Are you sick of all the talk of mobile devices?  I often find myself writing about the impact mobile devices and apps have on a construction business—and it certainly is a central focus of many IT strategies these days. However, I wanted to take a couple minutes to focus on hardware that isn’t mobile, but still is garnering a lot attention as of late.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with David Fuller, president of BALD Technologies, www.baldtechnologies.com, Raleigh, N.C. If you aren’t familiar with the company, it provides touchscreen manipulation technologies, such as pens to use with large displays, for industries such as construction.

My conversation with David has me thinking about some of the additional pieces of hardware—outside the realm of tablets and smartphones—that can provide value on a construction.

Immediately, my mind jumped to ‘BIM (building information modeling) in a box.’ Many construction companies such as Faith Technologies, www.faithtechnologies.com, Menasha, Wis., and McCarthy Building Cos., www.mccarthy.com, St. Louis, Mo., have hubs out at the jobsite or in the office that feature all the technologies needed to access models. With full-sized screens, contractors are able to see details of the model.

While every company does this a little bit differently, Faith Technologies, for example, has created a custom-made technology center that includes a desktop PC tower, LCD television, and a printer, complete with modeling software.

Beyond the ‘BIM in a box’ concept, I also instantly thought of whiteboard technologies. When you think of a whiteboard, a classroom with dry erase markers likely comes to mind, but more advanced whiteboards can be used to mark up in a virtual meeting and share with geographically dispersed teams, making it easier to communicate and make decisions on a construction project.

And so here is my question to you. Have you created a strategy for how your business is implementing hardware—beyond the traditional uses for a PC and beyond the more modern uses for a tablet and a smartphone?

We have talked so much about how to use tablets and apps at the jobsite—which provide great value—but I think there is also an opportunity to take advantage of some of these larger pieces of hardware. It might not be ‘mobile,’ but it can still pack quite the punch for a business looking to improve efficiencies.

I would love to hear from you. What pieces of hardware are you using that doesn’t necessarily fall into the traditional tablet, smartphone, or PC market? It might even be a good contender for a Constructech Vision Award.

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