Tablets replacing paper in construction

Mobile technology helps empower the on-site team and those working in the field by providing access to a wealth of project information. It allows the users to carry out a complete series of traditional paper based processes seamlessly on a single mobile device.

The use of mobile technology within the construction industry is not a new concept; however the uptake of mobile devices in recent years has significantly increased. The introduction of affordable tablet computing within the consumer market and the maturity of the available systems has caused a paradigm shift in innovation within the construction industry.  

An engineering doctorate research project is being undertaken by Harrison O’Hara of Costain Group Plc, one of UK’s leading engineering solutions providers and Construction Opportunities for Mobile IT (COMIT), an organisation focused on developing and promoting mobile and technology solutions across the industry. The research engineer is working with the Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering (CICE) at Loughborough University, and is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The focus of the research is initially to assess the user adoption of mobile technology and evaluate the acceptance based on adoptions of existing theories, such as the Technology Acceptance Model. This research is exploring the appetite across the industry and people’s perception of how the technology will impact their daily job roles.

  Safety is of paramount importance to all processes and new innovations in the construction industry. It is a critical issue that needs to be addressed fully when introducing mobile technology into live construction environments. Ensuring that the correct company governance, procedures and best practices are always adhered to is a minimum standard that is expected from the major construction firms currently operating in the UK.Therefore, there is a need to research additional technology that further increases the safety of mobile technology. iBeacons have been identified as a potential technology for tracking mobile devices, automating safety warnings and integrating with interactive PPE.

The research will assess the availability of different mobile systems that are available to the construction industry. Over the past decade the functionality of mobile devices has significantly grown from the limited palm devices and handheld personal digital assistant (PDAs). Software vendors have created completely configurable digital tools for the construction industry to manipulate into a powerful onsite tool. An up to date evaluation of the software functionality available to the construction profession will prove to be valuable research for the entire industry.

The research will review the success of existing mobile solutions and new solutions that come to the surface during the research project. If your business is using mobile technology within construction and you are interested in sharing your journey to benefit the whole industry, please get in contact using the details below. Please get in touch if you are interested in attending a COMIT community day and potentially joining an organisation that is leading the way by creating a centre of excellence for mobile computing in the construction industry.



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For further information and to get in touch about this article, please contact Research Engineer Harrison O’Hara at Loughborough University, Costain and Construction Opportunities for Mobile IT (COMIT) (Email: h.ohara@lboro.ac.uk or Harrison.ohara@costain.com).

 

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