Apple's phrase, "There's an app for that," is truer today than when the phrase was first used in a marketing campaign almost seven years ago. It seems like no matter the need, there's an app, an advanced technological device, or a specially designed software at our fingertips to help make our jobs and lives easier. The construction industry has especially benefited from the rise of technology. Long gone are the days of shuffling physical files and plans from office to job site.
Today's job site looks vastly different than it did twenty years ago. Laptops, tablets, and smartphones are standard pieces of operating equipment used to capture images, transfer data, and update files. Mobile wireless hotspots and cloud-based servers have made working at remote sites seem just as convenient as working from the office itself. Supervisors and subcontractors alike have easy access to important site documents and rest assured that they are always working with the most updated information reducing errors and increasing overall efficiency.
Of course, mobile computing devices wouldn't be as helpful on the job site without specialized software:
Contractors often operate with razor-thin profit margins which can make a significant investment in company-wide technology difficult. Budget allocations for IT staff, infrastructure, and equipment are lower in the construction industry than other industries. However, to fully take advantage of all technology has to offer, contractors must adopt, embrace, and make significant investments in technology and employee training.
Currently, contractors who embrace technology have a lot to gain over their competitors. IT savvy contractors will be able to provide more accurate cost estimating services, take advantage of centralized record keeping and project management which increases efficiency, and sync photos and files seamlessly between mobile devices in the field and administration in the offices. Contractors realize lower internal administrative costs with automated field reports, time cards, and payroll.