Designer (OMD) in drafting the owner's manual for the new Bentley Continental GT.

The SCHEMA Group presented a workflow-optimised 2-in-1 principle geared to user requirements in the form of the new Catalog Content Integration, which brings together functionalities from the TID, SCHEMA ST4 and SCHEMA CDS content creator to ensure optimum interaction between the spare parts catalogue and operation-, maintenance- and service manuals.

Amongst visitors from international companies, there was particular demand for presentations and proposals in the area of translation management. Specialised partners and SCHEMA experts explained how systems can be used to optimise translation management and how the COTI standard interface supports the connection between the content management system and the translation memory system (TMS). This project launched under the leadership of DERCOM (Association of German Manufacturers of Authoring and Content Management Systems) was a topic of interest in discussions, as was the iiRDS (Intelligent Information Request and Delivery Standard), the data provision standard currently promoted by tekom (European Association for Technical Communication).

As in previous years, newcomers and interested parties had the opportunity on day two to take time out from the experts' presentations and discussions in the SCHEMA CMS Camp to find out about the functionalities and operation of a modern day content management system.

As a welcome break after the first day of the conference, delegates were invited to an evening event at Nuremberg's traditional restaurant, Bratwurst Röslein, in the heart of the Old Town. Then on day two, the Partner Prize Draw, now firmly established in the conference programme, provided a further interlude.

Save the date: the next SCHEMA Conference will be held on 19th and 20th June 2018 in the Mitte Convention Center at MesseNürnberg.