What it is: The versatility of the iPad has helped a construction firm be more productive.
Dallas construction company Rogers-O’Brien started using iPads on sites for the last five years. Their director of applied technology, Todd Wynne, said, “Everyone on the operations staff gets an iPad that comes to work at Rogers O’Brien.” That means everyone working in the field uses an iPad despite the fact that office workers at the company rely exclusively on Windows PCs.
The iPads help manage the vast amounts of paperwork involved in a construction project, including keeping all involved working from the same up-to-date version of building plans. This “One Truth” method is estimated to save around 7 percent on costs for each project, due to a reduction in mistakes caused by using outdated documents.
Relying on paper cost an average of $10,000 per project in printing costs alone. In addition, traveling to an on-site trailer to check a reference wasted time, and so far the use of iPads to check on the spot is thought to have saved close to 55,000 hours of employee time.
The iPad replaces paper and provides updated information in the hands of anyone carrying around an iPad. Essentially you can think of the iPad as a versatile sheet of paper that can update itself with different information at any time.
Most people might not think of a construction firm using technology but any business can streamline their productivity better by using iPads intelligently. Just look for ways that paper is slowing down and clogging progress and you’ll find a way to improve efficiency by using iPads instead.
The big question is why does Rogers-O’Brien use iPads in the field but stick with Windows PCs in the office? Most likely they found that iPads were light and versatile enough in the field but they probably had been using Windows PCs for decades before the iPad showed up, so it makes little sense to throw out perfectly good computers just to switch to something else like the Macintosh. However, when faced with a new use for computers in the field, they found that the iPad offered the best and simplest solution, even compared to Windows computers that can double up as tablets.
How many dedicated Windows tablets can you find on the market? Most Windows PCs offer 2-in-1 features where they act as laptops and tablets, but out in the field, you don’t really need a laptop since a tablet is far more convenient. Given a choice between using a 2-in-1 device or an optimized tablet like the iPad, the iPad likely offered the simplest solution.
Windows may be fine as a desktop operating system, but it’s not optimized for tablet use like iOS is. Using a 2-in-1 device would essentially handicap workers in the field with features they didn’t need. That’s like driving an RV around when you just need a simple car to drive around town. An RV offers more features, but if you don’t need those features, then they just get in the way.
If a construction company can save money using iPads, imagine what any company could do that needs to eliminate paper and keep everyone up to date. By now, nobody is debating whether the iPad is useful or not. Now everyone is simply debating how much an iPad can help a company.