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Construction Technology Briefing recap

By Phil Poje | CEO, TechOrchard

The Construction Tech Briefing was an exciting opportunity to discuss what is happening around the issues that are faced by staying mobile, and the exciting things that are developing in and around the mobility space. A roundtable was conducted, with participants including: moderator Ryan Johnson, director of IT at Builders Association; Ray Chen, director of information systems at Faith Technologies; James Robertson, VP of technology at TechOrchard; James Benham, president and CEO of JB Knowledge Technologies Inc.; and Dustin Burns, information technology director at McCownGordon Construction.

The first question posed asked, “What are the current challenges subcontractors are experiencing in relation to mobility?” Participants shared that finding the proper doc format can be a very challenging experience along with the issues of sharing the data. For example, how do you find a “standard” and keep from having to enter the data twice due to the fact there is no industry standard?  The problems with the use of PDFs is that it does not have an interactive code. In turn, the owners are the ones delving into new formats and discovering the open formats that will lead the industry moving forward.

Question two asked, “What is something your organization is doing through the use of mobility?” McCownGordon Construction started handing out loaner iPads to contractors, which has helped with the improvement of saving time at the job site both with the contractor and in regards to communication within the project. Ultimately, this moves closer to producing an environment that will lead to greater buy-in for creating productivity with mobility. The issue is to view the technology like a construction project and stop gutting and rebuilding technology every year. Users must remember it’s a living, breathing focus toward an engaging mind on the workflow of a project vs. the complete destruction and further rebuilding. After all, why would we continue to do this if it does not work?

Further discussion centered on some of the issues with Bluetooth, including the low power of keyboards and problems with headphones and communication. But what about smart beacons, like NFC, QR codes, Wi-Fi or Tile active RFID? Using smart beacons to help clock in and out at the job site can be a useful tool. Yet, we must consider whether this type of technology, along with the necessary software, is available to use. And finally, is there a method of trading date to the device? The short answer is “yes,” but nothing there is nothing standard across the industry at this time.

The moderator then asked, “What is COSA?” COSA is the time date being passed around with the intent to use whatever content is being used and send it out to whatever cloud service is being used like BOX, Dropbox, etc., which could be taking off soon. The use of smart codes to download plan room data with mobility is saving time. The alliance of the businesses developing an open source standards in the the industry. An example of this is companies like Trim and Autodesk pushing and developing to be the leaders of StetchUp and Bimm into one product. These companies are using Augmented Reality, or AR, along with the use of GEO-located AR. One example might include pointing your mobile device at an ad in Times Square, followed by a car pulling out of the ad and driving off. This is where everything is happening, but if a standard is not developed, this whole idea will go nowhere. Developing an object and displaying an idea in construction is critical. The use of smart reality to be able to interact with a Revit mobile and scale it to size and scope in an impressive tool, and modeling of the object can be displayed depending on your point of view.

Finally, the discussion closed with the question, “So, how did you get your company started with mobility?” Panelists agreed that it cannot be dismissed for the need for more real time data is important. The importance of just getting started and diving into a fully developed and well thought-out process to be more lateral in agility and be able to have the best products in a fast and efficient manner is key. Mobility is not just handing out an iPad and expecting your employees have full integration and then expecting them to experience the product at it fullest. Rather implementation of training helps to move past the scare of hitting the wrong button. Most people jump into mobility via their phones, so before training there needs to be a discussion on what are you going to do with the mobile device. App design is at the heart of this with being able to work offline. If you don’t have mobility with clearly developed goals for moving forward, it’s unlikely you’ll remain competitive in your industry.

Interface 2013

TechOrchardis pleased to extend an invitation for you to attend Kansas City’s Premier IT Event

Interface 2013

July 25, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m at the Overland Park Convention Center

Included in your INTERFACE Experience:

  • 15 Educational Seminars
  • Keynote Speaker
  • Mobility: Business Uses for Tablets
  • Lunch Buffet
  • Hands-On Enterprise Security Lab
  • 35 Vendor Exhibits
  • Hosted Reception
As a key influencer on the evaluation of IT solutions, INTERFACE was developed for you. This educational symposium will address today’s most critical IT challenges:
  • Business Continuance & Recovery
  • Network & Data Security
  • Enterprise Communications

More event information can be found on the Interface website.

Register HERE

MobileIron raises another round of capital

MobileIron logo

Further indications that the Mobile Device Management (MDM) space is rapidly expanding have most recently been given in the completion of a financing round for one of the top four MDM companies: MobileIron. MobileIron’s most recent funding round was led and closed by Institutional Venture Partners for around $40 million.

MobileIron states that it intends to use this round of financing to push for global growth outside the U.S. The rapid international growth of the MDM space is indicative of the shift in businesses toward a more mobile workforce. Strong MDM allows organizations to achieve this mobility without sacrificing security.

Adoption of iPad in small business explodes

Bizjournals reports that the adoption of the iPad (note: iPad, not other tablet devices) has quadrupled in 2011 from the previous year. A full 34% of small businesses in the United states are now using the iPad in some business function — a statistic likely to increase at an even faster rate with the recent decision by apple to continue production and sale of the iPad 2 at a reduced price point of $399.

A key takeaway from the report is that small business owners are no longer primarily concerned with productivity and efficiency. Rather, access to data anytime, anywhere, has trumped the need to be productive. It’s a vindicating trend for those of us evangelizing the impending tsunami of mobilization. What’s critical to note is that with this trend of increased mobility, the need to manage fleets of these devices (either company owned or BYOD) will also increase.

The days when business owners could treat mobile devices as “just” phones or novelty devices are long past.

TechOrchard early 2012 travels

TechOrchard on the move

2012 is shaping up to be an incredibly busy time for TechOrchard. The mobility space is moving incredibly fast, and things that were true or impossible last month are likely out of date or possible this month. We’re spending a lot of time with clients helping them set up complete mobility solutions from hardware procurement to custom private app solutions, and setting targeted mobility security infrastructures.

But don’t fret! We’ll be venturing out of our Kansas City super-secret salt-caves quite a lot this year. Some of the conferences you can find us at in the first half of 2012 include:

  • CITE (Consumerization of IT Expo) from March 4-6 in San Fransisco, CA
  • Cloud Intelligence Conference held April 12 in Kansas City, KS
  • MacTech in Boston, MA on May 18

We’re likely to add a couple more if we have time. It’s going to be great to get out and talk with other mobility trailblazers. Feel free to drop us a note if you’d like to grab a snack or a drink and talk mobility at any of these events.

Mobile devices are a huge threat to enterprise security

Mobile device security threat

So the Tech Orchard crew has been wading around the rapidly mobilizing workplaces locally here in Kansas City for about a year now, and while we are consistently surprised at the way business are adapting to feature consolidation, feature/processing growth and consumer adoption of mobile devices, there are a few common themes that come up in discussions and implementations.

Note: These are anecdotal observations from our local area here in KC (but they do track well with recent research).

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