The Importance of Good Hardware and Software Documentation

[fa icon='calendar'] Jul 11, 2016 2:37:03 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in audience, content, data sheet, design, Developer, document, documentation, engineer, General, hardware, hierarchy, Nathan Rockershousen, organization, outline, project, reader, software, style, task, technical writing, The Importance of Good Hardware and Software Docum, user manual, writer, writing

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By Nathan Rockershousen, Technical Writer

Technical documentation can be intimidating because it needs to include technically complex information in an “easy to digest” fashion. Having reliable documentation is crucial in helping users figure out how to use a product as well as aiding writers and developers in creating work of consistent and high quality. Whether the documentation is software or hardware oriented, it is essential that it focuses on a diverse variety of user experiences. This may seem like a daunting task, but there are a couple of things that writers can do to formulate a well-rounded and efficient document. Here are a few key steps in writing and creating quality documentation:

Understanding the Task: Before the writer even begins to construct their document, there are a couple of things they need to do. The first thing the writer needs to do is establish the type of document they are creating. There are a variety of different technical documents that can range from something like a user manual to a data sheet. It is important to coordinate with anyone else working on writing the document in order to establish the design, organization, and style. In addition to this, creating a time-table and an organized outline are ways of keeping the project moving and holding writers accountable for producing content.

Considering the Audience: Once the formatting and guidelines for the documentation are complete, it is important to understand who the audience is before beginning to transcribe any ideas. Being able to comprehend the background of the reader is critical because it establishes the way the content is written in terms of language, detail, and organization. It is important to know if the audience is technical or not in order for the writer to use appropriate references. Whether the writer is writing for a group of engineers within their company, or for an external group with no technical experience, the different audiences need different levels of detail. Regardless of who the audience is, it is critical to determine what information not to include, what information will confuse readers, and what information will make it difficult for a reader to digest the main points.

Writing the Document: When writing a technical document, one of the most important things to consider is the hierarchy of the information being used. Adding levels of hierarchy to categorize information can allow for a very coherent and granular organization system, but over-categorizing information can lead to confusion. Another simple thing that can be done to make important information easier to understand is writing paragraphs in a short and concise manner. The main point of a paragraph should be stated almost immediately so the reader knows if they are looking in the right place. Other beneficial things to do to make a document more user-friendly include reducing the amount of redundancy, providing tables and examples with explanations, avoiding jargon, and using clear sentences.

Even though the task of writing can be managed under the right instructions, proper documentation is often something that is neglected among developers and engineers. This is due to the fact that engineers are not natural technical writers. Writing documentation is tedious and requires a lot of attention to detail. Often these developers and engineers are the experts on the technical language and concepts, but being able to translate that knowledge into something that is coherent to someone who doesn’t understand the complexity of the technology can be difficult. The main issue with documentation is that it can go out of date very quickly. Having to constantly update software or hardware documentation can slow down engineers and developers in doing their actual jobs of creating new content. Even though there are negative connotations associated with engineers and their documentation ability, there are potential fixes to these issues. A potential solution can be training engineers how to communicate the simplicity found in complex ideas through technical writing training. In addition to this, having technical writers work with engineers to produce documents and update them can help ease the task of writing documents.

The time and cooperation it takes to write great documentation can be very beneficial for a business. Poorly written documentation will deter customers because the information they might need to use a product isn’t easily accessible. If engineers and developers cooperate to make proper documentation, there can be improved sales because the product information is much easier to reference. In addition to this, a well written document can provide adequate training on how to use a product, which will prevent customer errors. A well written document will attract customers and make it much easier to sell products.

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The Internet of Things and Networking

[fa icon='calendar'] Jun 27, 2016 2:26:02 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in ConnectSense, connectsense, gateway, General, Grid Connect, Internet of Things, IoT, M2M, machine to machine, Nathan Rockershousen, networking, smart home, Wi-Fi, wifi

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By Nathan Rockershousen, Technical Writer

The Internet of Things (IoT) is continuing to grow at a rapid pace as more devices are becoming connected. However, the IoT is rendered useless without a system of networking to support it. As WiFi-enabled devices increase in popularity, the demand for networking will expand substantially. IoT-based technology is disrupting the current networking market due to vast amount of data that is collected and the quantity of devices connected to the Internet. Companies will be expected to have extremely efficient networks that will allow for real time analysis. In addition to this, simply having faster Internet speeds is essential in supporting the rise of IoT devices.

One of the developing applications of IoT devices is found within the smart home. Smart technology devices require extremely fast networks. The IoT-enabled ConnectSense sensors and Smart Outlet rely on networking to enable machine-to-machine communication. Your ConnectSense products collect large quantities of data in order to provide you with accurate and efficient analysis. Improving the ConnectSense cloud is one of the ways Grid Connect is able to help you adapt to the implementation of IoT devices in your home. The best way to fulfill the necessity of having a fast network is by creating quicker router speeds and ensuring that WiFi is able to be accessed everywhere in the home with a more advanced networking framework.

A strong network is essential for the use of various IoT products, whether it’s a smart home device, a piece of wearable technology, or even if it’s for an industrial application. Managing your network can be accomplished with the use of a Grid Connect gateway device to improve USB, serial, or custom sensor connections. Gateways and other networking devices can help improve networking abilities in order to support the demanding nature of connected and data-driven devices. Finding a perfect network configuration will compensate for whatever quantity of data your IoT devices are bringing in.

It is clear that the impact the IoT is having on networking is only going to expand as the demand for a more connected and efficient world continues to increase. Having quality control of networks will allow for an improved customer experience. Creating networks that can handle a great deal of traffic and data will allow you to be prepared for the IoT’s disruption of the networking market.

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The Internet of Things: Changing Big Data Analytics

[fa icon='calendar'] Jun 13, 2016 2:14:53 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in analysis, analytics, Big data, big data analytics, Consumer, data, data-gathering, device, General, internet, Internet of Things, IoT, Nathan Rockershousen, outscale, technology, Will Hayles

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By Nathan Rockershousen, Technical Writer

The collection of data through large datasets is becoming increasingly popular among businesses. The prominence of the Internet of Things (IoT) has created a surplus of data that is now being utilized for statistical analysis. Big data analytics and IoT devices are interconnected in the sense that IoT devices enable companies to access large quantities of information. This information is then used to help gather details about the consumer and the product. IoT technology is transforming the collection of data and the information that the data provides allows for the development of more advanced IoT devices.

As more devices become connected to the internet, there will be more data that companies will be responsible for sorting through. Once IoT technology matures and becomes widely adapted, big data analytics will no longer be optional. The analytical value in having access to large datasets that are continuously updating can be substantial for any organization. Not investing in big data technology that can sort through the immense quantity of the data gathered will be a major hindrance in maintaining IoT devices. Will Hayles, a technical writer for Outscale, reinforces this concept by stating, “Without the proper data-gathering in place, it’ll be impossible for businesses to sort through all the information flowing in from embedded sensors.” This essentially means that the inability to utilize data efficiently will create obstacles in terms of competing with other IoT-based companies as analytics can provide insight into consumer wants and needs.

The integration of IoT technology and big data has the potential to create higher expectations for technological innovations. Simply being able to collect data from IoT devices will not be sufficient. Companies need to implement some sort of analytical platform that can sort through the vast amount of data gathered. Big data analytics and the IoT are interdependent. When organizations are able to access information about their products, they are able to immediately update the technology to provide new and improved content to users in addition to being able to improve any issues. Essentially the influx of data is creating a higher standard for technological innovation. Any business that does not wield the power of big data analytics will quickly lose relevance due to an inability to recognize the potential for improvement that is provided by collected data.

The adoption of big data analytics within the corporate environment is inevitable as wirelessly enabled devices begin to play a larger role in the consumer lifestyle. This change will not happen overnight, but it is crucial that organizations start to develop the analytical tools necessary to manage vast amounts of data. This means that the infrastructures of many businesses will need to be modified in order to compensate for the changing nature of IoT technology.

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