It seems every day there is a new option for mobility in the construction industry. The choice between the various devices and software can be a difficult one, but companies that develop a mobile strategy first and then search for the appropriate technology might find more value in the long run.

One key element to keep in mind when looking for mobile technology is: Will the software still work when an Internet connection is not available? For Energy Maintenance Services, www.emsglobal.net, Houston, Texas, this was critical.

Energy Maintenance Services provides inspection, maintenance, data collection, and environmental oversight from construction to operations. In particular, the company operates in remote jobsites—primarily pipeline operations. Due to this, the company searched for a mobile platform that would have the capability to input data when there was no Internet connection available.

The company selected Singletouch, www.singletouch.com, Goodyear, Ariz., which provides a Windows-based project database for industrial contractors.

With Singletouch Mobile, industrial contractors can control inventory, labor, materials and equipment, and can generate purchase orders, and work orders from service vehicles or trucks. The technology can be used on Motorola MC9090 handhelds or on the HP Slate tablet. If the contractor does not have cellular coverage or connectivity, all the information collected throughout the day will synchronize with the main Singletouch Office database.

For Energy Maintenance Services, another big benefit of the technology is the fact the field ticket can be entered into Singletouch and linked directly to the office, which eliminates the need for disparate manual processes and spreadsheets.

Being able to deploy the software on the HP Slate tablet was another key factor in the selection process. For some organizations, the type of mobile device becomes a big determining factor in which software solution to select. In this case, Energy Maintenance Services wanted software that could run on the HP Slate tablet.

For construction companies, there are many options for field mobility today. The important element will be to identify the needs of your organization and search for a solution that fits those needs.