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Technology

Taking ERP to the Cloud

Will we soon see more construction companies deploy ERP (enterprise-resource planning) technology in the cloud? For the construction industry, cloud-based software allows for easy access to project information from any device, which is well suited for an industry that needs to carry data back and forth between the jobsite and the office.

The use of the cloud has grown leaps and bounds in recent years. A recent IBM, www.ibm.com, Armonk, N.Y., developerWorks survey of more than 2,000 IT professionals worldwide shows 91% believe cloud computing will overtake on-premise computing as the primary way organizations acquire IT by 2015. This is certainly a growing trend in the construction industry as well, as more solution providers offer cloud-based solutions and contractors continue to turn to the cloud.

Read more: Taking ERP to the Cloud

Mobile GPS tracking capability now available on JCB ruggedized mobile phones

altVismo GPS tracking installed on the JCB Toughphone Pro-Smart is ideal for organisations operating in harsh, inhospitable, high risk areas of the World. Aimed at the Oil and Exploration market and those organisations involved in construction in high risk areas, the Vismo/Pro-Smart combination is robust and ready for action in environments where other handsets would be unsuitable. The JCB handset has IP67 certification and is both water and dust proof with the bulky shell protecting delicate innards from unfortunate bumps and drops.

Installing Vismo on the JCB Toughphone enables your security team to track, protect and respond to employees as they travel to higher-risk areas of the world. Vismo provides regular GPS locations direct to a secure web platform as well as the ability to view current locations and historical trails. Each smart phone has a panic button which triggers E-mail and SMS alerts in real time to key contacts along with a 20 second covert audio recording from the device.

Read more: Mobile GPS tracking capability now available on JCB ruggedized mobile phones

DOT Connects Fleet

For the construction industry, vehicle-diagnostic monitoring and fleet-tracking software is helping to reduce the amount of fuel spent on a job. Imagine the possibilities when an entire state department uses this technology for fleet management.

The state of Arkansas is one such example. With roughly 2,400 state vehicles used in highway maintenance, transportation, administration, construction, and law enforcement, the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Dept., www.arkansashighways.com, Little Rock, Ark., was looking for a way to improve the efficiency of its fleet.

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More Mobility Options for Construction

Will 2013 be the year of mobile applications for the construction industry? Contractors have always been on-the-go, needing access to critical project information at the jobsite. As of late, solution providers are coming to market with applications and devices that allow construction companies to take that data to the field in new ways.

Move over iPad. One recent announcement for the construction industry comes from last week’s 2013 Intl. CES, which took place in Las Vegas, Nev. At the show, Panasonic Corp., www.panasonic.com, Osaka, Japan, announced the development of a new 4K tablet.

Read more: More Mobility Options for Construction

Next-Gen Construction Jobsite

The talk of RFID (radio-frequency identification) at the construction jobsite has been circling the industry for years, but has only recently begun to take hold and be implemented more widely among large construction sites. Still, there are a number of questions regarding adoption of this type of technology, which a recent case study looks to address, taking contractors step-by-step through the decisionmaking process.

The applications of RFID at the construction jobsite can range from material tracking to workforce monitoring. The use gaining considerable momentum as of late is tech for access control at the jobsite. For example, Holder Construction www.holderconstruction.com, Dallas, Texas, WS Bellows Construction, www.wsbellows.com, Houston, Texas, Turner Construction, www.turnerconstruction.com, New York, N.Y., and Grunley Construction, www.grunley.com, Rockville, Md., are just a handful of companies using technology for workforce monitoring.

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Complex Calculations at the Jobsite

The mobile revolution is transforming the construction industry. With the influx of mobile devices at the jobsite, contractors are more often turning to apps to do quick calculations. Still, many of the simple math calculators won’t provide the trade-specific functions required in the construction industry today.

Enter DEWALT, www.dewalt.com, Towson, Md., and its DEWALT Mobile Pro app. The product, which was originally released in May of last year, was developed with contractors and tradesmen in mind. Near the end of last year, DEWALT announced updates to the app, which includes new add-on packs for electrical and landscaping.

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Integrating the Punchlist

In homebuilding, the efficient management of service work orders can be the key to project success. However, this process is often carried out by disjointed technology systems, leaving builders unsure whether or not they are duplicating information or processes.

Technology providers continue to work towards integrating solutions that help alleviate such concerns. One option is to work with a fully integrated solution that encompasses the entire workflow process under one software suite. However, this integrated approach does not apply for builders that are taking a best-of-breed approach to technology.

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The Green Globes Alternative

Green construction remains a hot topic across the globe as owners, contractors, engineers, and architects all look for the best and most efficient tools to make their projects more energy efficient. These tools include construction technology, as well as certification programs. These days, project teams have a few routes to go in each category.

Read more: The Green Globes Alternative

Construction Moves to the Cloud

The cloud is no longer a far-off concept. Many tech providers in the construction industry are offering up solutions in the cloud—allowing contractors to choose between an on-premise or hosted solution. With this in mind, construction companies need to determine if the cloud is a good fit for their company. Also, if it is a good fit, what are some key considerations when moving to the cloud?

For Real Goods Solar, www.realgoodssolar.com, Louisville, Colo., a solar-power installer for commercial, residential, and utility, moving to the cloud was the right choice.

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