WEB WATCH — It’s time for the construction industry’s luddites to join the mobile revolution – especially as, according to a recent survey, it could save you up to 136 hours a year.
The news that only 40% of construction firms provide staff with mobile devices means there a lot of companies out there not making the most of technology.
A YouGov survey of 380 construction professionals found that those who did use mobile devices managed to save up to 136 hours a year.
Mobile devices are becoming an essential tool for site professionals. IT developers are making use of faster connection speeds to capture and distribute data without going back to the office.
Even the most routine phone has a fast broadband connection these days. On my 3G phone I have been achieving download speeds of about three times that of a dial-up modem. And with bandwidths set to rapidly increase over the next few years, standard phone connections will soon be far more capable of transmitting large files such as site drawings.
There are many examples of software that uses web-based data. E-safe, for example, is a health and safety audit tool that is hosted on the web. It allows site inspectors to gather and upload information on site and allows others to log on and view the data.
Large sites such as Heathrow Terminal 5 use local area networks to connect everybody wirelessly, but on small sites the cost can be prohibitive. Give each worker a 3G mobile instead and they would be able to send files to each other without the need for a network.
And, as I found on the slow train from Birmingham yesterday, they’re great time fillers. These days you don’t need a bulky notebook with a pricey web connection to keep track of your life and work.
Alex Smith is Building’s web editor. Email email@example.com