How ‘bring your own device to work’ can be capitalised upon in the building industry

on 03 February, 2014

‘Bring your own device’ (BYOD) is a term that is being bandied around more frequently. It means that organisations allow employees to bring their own mobile devices such as laptops, mobile phones and tablets into the office. The company then uses its own network to connect them to the infrastructure required to do their job. Therefore, with increased focus on the growth of the construction industry, can the building industry capitalise on this trend?

The UK construction industry

The UK government has deemed the construction industry as one of the most important sectors for the economy, and was one of eight sectors listed in the government’s first growth review in 2011. The Construction Industrial Strategy was born out of this review, which outlines several huge improvements by 2025:

  • A 33% reduction in construction cost
  • A 50% quicker delivery of construction projects
  • A 50% reduction in the current £6bn trade gap between construction imports and exports.

The key to achieving this? An IT-skilled workforce and advanced, sustainable, green technology. Therefore the construction industry needs to embrace innovation and the development of new technologies.

BYOD trends

BYOD is an increasing trend in business, thanks to its many benefits for employers. The main advantage is the obvious cost saving of employees funding their own IT equipment.

Mark Coates, vice president of EMEA at Good Technology, said: "By enabling employees to securely and easily access corporate data on their own device, productivity levels will naturally increase. In terms of cost savings, there are huge benefits, since small and medium-sized businesses will not have to manage and fund a second device for employees."

Technology and the construction industry

Technology innovation, and the impact that it is making on the construction industry, is prevalent when you look at the increasing number of Apple, Android and Blackberry apps available. The following list documents a number of the popular iOS and Android apps that employees of the construction industry are using:

  • SmartBidNet – This is an iPhone app which enables the user to bid and then track the bid process with subcontractors, in a secure way
  • Construction Estimating App – A simple and easy-to-use app which enables estimates to be taken remotely, and then emailed to the customer via an Android mobile device
  • FingerCAD – This is a useful CAD app for technical drawing using fingers, assisted by the computer. The final drawing can be saved, e-mailed and printed
  • Handy Construction Calculator – This is an award-winning Android app with over 70 different calculation tools, available in US and Metrics
  • Builders Helper App – This iPhone app will calculate several constructions projects including rafters, columns, concrete, stairs, drywall, painting, decking, roof and flooring
  • Architect’s Formulator – This iPhone app calculates over 200 formulas for electrical, plumbing, carpentry, steel design and swimming pool designs.

Looking at the increasing pressure on the UK construction industry to realise financial gains, and the way the technology is evolving to facilitate this, the building industry should absolutely be looking at capitalising on the BYOD trend. Technology is going to be playing an increasing role in the day-to-day building trade.

Mike Hampson is managing director of Insite Properties.

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