May/June 2014

I had the pleasure this month to speak with a number of executives at construction firms about their strategy for mobile apps, and what I uncovered was quite compelling.

Chiefly, today’s jobsite is filled with devices and apps—which is a stark contrast from just 10 years ago—and this presents a number of challenges for construction businesses.

Ever since Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad in 2010, the way the construction industry interacts with content on the jobsite hasn’t been the same. Simply put, the devices have caused contractors to use more apps to gather data. The last point is key for many construction companies: It’s all about the data. This information allows workers to improve estimating, safety, project management, and so much more. However, the challenge is ensuring workers are accessing the data in a manner that is both efficient and secure.

When it comes to implementing devices or apps at the jobsite, most contractors will say a strategy is just as important as the type of devices or type of apps chosen. Without a plan for how the data is going to be accessed, consumed, and shared, construction companies could experience inefficient processes and unsecured data.

However, with a solid plan for how data will be used on a jobsite, the opportunity for improved efficiencies is huge. One of the contractors I spoke with indicates making the move to mobile was a big leap for his company and this was one of the biggest technological changes it has made in the last 10 years. And this company is not alone. Many small-to-medium-sized construction businesses are following suit. There is a big monetary and time expense in terms of buying devices and performing training that goes into preparing all the field workers to use the technology. In the end, however, this particular contractor says the transition has benefitted his firm in ways he could have never imagined.

And so this month we encourage you to reevaluate your mobile strategy. This is the topic of this month’s cover story. In addition to this article, which highlights how to implement a successful mobile plan, we also have our annual App Catalog in this issue. This App Catalog, which is in its second year, developed out of a conversation I had with a contractor a few years back who was struggling to determine which apps to use on a job. Our hope is this cover story and catalog will help as you build out your mobile strategy.

If you already have a mobile plan in place, this might be a great time to look at where you are able to get the most out of mobile apps and devices. For those companies that have yet to embark down the path of implementing mobile devices and mobile apps at the jobsite, we encourage you to take that leap. You never know. It could benefit your business in ways you never imagined.

Laura Black

Apps: Let’s Talk Innovation
We can’t say enough about the emergence of mobile apps in the construction space. Today the good news is there is an app for just about every aspect of the construction-side of the business. The bad news is that there is an app for just about every aspect of the construction-side of the business.

For instance, there are some really good project-management apps that reduce paper, time, and even people in the field. The downside is not every app is good for every side of your particular construction business. Discerning which apps and devices are right for your business is really the key to determining your ultimate success and growth.

That’s really, perhaps, the most difficult task a construction firm has today. Just because a traditional technology company has been around for years doesn’t necessarily mean it has the best construction app in the business today. This firm might understand construction in general, but it has fallen painfully behind the times when it comes to keeping up with technology and the emerging trends.

The editors of Constructech caution all of our readers to take a very close look at all the construction technology players. Some are changing with the times. These tech firms are keeping pace with emerging technology trends, while others are not. This is not to say new players in the market have a clear understanding either. Candidly many have yet to earn their proverbial stripes.

In our next issue we will be unveiling the Constructech 50 (Constructech’s list of the best tech companies) and we hope to provide you with even greater insight into which technology companies are still offering stellar solutions as it pertains to technology innovation to help your construction business prosper.

Let’s not forget, at the end of the day, isn’t that what this is all about?

Peggy Smedley
Editorial Director

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