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Construction Industry Steps to the Cloud and Mobile Devices

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The Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) had an interesting panel discussion at their conference last month entitled, “Cloud and Mobile Computing Technology for the Construction Industry”. Definitions and software tech firms all agreed that a hybrid approach will be necessary and that the main players are working hard at delivering something that controllers and risk managers can embrace. There were surveys taken about what were the popular devices but I couldn’t help but wonder how much is changing and what impact the new tablets will have on the AEC industry. Much of what happens on a construction site involves a high degree of collaboration so smartphone screens will likely not suffice for visual project management teams.

The Deloitte CIO Journal Tech Trends 2012 and this Cloud Surveys article written by Ben Kepes actually recaps some of the discussion.

What Cloud Solutions Are Easy to Implement?

1. Cloud Backup & Archiving

The first item, if you haven’t already done it is backing up your data to the cloud. There are many choices but recently I found that small firms may be just fine with Backupify for your PC (recently Symantec invested) or for up to 5TB you could use Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3) which scales to the enterprise. There are many more enterprise solutions you may want to consider. Many are mentioned in this article: 10 Enterprise Cloud Storage Solutions

2. File sharing solutions. It seemed that the iPad users liked Dropbox but few were sharing files they felt needed to be highly secure. Every cloud solution must take into account a mix of security and risk management. While the panel was specifically directed to avoid mentioning products (as many panelists were competitors of each other) I found myself wanting to scream out a solution that I showcased during the CFMA Chapter Summit a day earlier, Box. [Just this past week I became a Box Referral partner as it has integrated with Bluebeam, my favorite PDF markup and collaboration solution for contractors.]

What makes Box a great fit? It’s already designed for mobility, it integrates with MS-Office and Google Docs, it truly is a Software as a Service and it has addressed security so your IT department doesn’t have another layer of headaches.

Cloud and Mobile go together so call me to get your construction business started down the path. Once you have these two tasks tackled, we can help you with more.

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