SBIR Phase I: Efficient Marketplace for Procedural Documentation

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Vulkans Forge Consulting Ltd
2023 W Carroll Ave Ste C201
Chicago, IL 60612
Principal Investigator, Firm POC

Abstract

This Phase I project's broader/commercial impact will be marketable software as a service that should generate tax revenue based on sales and increase the number of jobs available to U.S. residents. Research says that "as much as two-thirds of the value created by new Internet offerings has been captured as consumer surplus." Web-based WYSIWYG XML editors are currently available in the marketplace as are component content management systems. Topic-based authoring and reuse are nothing new, but the cost is currently far out of reach for most manufacturers. This project has the potential to not only bring down the cost of this technology, but also add unique functionality that will reduce the time and cost associated with topic-based authoring and reuse; simplify the process of content creation, management, and exchange; and increase the value of that content through specialization for learning and collaborative filtering. The US manufacturing sector employed 10,649,378 workers as of March 2012. An industry search on a social networking website generates a list of 7,414,000 manufacturing professionals in the US. While the serviceable available market and revenue potential per person have yet to be determined, the potential of the target market is significant given that the audience is hungry for knowledge and peer interaction. The project will assess the feasibility of an efficient marketplace for the exchange of procedural documentation among manufacturing professionals. A common complaint is the cost of compliance with industry standards and government regulations. Much of this comes down to documentation requirements. Most small and midsized manufacturers lack an effective knowledge management function. Without a robust knowledge management function, the benefit of training workers is questionable given turnover and lack of memory retention. An efficient marketplace for the exchange of procedural documentation would support self-regulated learning, reduce the cost of training, and reduce the need for supervision. This project will advance the state-of-the-art in three related areas of research; namely, (1) a method for incentivizing the authorship and exchange of high quality learning content, (2) a method for tagging learning content to improve fundability, and (3) a method for improving the relevance and timeliness of learning content through collaborative filtering. Together these advances will allow for a variety of use cases, including the creation, management, and exchange of procedural documentation, enabling learners to reflect on their practice, compare their performance to others, and accelerate knowledge acquisition.