Mobility software for Construction: the case for digital collaboration

Construction’s future is digital. In fact, Construction will have no future unless it is able to embrace and deploy digital technologies. There is much at stake in what is fundamentally a change in paradigm: the current model is broken and has long ceased to serve construction companies and their clients.

So what are the building blocks of this new digital future and what role will mobility play in it? McKinsey’s analysis paints a complex picture (see diagram below) whereby 5 key trends will be shaping construction and capital projects. In this blog post we will be focusing on point 3: Digital collaboration and mobility. 

  • Digitalisation in the Construction industry

Digital collaboration and mobility software for Construction

Are you still relying on paper to manage your projects? Would you be lost without your typical paper deliverables, such as equipment logs, daily progress reports and timesheets? If so, you are facing an issue that is not confined to manual retyping of information: you have no way of setting up a proper analytical process, which in turn would deliver actionable insights on current and future projects. 

Even more alarming: if you are still managing your field and office teams with paper forms, it becomes extremely challenging to form a coherent picture of projects that are underway. If you are a contractor and need to report on progress made, either to your end client or to senior management, you will be hard pressed to keep on top of everything. Conversely, if you manage several contractors, with different agreed contract specifications, you might find yourself chasing never ending paper trails. And how, if you are still using paper based processes, will you be able to tell exactly how much you have made yesterday? Finally, with GDPR coming into force next month, any information kept on paper could open the door to some uncomfortable instances of non-compliance. 

Owners and contractors […] often work from different versions of reality. The use of paper makes it difficult to capture and analyze data […] Mismanaged paper trails also routinely spur disagreements between owners and contractors on such matters as construction progress, change orders, and claims management. Finally, paper trails simply take more time.*

Field mobility solutions for Construction

Digital solutions for Construction need to deliver a seamless, real-time experience. 

What should you be looking for in a field mobility solution? Again, going back to McKinsey’s insights, you would ideally search for the following:

  1. Mobile component
  2. Cloud-based
  3. Single platform
  4. Digitised project management workflows

In terms of the functionality to look for, here are the 8 basic use cases that Construction companies would typically find most helpful: 

  • Use cases for digitisation in construction

 

Taking as an example; while it may seem like a small step in the overall process of change management, its benefits are far reaching:

  • Save staff time by congregating everything in a single platform 
  • Reduce time to generate reports
  • Speed up document sharing

Overcoming objections to field mobility solutions

These are some of the most common objections that get in the way of adopting mobility software: 

  • Compatibility issues between mobility solutions and central-planning solutions;
  • Lack of reliable and high-speed broadband connectivity;
  • Non-intuitive designs and user interfaces, which hinder user uptake. 

How can these objections be overcome? The answer is in the technology itself: how it was designed, which underlying principles were taken into account when the product was built. 

GeoPal was founded by engineers with a deep knowledge and understanding of how industries with field workforces operate. Our stack was built to address and tackle the main roadblocks facing construction companies.

  • APIs allow you to connect all pieces in your ecosystem, ensuring a reliable and constant information flow;

GeoPal gives us great flexibility in recording the information that traditionally we would have gathered in paper-based records. We are able to analyse that information and use it to improve efficiencies out in the field. Coffey Group. Watch video

  • GeoPal won’t stop collecting field data, even if your worker is outside of network coverage: once connectivity is re-established, GeoPal will simply sync all collected information;

The really impressive features are the customer configurable template for the forms used by staff and also the offline feature, which is essential as we work in remote areas with often poor or non-existent cellular communications. Wexford County Council. Watch video

  • We pride ourselves of having built an app that field workers are able to start using immediately, even if they had never used a smartphone before. 

GeoPal has made super users out of our staff. Many of the guys in the field hadn’t used a mobile app before, they had been using paper for 20-30 years, but within an hour they were able to use GeoPal and start collecting some useful data. TLI Group. Watch video

*Source: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/capital-projects-and-infrastructure/our-insights/imagining-constructions-digital-future

Going beyond Digital Collaboration: the future of Construction

Have you implemented Digital Collaboration successfully in your construction business? Are you ready to move further by deploying IoT and advanced analytics?  

 

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