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Five Ways that Mobile Impacts the Construction Industry

By Justin Nolan, CEO

The business world is increasingly incorporating mobile devices into everyday operations, and construction - a trillion dollar industry - is no different. For example, the iPad came out in the year 2010 and by 2013 there were over 13,000 construction-related apps on the market.  It is predicted that by 2015, 100 percent of contractors will have a smart phone and 60 percent will own tablets. So how can the construction industry best leverage mobile devices to see the most meaningful impact? Here are a few tips.

1.) Use Mobile to Create and Share Daily Reports and Timesheets Instantly 
Having project information immediately streamed to project participants helps with audit trails, estimating, and progress reports. A customer once told us that his field supervisor never submits daily reports on time, and even if he does, the report is stuck in a field book onsite. The owner can’t review any of this information unless someone brings the field book into the office. This means the field manager had to deliver his daily log book to the office at the end of every day in addition to filling it out while also managing a team of subcontractors. Submitting daily reports and timesheets on a mobile app eliminates all of this miscommunication and disorganization. As the super walks the site each day and takes notes, enters man-count information, takes photos and inputs timesheet date, everything he is entering is immediately synced to the web app for the owner to see. The owner can even setup an automatic daily report summary email so that every night he’ll receive a copy of the daily report. Mobile apps help minimize miscommunication between the office and field.

2) Use Mobile to Keep Better Track of Jobsite Photos Between the Field and Office 
Jobsite photos are an important part of any construction project, yet sharing them with the rest of the construction team is time-consuming and prone to photos getting lost.  Instead of using a camera to take photos, having to plug it into a computer and upload those photos, and THEN share them with project participants, the mobile app allows users to just take photos and have them stream to the right place. The system automatically tags them with a time/date stamp, records which user took the photo and allows the user to add notes.

3) Use a Web App with Mobile Integrated to Streamline Business Operations
Can you count the number of systems your company uses on one hand? You should be able to! Using a platform with both a web and mobile application reduces the number of systems you need to run your business. Further, you gain back the time you spent entering data into each respective system. Companies easily get bogged down by multiple systems for accounting, file storage, estimating, submittals, invitations to bid, and much more. Why not use one that does it all? 

4.) Use a System that Works with Email
Systems that allow users to work from their email OR a native mobile app make collaboration more efficient, user-friendly and LIKELY TO BE USED! This functionality allows users to easily interact with the system and keep the construction document flow moving even if they don’t feel like downloading the app.    

5)  Use a Mobile Solution that Works Offline
In the construction industry, field workers can never be sure that their jobsite will have a reliable Internet or cellular connection. Therefore, it is crucial that they use a mobile app that works in offline mode so they can ALWAYS add data - even if they don’t have a connection. Once connected, all of the data that was sitting in the queue immediately syncs up to the cloud. 

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