By Stuart Chamberlain...
Say you work in the construction industry to the average man on the street and most people will conjure up an image of an industry made up of workers digging out building foundations or laying bricks. However, although the physical construction is obviously the most integral part of our industry, we all know that a huge amount of data, research and intelligence goes into making a building project a success.
This is why the construction industry tends to seize on technology to make its life easier: having computer-aided design and 3D modelling software reduces the need for architects to create scale models of buildings; technical drawings can be reworked and tweaked hundreds of times with a simple click of a mouse; and surveyors are able to access and compare decades worth of data without having to flick through reams and reams of paper. The advent of new mobile technology takes this one step further. With many professionals in the construction industry often not based behind a desk, but out on site, or travelling, being able to access information on the go is vital.
At Glenigan, we have recently launched our own app which gives access to our extensive construction market database. The app has received over 2,000 downloads to date from the construction and building business community, rather than the general public. Our aim with the app is to give people access to the data they require when and where they need it, with users able to access the details of on-site projects and those which are currently in the development pipeline. Other information, such as a project’s value, sector, status, and the companies and contacts involved is also accessible. Most crucially, the app utilises smart-phone GPS technology to offer users crucial information based on their actual location in the field.
The app’s success is symptomatic of the greater opportunities that mobile technology offers: being able to immediately access the latest information can prove crucial when a client asks a potentially deal-breaking question, or help resolve issues on site without having to go away and find a computer to look up the answer. Mobile technology enables professionals to make smarter, swifter decisions and increase productivity. More importantly, it can really give you an edge over your competitors.
I won’t be surprised if we start to see some of the larger construction companies developing their own private apps for their employees to use on site, enabling them to access information which has hitherto been only accessible through a company’s main server. After all: everyone has a mobile phone, from the architect, through the site foreman, down to the most junior labourer, and increasingly most mobiles are smart phones. The opportunity to communicate directly with everyone through a single channel and giving them access to up to the minute data is almost too good to miss.