In many ways, the technology in your smartphone far surpasses the technology that would have been found in the first spaceship. The ability to search for anything, to find any information, to connect with almost everyone and to learn more than any past generation all within an arm’s reach has changed how we think, work, socialize and function as a society. But how has the development of the smartphones – and even tablets – changed the construction industry?
What is a Smartphone?
A smartphone is a cellular device that combines a phone with the capabilities and intelligence of a computer. The main difference between a smartphone and a traditional mobile phone is the ability to access the internet, download apps and even the quality of the screen and camera. The operating systems, or OS, are often far more complex than what you would find in a “normal” phone. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, satellite navigation, games, music, AI technology and more are all what make a smartphone smart.
Accessibility of Information
One way that smartphones have changed the construction industry is the ability to find information all within seconds. Material types, equipment troubleshooting, reading site plans and even learning new skills to bring to a job can be discovered whenever you look for it. Even growing leadership skills, improving communication or on the job problem solving are simplified by the accessibility of information.
This accessibility of information is a great way that smartphones have changed the construction industry. The ability to find information has called for the creation of resources specifically for the construction industry, too. Online magazines, news sources, studies and more are growing in popularity for the construction industry.
Cloud software and On-Site Productivity
Because construction is an ongoing, on-the-job and moving-around industry, software updates and productivity tools made for computers didn’t integrate well into the industry. Smartphones have allowed for the creation of tech tools specifically for the construction industry which simplify processes for contractors that can be used anywhere on site.
This is perhaps the biggest reason that the construction industry has seen a boom in software and technology applications for contractors. Finally, there was a way for these tools to work within the daily cycles of a contractor with a tool they already have.
Because the application has been made simpler more contractors are open to learning new software and trying it on their own jobs. It’s less intimidating when it’s connected to a tool you already have in your pocket.
Health and Safety
Construction continues to be one of the most dangerous industries out there. Aside from physical dangers such as working from heights, electrocution, falls, slips and trips, recent years have found that there are also mental dangers in the industry. Mental health in construction is referred to as the silent epidemic for contractors.
Smartphones, and technology created for smartphones, have allowed for greater insight into the health and safety measures on construction sites. Monitoring if specific employees are working super long days or even providing HR resources with the touch of a button through an application makes it easy to identify health and safety dangers or to ask for help. When it’s easy and accessible to get help, people are more likely to ask for it.
There have been many studies done about the relationship between health and safety and productivity on site. Using tech tools to improve on-site safety is good for contractors and for projects alike.
Legality and Self Protection
With a camera in your pocket, self-protection is easier than ever when it comes to documenting completed jobs. Even for equipment rentals on DOZR, for example, circle checks and images are used to identify any wear and tear on machines to protect the renter.
For subcontractors or quality assurance purposes, the ability to track and monitor job production is incredibly simplified with the use of smartphones.
Community and Companionship
The construction industry isn’t a job – it’s a way of life. Obviously, being on your phone all day isn’t great for the job, but it does make it easier to capture your favorite projects, share tips and tricks with friends and coworkers as well as connecting with others in the industry outside of the workday.
Construction podcasts such as DirtStories, blogs such as the DOZR Hub and even social media accounts geared towards the construction industry help to strengthen the community and companionship found within the industry.
Smartphones and the Construction Industry
Smartphones have changed the construction industry forever, for good. Whether it’s the access to information, the ability to easily integrate software and productivity tools into the daily life of contractors or even something as small as feeling connected to the industry outside of work, smartphones have changed the look, feel and processes of the construction industry.
Smartphones are just the beginning, too. As drones, AI technology, autonomous vehicles and even robots begin to be more common on-site, it’s clear that the relationship between construction and technology is only growing stronger.