The jobsite is no place for delicate devices. Still, connected devices like tablets, smartphones, netbooks, and others have taken a prominent role in helping business run more efficiently from the field—construction included. So how do builders strike the right balance between durable and efficient when it comes to devices?

A new group of connected devices are coming to market, built with the worker in mind. Designed for harsh work environments, these products provide a nice blend of durability and next-generation functionality.

For the process of checking in and checking out at the jobsite, Replicon, www.replicon.com/cloudclock.aspx, San Mateo, Calif., provides a wireless CloudClock system which uses tablet-like devices, QR-coded ID cards, and realtime cloud integration to support a fully connected time-clock solution.

The CloudClock resembles a small tablet that, like a traditional time clock, can be hung on a wall in a central location. Being always on, workers walk up to the CloudClock and present a unique QR-coded identification card. The clock’s camera detects the QR code, identifies the employee, snaps a picture, and registers the time on the server.

CloudClock allows employers to manage employee hours and attendance in realtime via Replicon’s Web application. This allows employers to check in on remote workers to ensure all have shown up, and have a record to help track patterns, such as employees that consistently show up late.

The power of the connected device is evident in this product, as it features a photo audit trail of employees clocking in and out, to help keep an eye on “buddy punches” where workers can check in and out for each other. Some call it Big Brother, but it’s simply a matter of keeping workers accountable.

Another interesting product comes from Toshiba, www.toshibasecurity.com, Irvine, Calif., and its IK-WB16A-W wireless two-megapixel IP video-surveillance camera. This camera can be mounted practically anywhere and can cover large indoor or outdoor areas using its versatile pan, tilt, and 4x digital-zoom capabilities. With up to 1600×1200-pixel resolution, depending on user settings, you can capture details such as faces, license plates, or items being carried.

Unlike a wired solution that requires coaxial or CAT-5 cabling, this camera leverages IEEE 802.11n wireless connectivity, meaning it can be installed at any point you need surveillance. Leveraging the power of your smart devices, you can view live video and control camera movements from your smartphone or a networked computer or laptop, for example. Toshiba’s free recording software, Surveillix, will record up to 16 cameras and the company’s Surveillix app for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry acts as a mobile viewer for four security cameras simultaneously.

These two products represent merely a taste of the way in which connected devices are being built with a bit of durability to withstand the rigors of the jobsite. Leveraging the power of the always-on connectivity, new devices can perform a range of tasks to help builders and contractors better manage the jobsite.