This is the third article of the series Top Tech Trends at the Construction Site 2017. It addresses another technology trend in construction: mobile apps. Also, learn more on the other trends we presented within the last months: Wearables and 3D printing.
Most apps for construction works are used for project optimization, such as staff, machine and equipment management, data collection or project documentation. They focus on increasing back-office efficiency or granting real-time access to documents with respect to the project like project plans, progress, general information collected during daily work like photos, sketches, notes, GPS data or signatures. In other words, the most common use thus seems to be for administration purposes.
An app, however, might also be able to give you access to a machine. With the necessary equipment, a mobile device like your smartphone or tablet can connect with the machine and access different kinds of data. Apps might allow a local connection and provide you with the information you need. In other cases, apps might create a connection into the Internet so that it is possible to remotely access the machine without even being on-site.
Mobile apps will revolutionize working processes around remote support since they open up a full range of options, from comfortably monitoring machine operation data to remotely identifying service issues and assisting in resolving the problem.
An app could for example store important information on the system or provide the possibility to get in contact with a service technician by the click of just one button. In turn, the service technician can now access information about the machine or even the machine directly whether he is in the office or even somewhere on the road with Internet access. As soon as the construction machine is connected to the Internet, all assessed data might automatically send to a technician, thereby allowing remote monitoring at any time. I guess the most interesting possibility would be that a service technician might get remote access to the machine in order to properly inspect it, identify the problem and maybe even to fix it on the spot. This reduces machine downtimes and eliminates waiting times for machine operators und technicians and therefore reduces costs.
The most recent developments by MOBA laying a foundation for a widespread app usage are e.g. the new MOBA Cloud Gateway Wi-Fi or the MOBA Cloud solution. The gateway is an essential component to establish the connection between machine and mobile device while the Cloud solution stores all relevant data and makes them accessible anytime and anywhere. Further applications of those two developments are neatly presented in the latest CAN Newsletter of CAN in Automation.
What are your experiences with apps at the construction site? Have you ever used one? If so, what for?