The debate rages on throughout construction about whether to use consumer devices such as Apple’s gadgets for businesses purposes or to stick with construction-specific tablets for the jobsite. It seems now the line between the two are beginning to blur even more, as consumer devices are being infused with business functionality, along with the continuing evolution of enterprise devices.
Consider the recent news from AT&T, www.att.com, Dallas, Texas, which is now offering its Enhanced Push-to-Talk services on the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S. The functionality that was originally synonymous with rugged smartphones is now available on Apple products.
The Enhanced Push-to-Talk services from AT&T, which are delivered through an app, include larger contact lists, the ability to combine push-to-talk with other mobile applications, and a supervisory override that enables managers to communicate important time-sensitive messages.
For industries such as construction, having push-to-talk capabilities on a smartphone provides instant access to project partners and team members.
What’s more, with this announcement, contractors will also be able to use AT&T’s push-to-talk services via Wi-Fi, which means improved coverage inside buildings. For many mobile workers, the need for connectivity extends both indoors and outdoors. The built-in Wi-Fi could be big for an industry like construction in the future.
While traditional consumer smartphones are becoming outfitted with features such as push-to-talk, devices that are targeted to the enterprise encompass more safety and convenience functionalities overall.
Last week, Motion Computing, www.motioncomputing.com, Austin, Texas, introduced its In-Vehicle Computing Solution for fleet managers at water utilities and other field service organizations.
While the device can be mounted in the vehicle, it also meets safety and quality standards. For instance, sensors built into the tablet limit the use of the display while the vehicle is in motion. Additionally, the solution is designed in such a way that it can be adjusted for a passenger to access the device while on the go. An administrator can also configure which applications can be accessed by the driver.
Overall, this type of in-vehicle solution is enabling specialty and service contractors to share data and better manage processes while on the job.
Today, the line between consumer and enterprise devices is blurring. As the construction industry moves forward with mobile strategies, the features available on the devices will be a big item to consider.