Over the past few years, technology enabled a paperless jobsite; then there was a focus-shift toward mobile; and now “frictionless” is the technology trend taking businesses by storm.
The term frictionless means technology-aided experiences that remove time-consuming or inconvenient processes. Examples of technologies offering these benefits are already popular in day-to-day lives; for example, being able to remotely program a Nest thermostat from a mobile phone, or being charged automatically for an Uber taxi. This year’s prediction is the introduction of many frictionless technologies to the construction industry.
REAL-TIME CONSTRUCTION COLLABORATION
Whether it’s a new warehouse facility or a luxury office space, construction projects always bring together a multitude of stakeholders who are all on the go and either spread out across a single project, or around the city. The use of mobile apps and cloud-based construction software allows for these groups to communicate quickly regardless of physical location, offering features such as project communication (messaging or chat), live document markup and more. Moving forward, communication practices that allow people to get all of the project information and updates they need—on the go and in real time—will be a non-negotiable in construction.
The use of cloud-enabled mobile apps becomes even more interesting when they start to include features that leverage geolocation. To clarify, geolocation is typically identified based on the user’s phone, tablet or computer’s IP address. This technology allows for a physical location to prompt an action from the app being used.
For example, San Francisco-based Rhumix is getting a lot of industry attention for its software that allows laborers to track hours worked based on when they arrive at, and leave, the project site. This same type of technology also can be used for things like tracking who is onsite in the instance of a safety emergency, or by foremen to keep tabs on their teams.
With more technology comes more information. In general, this is beneficial. However, more information also means more for everyone to remember—a growing challenge on fast-paced construction projects. Because of this, technologies that allow for the automation of daily repetitive tasks are gaining popularity in construction and saving teams both time and peace of mind. For example, Bridgit’s Closeout application allows general contractors to send automated emails to subcontractors on a daily basis. This eliminates the time required to compile daily reports and draft individual emails.
STAYING INNOVATIVE WITH FRICTIONLESS TECHNOLOGY
The important thing to remember about new technologies that promise to reduce friction in construction is that, while they are great, they are not the first step. In order to take advantage of many of the newest technologies available, companies must first have a good understanding of paperless practices, have an organized mobile device program and promote a culture of constant innovation. Technology is evolving at an exponential rate, and staying in touch with the latest tech trends is more important today than ever before.