There is little doubt of the role connected devices like tablets and smartphones are playing on the construction jobsite today. More and more, contractors are equipping their field personnel with these devices in order to help them make more informed decisions in the field. At the same time, software providers are modifying their delivery platforms in order to help customers better leverage these devices in conjunction with their software.

One contractor is taking this a step further and bringing students on site in order to demonstrate the power of these devices, and the accompanying technology. With an eye on the future workforce in construction, Batson-Cook, www.batson-cook.com, Atlanta, Ga., recently hosted a group of students from the McWhorter School of Building Science at Auburn University on a “technology tour” of the $71 million CTCA (Cancer Treatment Centers of America) Southeast.

The demonstration, which took place earlier this month, included on-site demonstrations of iPad applications in order to demonstrate the benefits of using such devices in construction. Chuck Williams, superintendent, Batson Cook, led the tour, where he and team members demonstrated various apps that helped to streamline processes on the jobsite.

According to Batson Cook, one app that students were particularly impressed with was from Vela Systems, www.velasystems.com, Burlington, Mass. The application has the ability to generate updated plans and document and track construction issues in the field.

Vela Systems is one technology provider in particular that has been out in front of the iPad movement in construction for quite some time. The company provides a full suite of quality control and safety management applications that users can run via the iPad. General contractors, specialty contractors, and large owner organizations have all embraced the Vela suite, making it one of the most widely used in construction.

For Batson-Cook, the experience with using apps during the construction process has been a positive one. Demonstrating such benefits to students clearly indicates the contractor, which was founded in 1915, has an eye on the next generation—in both technology and workforce.

According to Assistant Professor Darren Olsen of Auburn’s McWhorter School of Building Science, “Our students are very interested in technology, and we learned how Batson-Cook uses innovations for coordination, layout and document control. The students were amazed by the project” high level of coordination, and frankly they found this a little intimidating knowing they would be expected to do the same in the near future.”