What is Mobile Technology and What Does it Mean for the Construction Industry?
What is mobile technology?
Mobile technology can travel with its user or with a piece of equipment, providing data from any geographical location. Mobile technology also can virtually connect any number of parties by hosting communication and collaboration via mobile devices.
As the benefits of mobile technology become increasingly more convincing, it is making its way into a vast array of industries. A study conducted by IDG Research Services identified three main reasons for businesses adopting mobile technology: executive demand, demand for real-time information, and an increasingly mobile workforce. According to a survey conducted by Sage Software, the biggest reason for construction professionals using mobile technology is to access customer and job information (48%), followed closely by accessing drawings, photos, schedules, and documents (47%).
The construction industry has seen a shift toward mobile technology for a long time now, but what does it mean for the construction industry?
Here are some ways that mobile technology has affected the construction industry:
Fewer errors and reduced costs
In a survey conducted by On Center Software, 65% of professionals surveyed said that rework is the number one cause of costs incurred on a project. Mobile technology helps eliminate these costs by improving accuracy, communication, and information flow, and allowing mistakes to be caught early on before they deteriorate the project. This improved accuracy and communication will lead to less rework and therefore lower costs. One example of how mobile technology can reduce inaccuracies is mobile timecards. Mobile timecards allow employees to clock in and out using their mobile devices. Some mobile technologies even geo-track the employees’ location at the time of clock-in/clock-out to ensure accurate and honest reporting. This eliminates the human errors often prevalent in traditional timekeeping using paper timecards.
Improved project management and increased efficiency
Should anything go wrong on the jobsite, the foreman will be able to immediately make a request for new equipment or assistance without causing project delays. Not only can assistance be called for immediately, but all other parties can be informed of any changes or delays on their mobile devices. Mobile technology can also improve employee and equipment tracking which will reduce inaccuracies and loss of resources.
Real-time information and faster decision making
Mobile technology allows the field and the back office to be in constant communication, ensuring total project transparency. This availability of up-to-date information allows decision makers to make informed decisions that can be relayed back to the rest of the team in real-time. This immediate information flow leads to faster and more accurate decisions that keep projects running smoothly.
What does mobile technology mean for the future of construction?
The current buzz about the future of mobile construction technology centers around wearable technology. Wearable technology means that the Internet is built into the devices and equipment worn by construction field workers to help make them more efficient and productive on the jobsite. Wearable technology has been tested in the construction industry by a few early adopters, however, has yet to penetrate the industry fully. As wearable technology becomes more user-friendly and engineered for the construction industry, it is predicted that every piece of equipment will be “smart.” This will enable the use of every device to be tracked and recorded for its entire life cycle.
Mobile technology in the construction industry is in full-force and continues to evolve to meet the needs of the construction industry.