Unless you're a meteorologist, when you refer to "the cloud", you're probably not talking about a mass of water droplets. And yet when you hear those in the IT field throw around terms like "cloud computing" "cloud sharing" and "cloud platforms" it does all sound a bit vague and wispy. What exactly is the cloud, why is everyone so excited about it, and what exactly can it do for your construction firm?
"The cloud" refers to software and services that you access directly from the internet. Amazon and Hulu are two well known vendors who use the cloud to provide customers with rapid shopping and streaming video experiences. The cloud certainly has business applications as well. It can be used to link mobile devices to computers, share files, and provide security for digital systems.
And while the construction industry will always use physical labor and equipment, it has become more and more reliant on IT applications over the last several decades. So instead of avoiding this new technology, managers and supervisors should embrace it and utilize web based construction software to help their firms operate more efficiently, allowing them to move onto new projects more quickly. Below are a few ways the cloud can make this happen.
ReportingSoftware like Raken's for daily reporting allows workers to use both computers and mobile devices to quickly create professional looking reports which can instantly be sent to multiple parties for review. These reports can be stored on the construction cloud software for up to ten years. And these reports can also be worked on collaboratively in real time by parties at different locations.
MeetingsThey're as necessary to construction projects as reporting, but what a hassle! Meeting space to accommodate all attendees must be found, schedules must be altered, and there's the cost of travel to get to them. But with web based real time software, multiple parties can participate in group work, discussions, and even site visits without leaving their respective offices.
No Need For ITUnlike older software systems, the cloud has few maintenance issues. When it does, problems are handled by the vendor who provides the service as well. That vendor also "installs" the software for you.
No Need For Operational System UpgradesRemember all of those old systems and programs that you constantly seemed to have to add to your computers? They were expensive and tied up machines for hours as they downloaded. If your computers and devices have internet access, you're already "upgraded" and simply pay for the subscription service.
And more cloud based construction software and applications are coming out all the time, ranging from levels and scales that can be used on smart phones, to time sheets that employees can digitally carry with them. Since this particular cloud doesn't appear to be floating away any time soon, firms are advised to explore it and take advantage of the features and savings this technology offers.