The following article by On Center Software was originally published in the December 7 newsletter to clients of Calvetti Ferguson. Reprinted with permission.
It may be hard to believe, but Apple’s iPhone was launched ten years ago, in 2007. Rarely has one product generated so much innovation in mini-computers, texting, social media, cell phone technology, cameras, weather forecasts, storm tracking, and the ability to hail an Uber driver. The iPhone gave rise to thousands of apps, competitors and entirely new industries.
Most construction managers use smartphones in their day-to-day lives. But it wasn’t always that way. iPhones and technology have been shaping the way we work. A dozen years ago, a construction manager used a digital camera to capture progress on the project. Some would take the SIM card to a drug store to print or download to a computer. In recent years, more advanced project managers began attaching JPG images to their drawings.
Again, thanks to the iPhone, project managers are no longer limited by questionable or unreliable Wi-Fi connections inside the construction trailer; smartphones can create a hotspot for laptops. Even weather changes and disruptions can be tracked with ease. Weather tracking on the smartphone comes in handy for scheduling. When a major storm is tracking toward the job site, the project manager can cancel the delivery of concrete mixers, roofers and masons. Crews can get a text message alert the day before. The manager can email the next day’s work plan to the crew and safety talking points for the next tailgate meeting.
Nearly 20 years before the iPhone, On Center Software began developing digital solutions that are virtually paperless for estimating, takeoff, project collaboration and tracking. We know construction business owners and managers are focused on their business, winning bids, managing crews, ordering materials and tracking projects to stay on budget. A fair percentage of contractors still use paper plans to create bids and takeoffs manually. They get the job done, but they aren’t aware of the ways technology can improve their business.
Today, project managers can snap several images of construction progress or critical issues with their smartphone and email the JPG to their laptop, where they can be attached with a hyperlink to the exact spot on plans using software like On-Screen Takeoff® or Oasis Takeoff®. Plans, photo and project history can now be stored in the cloud, to be instantly recalled on a laptop, iPhone, or iPad from anywhere.
Taking construction technology a big step further is On Center’s Oasis FieldCenter®, an app designed for the iPad, helping contractors improve their communication and collaboration on a project while driving down common costs and errors. Leveraging the smartphone hotspot, project managers, superintendents and foremen can view and collaborate on the same set of plans without changing their location or being tethered to a computer. Time spent scribbling progress notes, taking photos, collecting materials needed, capturing punch items and creating project documentation while walking a jobsite is reduced.
FieldCenter allows teams to collaborate on exactly what needs to happen in order to get the job done. Who knew something as small as an iPhone would begin to transform an industry as large as construction?
Calvetti Ferguson is a financial accounting and advising firm specializing in the fields of energy, construction, hospitality and multinational businesses.
On Center Software provides software and training to construction industry professionals in 60 countries. Founded in The Woodlands Texas, over 29 years ago, the company’s mission is to transform the estimating, takeoff, and labor-tracking experience of construction professionals with comprehensive software solutions that turn winning bids into profitable projects.