Did you do a double take when this issue landed on your desk? It’s okay. Even I was caught by surprise when I first saw the cover concept during layout. And I knew it was coming; I could only imagine your surprise.
It certainly is more Car & Driver than it is your typical issue of Constructech, that’s for sure. But then again, that is what makes this issue so cool. It represents a transformation that is occurring in the construction market where technology continues to invade every aspect of our everyday lives. And these days there is nothing that represents everyday life more so than our vehicle.
In fact, as we point out in our cover story, contractors are spending more and more time commuting to and from the jobsite, and it is estimated the average tradesman spends about two hours on average per day driving on the roadways commuting from the jobsite back to the office. Couple this with the growing idea of BYOD (bring your own device) where your workers are carrying in more laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other devices, and it only seems natural that the market now necessitates a office on wheels, if you will.
When trucks come equipped with their own Wi-Fi hotspots, it should definitely be considered a powerful complement to your IT strategy. This comes in handy particularly given the fact cellular coverage can often be limited in areas your employees are working on projects across the country.
I am sure many of you take the roads today in your personal vehicles that come equipped with GPS mapping capabilities, Bluetooth pairing features, and a wealth of other in-vehicle technology features designed around safety, convenience, and infotainment. So it’s not that much of a stretch to think the trucks you are sending out into the field should have some of the same features and functionalities.
Before you start thinking that such features will only create a distraction for the worker, think again. As you may already realize in your personal commute, the action of fumbling around with your phone or playing around with a PND (personal navigation device) can be highly distracting, and even dangerous.
In the case of workers, these actions are not only dangerous distractions, they can also be considered efficiency deterrents. How many times have your workers complained about not having network coverage in order to use those fancy devices they are using out in the field? So why not consider a truck that promotes a tech-savvy worker in a distraction-free manner?
That is precisely the idea behind Constructech’s first annual Connected Truck of the Year. I have to admit it is a new area of coverage for us. But when you look at how vehicles are now coming packed with technology, the two worlds are coming together more than you might initially realize.
There is no need to worry that suddenly we will be reporting on powertrains rather than project management, or towing capacity in place of Take-offs. But you can bet that when technology and transportation combine in such a manner that it is creating exciting new efficiencies for the construction worker, we are going to be your resource. And who knows what will come next. Right now there are only a limited number of trucks that feature such technology, but that will change. That’s the fun with technology these days—expect the unexpected.
Connected Truck of the Year
It has a nice ring to it. Our sister publication Connected World magazine has really been involved with in-vehicle connectivity for many years now and we have learned a lot about how this innovation is changing our lives. You can read the full details in our cover story. But here’s the real skinny: For all practical purposes, the pickup truck isn’t what you’d call a high-tech platform by any means, but for what you do every day, I have seen firsthand how a truck serves as a rolling office. So it was important for us to pick the best connected truck that features all the best tools you will need to keep your office rolling along. With this new platform, you can now choose either a standard monthly data plan or an on-demand, pay-per-use option.
But here’s one better. The embedded Sprint modem will create a Wi-Fi hot spot in the cabin. So if you want to sync up with a remote access point while parked outside a Starbucks and glom on to its free Wi-Fi network, you can. Now that’s a Connected Truck of the Year. This year we have a lot more exciting discussions to bring to our readers. Happy Reading!