Amid all the talk of mobile devices and apps for construction, it all goes for not if you do not have that effective connection. In many ways, gauging mobile success in construction comes down to the effectiveness of the cellular connection.

For the most part, contractors are satisfied with their current carriers. According to results from the 2013 Constructech IT Playbook, a large majority of respondents are satisfied with their current cellular provider. Of that percentage, 33% would consider themselves as being ‘greatly’ satisfied.

The choices remain varied with AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint all still making dedicated efforts to the construction space. In particular, AT&T, www.att.com, Dallas, Texas, continues to make a committed push as of late to provide Direct Connect services to construction, hoping to capture some marketshare from the competition.

The carrier made the announcement this week it has added three new rugged mobile devices to the AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk portfolio, all from Sonim Technologies, www.sonimtech.com, San Mateo, Calif.

First is the Sonim XP1520 BOLT SL, a rugged device designed to endure the harsh environments of construction. The second is Sonim XP5560 BOLT, which the company describes as being more of a traditional rugged device that is available in two different versions: one with a two megapixel built-in camera and another with no camera for use in high-security environments The third is Sonim XP5560 BOLT IS, which includes all the features of the standard XP5560 BOLT, but is certified Intrinsically Safe to support users in environments with flammable gases or dust.

Complementing the rugged exterior is the network connection in the form of AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk. As described by Mike Troiano, vice president, Advanced Mobility Solutions, AT&T Business Solutions, the AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk can conveniently connect people from one jobsite to another with a single touch of a button.

The carrier is talking up key features of service, such as large contact lists and talk groups; the ability to combine push-to-talk services and mobile applications; and supervisory override that allows supervisors to communicate important time sensitive messages to their team.

As for the other carriers, Sprint, www.sprint.com, Reston, Va., recently announced its cloud-based workforce management tool NextMail has been rebranded as pdvConnect. Overall, the solution allows field workers to communicate with a dispatcher or front office while reducing voice traffic and on-hold times.

A new feature of pdvConnect is a Web-based dispatch console. Sprint compares it to an emergency room triage system, saying communications are prioritized by business significance, message subject, or urgency. This allows the most important call to be answered right away, instead of simply addressing calls in the order they are received. Data such as time and location, as well as accompanying photos, can be logged as well. An image of a jobsite could be recorded for future use, along with its associated information.