Smartphone or tablets: Does your construction business have a preference? More importantly, does your organization have a policy surrounding how data is managed and accessed on mobile devices?

As mobile-device usage becomes more prevalent in the construction industry, driven by factors such as convenience, increased productivity, and time savings, construction companies are beginning to develop policies surrounding how data is managed and accessed on mobile devices.

However, what about the devices themselves? Do you find a smartphone or a tablet is a better fit for your business? Recent research from EMA Contractors, www.mower.com, Syracuse, N.Y., uncovers trends as it relates to smartphone and tablet use in the construction industry.

According to results, in the last year, the use of smartphones on the jobsite rose 35%, while the use of tables rose nearly 54%. Still, 56% of respondents believe smartphones are the fastest growing technology device in the construction industry, with 20% indicating tablets are the top device.

In many cases the use of devices depends on the type of work a company is doing. A general contractor is one of the largest users of smartphones, with 82% using smartphones and 30% tablets.

Going forward, being able to check specifications and compare products and prices on smartphones and tablets will drive the use of mobile devices in the construction industry. For contractors, being able to access project information in a timely manner is key to project success, and mobile devices and access to data through apps allow construction companies to do have information on hand at the job.

While consumerization has driven the use of iPads, tablets, and other smartphones at the jobsite, contractors still need to determine how these devices are used on a job. As Steve De Benedetto, Stansell Electric Co., www.stansellelectric.com, Nashville, Tenn., says, sometimes what people want to do with the devices and what people should do with the devices aren’t necessarily the same thing.

This is where having a policy surrounding how data is managed on smartphones and tablets come into place. Interested in learning more about mobile apps for construction and how they provide the gateway to your company’s data? Check out the May/June issue of Constructechmagazine, coming soon.