By Stephanie | Posted on
The last few weeks of the year are always a time for reflection, and when an entire decade is coming to a close, there is a heck of a lot to reflect upon! Back in December 2009, how did you expect the next ten years to go? Are you where you thought you'd be? The chances are, some of your plans changed and some of the outcomes weren't exactly what you expected - but that's probably for the better. Think about how technology has changed, and how it has helped make life much easier. Cell phones were already a huge part of our lives ten years ago, and smartphones did exist, but their capabilities have grown infinitely.
Now, we all have miniature super computers that we take everywhere, and most of us can't imagine going about our daily lives without them. The role of technology has also changed quite a bit over the past decade. Because of all their capabilities, computers, phones, and other mobile devices have become invaluable tools in most workplaces. No longer just for making calls while on-the-go, cell phones house apps that help us do our jobs in the construction industry. There are now hundreds, if not thousands of apps available that help us work more efficiently and effectively, and we wanted to highlight six cutting edge construction apps that every contractor needs to have in their pocket in 2020.
In construction, the digital paper trail is everything. Important documentation must be stored online, and as projects increase in complexity, there are even more important files that need to be kept handy. Egnyte has become a staple across the construction industry with its comprehensive system for storing files in the cloud, offering a solution for the endless sea of documentation that comes from any construction project.
With one easily searchable database, you can make sure that all of your files are safe, whether you need to pull them up during a project, or further down in the line in case of any disputes. In terms of litigation, the more documentation you have, the better off you will be. When all your papers are scattered between various offices and binders, you can't quickly gather up the information you need to protect yourself. Egnyte gives you access to your files anywhere, anytime, and best of all, their software integrates with all your other favorite construction apps.
HoloBuilder helps document construction projects from start to finish by providing visual evidence of progress through 360 degree image capture. Essentially, HoloBuilder creates a 3D room for offsite stakeholders to get a real-time view of the construction site. With 360SiteStream technology, jobsites are live-streamed for 24/7 monitoring.
Their mobile platform allows users to create a virtual jobsite walk-through, so those offsite can see everything happening on their projects. HoloBuilder recently announced that they are taking this a step further, and are automating the jobsite walking process by partnering with Boston Dynamics to use everyone's favorite robot dog, Spot, to inspect the jobsite and record information. With HoloBuilder in your 2020 app arsenal, you can be sure that you are documenting all of the most important stages of your projects.
Smartvid.io is also an app focused on documentation, and ties in AI to make sure jobsites are as safe as possible. Their intuitive technology performs safety observations, safety monitoring, and predictive analytics so supervisors can see any existing danger and take care of it before an accident occurs, as well as reduce future risks. With Smartvid.io, safety managers can quickly assess risk metrics and take care of them proactively. The AI software does all the calculation, so there is no room for error.
One of the most unique aspects to Smartvid.io is Vinnie, their very own construction-trained AI engine. By using artificial intelligence, Smartvid.io helps you identify and detect risks through image recognition so you can aim for an accident-free 2020.
There are so many documents and plans that go into the pre-construction process, it can be hard to keep track of everything. STACK's pre-construction organization software helps by processing these documents into a neat, sorted digital plan room. Its searchable database helps contractors easily access and measure digital plans, coordinate with team members, and finalize estimates.
With their centralized platform, the bidding process is streamlined and much more efficient. Users can be sure that the measurements are accurate, so they can be prepared for the job ahead. All of STACK's tools are carefully designed to assist with the planning process for jobs of any size, and to accommodate for any trade.
As a newcomer to the construction app scene, Buildr focuses on the post-construction process through their organized document collection system. While closeout is the phase that Buildr aims to streamline, they emphasize that, "a successful facility starts at groundbreak." Their product also can be used after closeout, for building maintenance and easy document access.
They also offer solutions for warranty management: warranty request submittals, assignments, insights, and tracking. By making a platform exclusively for the post-construction phase, Buildr keeps track of warranties, O&Ms, drawings, and all other closeout documents to enhance and smoothen the process.
Raken is the field's favorite app for daily reports, time cards, toolbox talks, production tracking, photo management, and more. Its easy-to-use mobile solutions for field operations allows users to simultaneously walk the jobsite and record important information. The days of scrawling notes down and trying to make sure you accurately capture project progress are over - with Raken, everything is captured and stored on the mobile app, and instantly sent to the office for insight. Simplifying field-to-office communication has always been Raken's goal, and by adding more features to its already comprehensive platform, it is no surprise that its the field's go-to app.
In 2019, Raken added three all new workflows to its product lineup, and there's plenty more where that came from in 2020. Raken's brand-new Production Tracking tab gives you the ability to track quantities installed through dedicated cost codes, so you can easily keep projects on-time and under budget.
Document, document, document (document, document).
See a pattern here? Documentation is the common denominator across these six apps. Without proper field documentation, construction projects can face major issues at any step of the way. From capturing information to storing it, the systems that we use to document project progress, safety, important decisions, and more are crucial to the success of any build. Plus, construction litigation is a real pain, and by keeping a record of every phase of a project, you can avoid disputes down the line. Proper documentation sets you up for a smooth sailing throughout the duration of a project.
These key players have proven themselves year after year, and we expect to see more big things happening from them in 2020. With constant improvements and widespread adoption, it's no surprise that these apps are staying on top of the market as best-in-breed solutions for their respective workflows. Their ease-of-use, affordability, and seamless integrations are just a few reasons that they have won over so many construction industry professionals. The new additions to this list are strong up-and-comers providing a fresh take on current processes. If you include these six apps in your tech lineup for 2020 you will be on top of your game and ready for anything.