The use of consumer apps for business purposes is growing in many industries, including construction. As workers continue to bring personal devices to the job, as part of a BYOD (bring your own device) corporate policy, the use of consumer apps is increasing as well. But is this the best strategy for your business?

VDC Research, www.vdcresearch.com, Natick, Mass., says the enterprise mobility device market is in turmoil, but still growing. With Microsoft’s OS still in question, VDC says businesses are waiting to see if Microsoft can sort out its mobile strategy before making a big investment in devices.

In the meantime, companies are turning to BYOD policies, where workers are bringing consumer-targeted devices and apps to the jobsite, but there are some inherent challenges with that strategy as well.

Alfresco, www.alfresco.com, Maidenhead, Berkshire, and independent research agency Loudhouse, www.loudhouse.co.uk, Windsor, Berkshire, say 87% of IT decisionmakers believe it is important for mobile workers to be able to collaborate on documents using tablets and smartphones, and 82% want to be able to integrate cloud and on-premise systems.

The challenge, according to the companies, is BYOD and the use of consumer cloud apps is a response to limitations in enterprise productivity tools. However, this could change, as more enterprise solutions become more widely available for various mobile devices.

Last week, Samsung, www.samsung.com, Seoul, South Korea, announced the launch of Samsung Solutions Exchange, which is a portfolio of vertical mobile workforce solutions that address line-of-business challenges both in and out of the office.

Samsung has released its device SDK (software development kit), along with more than 1,000 enterprise APIs. In combination with Samsung Mobile SAFE devices, which include features such as NFC (near-field communication), S Pen, Screen Mirroring, and more, contractors might soon be able to combine enterprise apps with a device many workers already have in their pockets.

Another option for construction companies is creating enterprise mobile apps. Flowfinity,www.flowfinity.com, Vancouver, B.C., provides solutions for building applications without programming. Last week, Flowfinity extended its offline feature set, which means contractors can use the apps with or without connectivity. The company says this is ideal for tasks such as pipeline inspections and remote construction site reporting, which require data to be gathered when no Internet connection is available.

The development of enterprise apps is a growing trend, and something construction companies are beginning to consider. As another example, this past summer, Box, www.box.com, Los Altos, Calif., unveiled Box $rev, a program that will make it easy for developers to build mobile apps that work with Box. Announcements such as this can help to push enterprise apps forward.

Executives from Box will be on hand at the Constructech Technology Day conference this Friday in Santa Clara, Calif., and will moderate a panel about the new construction software stack and how IT leaders are embracing more flexible, cost effective alternatives for today’s post-PC workplace.

As the construction industry determines the best way to share data with the jobsite, questions regarding BYOD, consumer apps, and enterprise apps will continue to be a big area of discussion.