With the amount of information exchange required to successfully complete a construction project, leveraging technology to improve efficiency and keep costs under control has become an essential part of the business.

Effective use of information technology within the construction industry not only requires smart and strategic use of software and services, but also hardware built to withstand the rough and tumble treatment it’s going to receive on the job site. Not just any piece of equipment can stand up to the regular abuse, dust, dirt and shocks that will come along with a life in construction.

There are several different types of software and services that are particularly useful in a business like construction where so many people need to work together and share almost endless information with each other.

Cloud Services

Cloud services provide many benefits to construction projects. Information can be centralized and accessed from anywhere. This alone makes this type of service worth utilizing, but the additional benefit of team members being able to collaborate and work on projects in real time makes cloud computing invaluable.

On top of convenience, these services can help reduce the costs of printing, storing and distributing documents. Anyone who needs information can get it instantly, whether in a meeting room or out on a job site.

Google Docs is one widely used platform for sharing and collaborating on all kinds of documents. Users can create everything from text documents to spreadsheets, images and presentations. One of the biggest advantages offered by this service is the ability to download and convert documents in a variety of different formats such as Microsoft Office or PDF among others.

Other services are quickly raising the bar for what clients can expect and giving Google serious competition. Box offers many of the same services with special attention placed on security and business needs. Dropbox is another close competitor that perhaps isn’t quite so feature rich, but allows for collaboration and file sharing across locations and devices.

Project Management Applications

Obviously the management of everything involved with a construction project can be time consuming and complicated. Project management software will help to keep people, teams, tasks and goals well organized.

By making good use of this type of software a construction company will increase efficiency and profits while delivering higher quality results.

Basecamp is one of the best known web based solution that enables management of large teams and projects across multiple organizations and locations. The service has been online since 1999 and is reportedly used by more than 250,000 companies.

Clarizen is designed to be an enterprise class management solution. The software is designed with various roles and departments in mind, streamlining communication and visibility throughout an organization. It allows tracking of expenses based on employees, departments, tasks, and work items. It is also known for a comprehensive reporting system that provides detailed insights into all aspects of any project.

Mavenlink has been providing project management solutions since 2008. Their software emphasizes task management, file sharing and team collaboration. The service boasts more than 500,000 users in over 100 countries. An interesting part of their technology includes a Chrome browser plugin that will allow you to quickly convert emails into task and team assignments.

Mobile Device Management And Security

With tablet computers becoming more and more prevalent it’s important to make sure your company has control over the devices you are using. They are not only susceptible to loss or theft, they can become a huge security risk if they end up in the wrong hands.

Mobile management software will allow you make sure all systems are properly configured and will work together the way they should. In addition, you’ll be able to remotely lock and erase any devices that turn up lost in order to prevent information theft.

Software like Mobile Device Manager will allow you to configure and distribute software across mobile devices from a centralized location, enforce security rules and track or erase devices. If you don’t need such a robust solution, the software offered by the Prey Project will give you solid stripped down security with the ability to lock, track and erase missing devices.

In addition to software, starting out with hardware that’s built with security in mind will give you the ultimate in data security. For example, the Rugged X-10 Industrial Tablet provides 256 bit full disk encryption on its internal storage plus a CAC/Smartcard reader and RFID reader for security authentication. The tablet can’t be used without a physical authentication device and even if someone opens it and removes the storage drive, they won’t be able to read your data with any other device.

Rugged Design Computers And Tablets

If you really want to make sure your computer hardware will last on the job site, you’ll need to get something more than what you’ll find at your local electronics store. Although computers are generally known for being delicate, sensitive and easily damaged, there are amazingly well built solutions that will stand up to everything from dust and rain to extreme heat and cold.

For an on-site computer system, something like the iPC series of mini computers will do an excellent job while standing up to a harsh environment. They are shock proof, vibration proof, waterproof and will operate in temperatures over 150 degrees fahrenheit. These systems even add details like a fanless design, so there are no maintenance problems like removing accumulated dust and grime to keep them operational.

Industrial tablets like the Rugged X10 will take abuse that would render a common tablet useless. They are waterproof, shockproof, and built with military grade materials to survive the harshest treatment. They also boast extra industrial features like hot swappable batteries, ultra fast recharge times, barcode reader, VESA mounting bracket and a desktop docking station.

Constructing A Winning Combination

Taking advantage of all of these options will allow you to shave time off of projects, reduce costs within your business and boost both productivity and safety. Construction is an industry that most definitely requires industrial strength solutions when it comes to IT. Making smart choices and putting today’s technology to use in your business can put you leaps and bounds ahead of your competition and even make your work easier.