At Rockwell Automation's Automation Fair in 2009, we were treated to a little bit of live theater. Several RA product managers put on a show about the features and usability of PlantPAx, the version of FactoryTalk and Integrated Architecture that RA has optimized for process, batch and hybrid automation. It was cute, a little rocky ("in any live demo, three things can happen, and two of them are bad"), but it made its point extremely well, and was very easy to follow and understand.[img_assist|nid=3370|title=A Day in the Life|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=430|height=320]
Now, Rockwell Automation has issued a video version of their little play, called "A Day in the Life" and I am passing it along to you as an example of what you can do with video that you can't do with a traditional four, six or eight page brochure. It is architected more like a very short training module than a "sales piece" and lets the buyer mouse through it at his or her own speed and is non-directed.
The video starts out with a short introduction, and then invites users to view PlantPAx from the point of view of a persona constructed to be as close to their own as RA can manage. Emerson has also been doing work with constructing customer personas, and in both Emerson's and Rockwell's cases it seems to be able to work-- allowing the vendor to "get inside the head" of the end user, and appears to lead to better designed products that more closely fit the end-users' desires and needs.
The information in the video is clear, specific and factual-- no salesmanship, no doubletalk, no dubious specifications. Rockwell is learning how to work in the new medium of short video extremely well.
We've come a long way from the Retro-Encabulator! Kudos to RA for a well done piece!