Tablets have been finding their way into construction Project Managers' hands for a while now. With applications like Bluebeam, ProCore, and PunchPro, the use of iPads and tablets have become more common place and necessary. Currently, many Project Managers have a laptop or desktop PC and then carry an iPad for punch list during site visits.
When Microsoft launched the Surface Pro series of tablet PCs back in late 2012, they began a new trend and a new future for construction project management. What makes the Surface Pro tablets great for construction managers is that it combines the power of a laptop and the portability of a tablet. When in the office, the Surface Pro can be paired with a docking station and run up to 2 additional monitors plus all of your other peripherals like a mouse and keyboard. When out on the job, the Surface Pro can be used just like any other tablet and can run full Windows applications, rather than the small mobile apps, thus allowing for more powerful punch list applications and documentation. With the Surface, there is no need for both a PC and a tablet, as they can be on in the same and can save money in the long run. Microsoft is expected to debut a new Surface Pro 4 in mid-October (people think it will be announced on 10/4 to be symbolic of Windows 10 and the Surface Pro 4). We've already anointed Windows 10 as the non-Windows tablet killer, because of it's ability to convert both Android and iOs apps to Windows with a click of a button and to bring drawings to life with the use of holograms
The Microsoft Surface Pro is great, but as with any great products there is always a competitor, and Lenovo has just announced the new Miix 700, which is due to be on shelves in November of this year. The Lenovo Miix 700 carries the same specs as the Surface tablet, but it does have a slower processor, which may cause performance issues (yet to be seen), but will increase battery life. The main thing that I want to point out about this tablet is that it comes with the option to include Intel's RealSense Camera. We have mentioned these cameras before in an article about Dells Venue 8 7000. This new Surface Pro clone from Lenovo with the RealSense camera included has the potential to be the best construction management computer on the market (even though construction is not their target audience). The Miix 700 has a starting price of $699, which includes the keyboard cover, and is set to release in November.
The Miix 700 includes all of the great features from the Surface Pro 3 and additionally includes the RealSense camera which uses multiple cameras on the back of the tablet to create a 3D image of whatever you are taking a picture of. This allows you to extract additional information from the pictures, most notably the ability to pull measurements from the pictures, after you leave the job site.
It is clear to see how this can be an invaluable tool when it comes to as-builts or even finding a measurement that you forgot to take when on a site visit. This tool is helpful for the Estimator and the Construction Manager. Additionally, the camera software allows you to measure surface area from a photo as well, which is a powerful tool to estimating concrete pours or the amount of material that needs to be ordered.
Below is a video review by PhoneDog, which shows you exactly how the RealSense camera works and how accurate it is. The tablet he's using is the Dell Venue 8 7000, which he admits does not have the best camera.
The Lenovo Miix 700 with all of these features is gearing up to be the computer that every Construction Manager needs to have.
Lenovo Miix 700 (Starting at $699) | Lenovo - Set to release in November
For decades and decades, construction and technology didn’t mix. In recent years, companies have been flocking to the underutilized construction industry to try and offer the newest solutions. When we talk about technology, we’re not just talking about computer work, there are tons of new products out there that are challenging the way our industry thinks and acts.
Many of the items on our 2016 technology list are still very much conceptual and will undergo plenty of testing over the next few years, but that’s one of the beauties of technological advances: many are extremely forward thinking.
There’s a small, but growing, fear in the construction industry that robots will soon make construction jobs obsolete, but, in all reality, the next logical step is for technology and robotics to first enhance the jobs of human construction workers. There is a lot of money being poured into the industry every day, looking for the next big piece of technology to take over jobsites by storm. A few recent examples are a bionic suit aimed at construction workers and an augmented reality smart hard hat. The next idea may make scaling walls at construction sites extremely easy.
Construction document control is the hot item right now with regards to industry technology. With several leading tech companies working tirelessly to convert all contractors from hard copy drawings to digital, the race is on to see who will emerge victorious. Not only are technology companies seeing opportunity in plan management, their also seeing opportunity with the new Windows platform. The Surface Pro tablets and Surface Book laptops have given Apple products a run for their money recently for jobsite use, after jumping 20% in use in 2016 compared to the previous year, according to a new construction technology survey.
As far as technology goes, the construction industry is behind. We’ve done our best throughout the past couple of decades to resist all incoming technological advancements, because who needs some fancy, new-fangled computer machine when you’ve got hands made of steel and a work ethic that could shame an Alaskan sled dog? Well, these times, they are a changin’, and construction companies throughout the world are starting to realize the benefits of using better technology in both the office and in the field.
JBKnowledge, a construction technology company responsible for software such as SmartBid, SmartReality, and SmartCompliance, has recently released their 5th Annual Construction Technology Report, after successfully receiving over 2,600 participant entries.
[guest post] Joining the tech world from construction was a big change. The transition was made more smooth because I went to work at a company developing technology for construction so there were some other construction vets around me. But still- going from working at a homegrown, mid-sized, family-owned construction company in Utah to a tech startup based out of the heart of the tech scene in NYC was eye opening.
World’s fairs have been held in varying locations across the globe since 1844 and are responsible for some of the most memorable buildings and structures that still stand today. The Eiffel Tower in Paris was originally built for the 1889 Exposition Universelle, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge was built to coincide with the 1939 World Fair, and Seattle’s Space Needle was designed and built for the 1962 World’s Fair (you can check out photos of the construction here), just to name a few.
At the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago, 16 homes were constructed for display to promote new building products and materials to the fair-goers.
Now that we've got Halloween out of the way, it's time to start eating some turkey and buying gifts for your favorite people. Historically, construction professionals can be difficult to buy for, so we've compiled a list of products that we think would be home runs for that special person on your list or even help you decide what you'd like to ask for. We've got hands-on experience with many of these products and we like some so much that they also showed up on our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide! The list is broken up into four categories: stocking stuffers (small and inexpensive), apparel, tools, and kids.
Construction companies rely on two main assets to get their jobs done every day: their people and their equipment. Without either component, you will not be able to serve your customers well. You wouldn't think of sending your people to a site without proper insurance coverage and safety gear, yet if you are operating your fleet without fleet tracking, then you are putting those valuable vehicles at risk. Here are some ways that fleet management systems protect your assets, and therefore your business, from serious financial loss.
There’s no doubt that drones are the hot technology item for the construction industry. They allow you inspect your overall site more quickly, take aerial photos for marketing and documentation, measure tonnage and volume of on-site stockpiles, and even monitor employee productivity. Now, one company has designed a drone that can safely inspect structures for damage and detect cracks as small as .0039 inches wide (.1mm), when fitted with an HD camera.
One thing’s for sure about Milwaukee Tool, they aren’t satisfied with putting the same tools out year after year. They’re constantly improving age old classics and leading in the innovation of new tool solutions. Their latest announcement is a variation on their extremely popular line of M18 tools.