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Wagon Build a Huge Success January 19, 2013

Posted by carolhagen in communication.
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The Advancing Women in Construction (AWIC) at Arizona State University and Girl Scouts troops from around the valley gathered to assemble their cookie wagons today.

With 56 girls from 20 troops working together with troop leaders and volunteers at the USE building parking area the Wagon Build project was deemed a success.

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We all took a lunch break, consuming 30 pizzas from Papa John’s.

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Much work was done by each girl scout troop, painting, assembling and decorating their wagons while meeting students in ASU’s construction program along with women (and a few men) working in architecture, engineering and the construction industry.

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Awards for Best Teamwork, Best Cookie Theme and Best in Show plus goodie bags for all. Thank you to our sponsors, volunteers, cash donations from CFMA and AWIC for a great event.

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It was wonderful participating as a volunteer and hope this becomes an annual event. Now go buy some girl scout cookies!

A New Way to Consume Carol’s Construction Technology December 24, 2011

Posted by carolhagen in communication.
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Google Currents App (like Flipboard on ios) has my construction, social media & technology content. Read it all in here from your smartphone http://t.co/uyL9HqRl

Construction Collaboration: PDF Secrets Part 2 – On-line Meeting for PDF Changes Now or Later July 6, 2011

Posted by carolhagen in communication, Construction Industry - Software, Document Imaging, project management software, records retention, Sharepoint, web conferencing.
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Construction Collaboration often involves sharing documents during an on-line web meeting. While many solutions allow for these sessions to be recorded, there are few that let you leave it open for up to 2 weeks, append to the meeting later, or provide a way to capture the log of the discussion, particularly when changes are made to a “working” PDF. The problem is the method to make these annotations because the web based sessions are typically screen captures of the presenter’s desktop. There is a better way to work on PDFs with individuals or teams which can track, log and hyperlink to the PDF area details. Automatically documenting and capturing the recorded modifications on the PDF for construction project teams with Bluebeam® Studio Server™. You have to see it to believe it.

Let’s take a look at a Bluebeam Studio Session. In this example there are questions concerning the placement of lighting. Note that the chat session captures all annotations and jumps to the view of that persons workspace when they added that annotation.

Bluebeam® Studio Server™ allows you to connect, create and collaborate with anyone, anywhere, at any time. Simply upload your PDFs to Studio and invite attendees from across the globe to view and comment on your PDFs. Chat and add markups to the same PDF together in real-time or separately on your own. Markups and chats are tracked in a Record that links back to the PDF to easily review session activity. You can even create a report of your Studio session to archive or share with your team. With Bluebeam construction collaboration delivers complete version control and report access that you can upload to Sharepoint or ingest into your Enterprise Content Management System automatically using a monitored folder.

Whether you need clarifications from the architect, engineer, General contractor, owner or principal, subcontractor or supplier you can capture the suggestions from each participant, whether you’re all on-line simultaneously, or invitees join later with new ideas or alternatives. If revisions occur later, you can receive email notification that more revisions have been added to the session. Bluebeam has more PDF collaboration power for the AEC industry. In Part 3 we’ll discuss AutoCad and Revit.

If you missed part 1, you may want to read the previous post PDF Secrets: Estimating takeoff from PDF. If you can’t wait for the rest of this series, You probably want to watch this video:
Bluebeam PDF Revu 9 – The Acrobat Alternative Or just Take Revu 9, Bluebeam Studio or Q for a spin with a 30 Free A Trial

Disclosure: Bluebeam software impressed me so much that I recently became an authorized reseller.

Why Contractors and the AEC Industry Need Cupcakes June 3, 2011

Posted by carolhagen in communication, linkedin, Twitter, website tips.
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Contractors and the construction industry as a whole love celebrations. For Architects, Contractors and Engineers a cupcake reminds us of our childhood, the birthday parties you attended and the Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets, Legos and Tonka Trucks you received. For the young women of today it might be their Architech Barbie. Every time you win a bid, finish a project, have designs accepted or get plans approved you relive these moments. Whether you’re a tradesman, project manager or CEO there’s a sense of pride and accomplishment in every task performed. It’s the same feeling around the world. So why aren’t you celebrating construction milestones on social networks and your website making them social cupcakes?

Too many construction professionals are focusing on the economic woes. Stop. You know that happiness and success attract. After attending a joint networking event for the Arizona Builders Alliance(ABA), MCAA and SMPS at Audio Video Resources yesterday it was noticeable who the happy people were and just how many others were congregating around them. Lorraine at Caliente Construction was celebrating making it onto 4 short lists this week and having 2 bids awarded. Way to go! John Ulibarri had a discussion with Mark Minter on the value the ABA brings to the construction industry. Talking points with positive messages and the people around them were listening. Even my discussion with Dennis Tsonis of Lovitt and Touche had others watching us exchange contact info using the Bump app on our smartphones. That gesture of bumping is like a high five and feels like a celebration.

All this translates easily onto the internet. Just this morning at a Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce East Valley networking breakfast we had Tim Troy of TNT Shredding celebrating the arrival of his second truck – Tim tells me he’s getting it wrapped and will be posting pictures on Facebook soon. If you need paper shredded (I’ve been to many construction offices and know you need to make some room), give him a call. Desert View Aerial Photography captures construction celebrations daily. Here’s a top off shot for Haydon Building Corp with the American Flag and evergreen cheering on the last steel beam put in place. Last Steel Beam in Place at Construction project

Many social strategy sessions end up in discussions of what to blog, tweet or share on Facebook or LinkedIn about. The content should not always be about you but on people and business you know…things happening in your community that make a difference to your clients, suppliers and employees. If they elicit emotions and fond memories all the better. That’s why Cupcakes are in the title of this post!

Tell us about what you’re celebrating in the AEC industry and let’s get everyone in a great mood. Every contruction related celebration comment will be approved. Click on the comment button at the top of this post and/or share this with your friends.

Microsoft Takes My Advice on Skype May 10, 2011

Posted by carolhagen in communication, Construction Industry - Software, VOIP, web conferencing.
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Microsoft’s Skype acquisition was overdue. It was January 8, 2011 when I Tweeted:

Just thinking Microsoft could have more Kinect sales if you could use it to Skype. #business

With the official announcement, Microsoft has plans to add Skyping to more than the Kinect and xBox but that alone can convert to huge revenues. By the time Christmas rolls around Microsoft will have kids complaining they can’t use their game consoles because their parents are hogging it for video conferencing. For the small business owner, contractor, and consultant with a home office, this will justify the Kinect purchase as a business expense – so the kids that don’t have a Kinect and Xbox yet, are almost certainly guaranteed a new toy.

With 170+ million connected Skypers around the world many seem worried that their long distance family time will be interrupted. Not to worry as Microsoft is sure to serve up ads on the free service to help them sell gaming consoles and games – 207 billion minutes of voice and video conversations in 2010 is a whole lot of advertising airtime. I suspect that they’ll somehow determine from customer usage patterns or social profiles that small business Skypers should also see Office 365 Ads and every other cloud based offering Microsoft develops. Most IT staff are Skypers too so the potential Ad reach is targeted to Microsofts core audience.

So does this mean LiveMessenger and LiveMeeting are dead? Not by a longshot. Wired Magazine doesn’t think this was a great business technology purchase in their Why Exactly? article, but there is overlap.

There are other factors involved that are mentioned by Forbes Combine all this with the mobile smartphone Ad reach and you see why Microsoft was willing to spend so much money.

Will you be using your gaming console at home to Skype? Will small business owners and contractors move their Xbox into their office? We’d love to hear from you and look forward to your comments.

Construction “Trades Hub” For Quality Content Across the Web April 20, 2011

Posted by carolhagen in communication, Construction Industry - Software, Construction Industry Hardware, Social Media Tools.
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Mike Rowe is passionate about the construction industry

Mike Rowe Works for You

The mikeroweWORKS Trades Hub just launched and pulls together blogs, articles and news stories relating to the construction trades,
It’s an easy to navigate site, to quickly find the popular blogs and websites that might normally go unnoticed if you’re not a regular subscriber. You may recognize the name, Mike Rowe as he’s been at apprentice in over 300 “Dirty Jobs” Episodes on TV. He’s passionate about the trades and the construction industry.

Building Up the Trades Community: “The skills gap is a real concern that’s getting more worrisome every day. Fewer skilled tradesmen in the workforce will affect us all. Younger folks need to have a better understanding of how they can benefit from learning a trade, and parents need to encourage their kids to consider this worthwhile and important path. mrW strives to reinvigorate the trades. The mrW Trades Hub will help us in that effort.”

Carol’s Construction Technology Blog is honored to be included in the Trade Hub. Here’s a screenshot of the Trades Hub and I hope you read it often!

Construction Technology in the Trades Hub

Carol's Construction Technology Blog in Trades Hub

Your comments and feedback are always welcome. Please share this with your friends in the construction industry.

Construction Project Managers Go Mobile September 1, 2010

Posted by carolhagen in communication, Construction Industry - Software, iPhone, Payroll Time Collection, project management software.
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Update September 27, 2010: Project Manager views Job Alerts on iPad using Corecon Mobile

Update: Project Manager uses iPhone to access construction documentation

Construction Project Managers main line of communication is their mobile device. Whether it’s texts, emails or phone calls your smartphone has become the primary tool of the trade. What’s missing? Applications designed to improve collaboration that you can navigate efficiently on your cell phone or iPad. Today I want to introduce you to what I suspect will be a best friend to homebuilders, architects, engineers, and commercial contractors and subcontractors. The Corecon Mobile solution. This is part one in a series of 5 posts on what construction project managers want access or update on a job when they are out of the office.

To be clear, Corecon is something that my firm markets to the construction industry and I believe that they’ve hit the nail on the head. First it won’t matter which smartphone you have. Corecon Mobile will work on all these devices:

* Apple – iPhone
* Apple – iPad
* Blackberry
* Google – Android
* Microsoft – Windows Mobile
* Palm – Palm OS

Wait, you did read that correctly…the iPad too. Corecon is a web-based estimating, project management and scheduling system that has managed to roll-out mobile apps at no cost to the Corecon client. No need for virtual servers, or IT staff to keep Corecon running. They believe in value and have delivered. So what areas of the Corecon system have they included in their first Mobile deployment? The list is impressive:

Construction project management on iPhone with Corecon Mobile

iPhone 3G Project Menu

Contact Management

* Companies
* Contacts

Project Leads

* Leads Listing
* Lead Directory
* Bid Calendar

Projects

* Project Directory
* Alerts
* Documentation
o Checklists
o Daily Log
o Meetings
o Owner Items
o Permits
o Punchlists
o Safety Accidents
* Correspondence
o Comply Notices
o Journals
o RFIs
o Submittals
o Transmittals
o Work Orders
* Time Entry
* Schedules
o Tasks
* Financials

All this with no need to install anything extra on your device. Just access to the internet and a subscription to Corecon. The mobile portion is free. In essence Corecon delivers value to their customers and their smartphones. Here’s a Comply Notice screenshot to wet your whistle.

HTC EVO 4G screen shot of Comply Notice using Corecon Mobile

Comply Notice on the HTC EVO 4G


Tune in tomorrow for more. Over the next few days we’ll be showcasing more than screen shots with actual video of just how easy it is to access, create, update and share these documents from the device of your choice. We’d like to hear what you think about the evolution of technology for managers in the field and on the go.

Update: Blackberry used by Project Manager to access contact directory in Corecon Mobile V7:

I should also mention that Corecon has a fabulous integration to Quickbooks, SAP and Simply Accounting so contractors won’t need to rekey the data and worry about transposing errors. Smaller firms can have all their accounting, estimating, project managmeent and scheudling in the Cloud so the overhead for fancy PCs, backups and loading updates is over. The future has arrived!

What has your construction firm been using your smartphone for other than email and phone calls? Leave comments and share this with others.

LinkedIn Recommendations: The Service Provider’s Dream July 27, 2010

Posted by carolhagen in communication, linkedin.
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Recommendations are the life blood of most businesses. Somewhat hidden within the bowels of LinkedIn is the lair of the Service Provider Directory. It’s where you can give recommendations (even though you aren’t connected in LinkedIn). But more importantly it’s where the smart business people search for experts and read the recommendations of others.

You can find it under the companies search:

LinkedIn Search for Service Providers

LinkedIn Search for Service Providers

LinkedIn is a great place to search for service providers that your contacts or network recommends. This is particularly true if you fall into any of these categories:

  • Attorneys
  • Career Coaches
  • Chiropractors
  • Commercial Real Estate Agents
  • Consultants
  • Dentists
  • Event Planners
  • Family Physicians
  • Financial Planners
  • General Contractors
  • Graphic Designers
  • Insurance Agents
  • Lawyers Mortgage Brokers
  • Nutritionists
  • Optometrists
  • Personal Trainers
  • Photographers
  • Physical Therapists
  • Property Managers
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Recruiters
  • Search Engine Marketers
  • Search Engine Optimization Experts
  • Tax Advisors
  • Travel Agents
  • Venture Capitalists
  • Veterinarians
  • Wealth Managers
  • Wedding Planners
  • Writers
  • LinkedIn Service Provider Recommendations for your 1st contacts The Service Provider Directory allows you to quickly discover, research, and reference check service providers in your network, in your circle of 2nd connections or the world.

    LinkedIn also includes the option to search locally to hone in on the closest, highly recommended specialists.

    Most of the IT and computer geeks I know have been using this feature but when speaking with business associates I find that less than 50% have used it. Guess LinkedIn has more training to do.

    Are you making the most of recommendations and have you given a recommendation on LinkedIn without someone asking? Please share what prompts you to give an unsolicited recommendation with our readers. If you found this tip useful, please share it, Like it or tweet it around the world.

    The Free Droid Apps have me Hooked December 10, 2009

    Posted by carolhagen in communication, Construction Industry - Software, Document Imaging.
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    Ok, I had told everyone that I was waiting to buy it, but like a kid waiting for Christmas, my techie side got the best of me.  In an earlier post I noted app faves for Blackberry and iPhone.  Now I have to give you my Droid list. 

    Google Navigator with Voice Search – for Hands free navigation (Garmin-like GPS with voice recognition) – Found my way to appointments in Tucson with no glitches the day after I purchased.  Since it’s Google its updates are simple and the app is Free on the Droid.

    Voice Recorder - up to 2 hours of record time, when you’re driving and have something you need to remember or you have a complex meeting discussion for reference, record it then drop it into your Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system.

    Pixelpipe Lite – for sharing stuff, and sending it to EverNote or an ECM system.

    Swift – for those that need to Twitter, it’s  better than TwitDroid unless you want geo locations annotation.   There’s an app called Google Maps for Twitdroid for that.

    Bizkit – for tracking expenses on the road, meetings, events and finding my nearest contacts.

    BabelDroid - to translate from English to Spanish, German, Italian or French using voice recognition - will eventually offer call an interpreter.  It works well for phrases and comes in handy here in Arizona with construction personnel in the field.

    Congress – to find your legislator based upon your current location, by state, or zip. Being able to email or call them immediately is handy. 

    Google Goggles – it’s easy and fun to aim your camera and know what you are looking at.  Great for landmarks, artwork, etc.

    Google OCR – good for printed text that you need to edit.

    Google Sky Maps – for you wanna be astronomers.

    National Anthem – for when someone wants to have it played and there are no musicians or singers volunteering.

    Trapster – for reminding you of where all those photo radar cameras are on the highways and intersections (they are everywhere in Tempe, I-10, SR 51, etc in Arizona).

    I realize that like the iPhone, the Droid will create a few hurdles for the IT department (that I hope to address in an upcoming blog post) since they have Blackberry Enterprise Server already deployed and now the owner wants the latest toy (again).  Let me know if I should add any other apps to my “free” list.  I will be trying out the paid stuff over the holidays and focus on construction and business related apps in a future post.

    Social Media Challenges in Business Similar to Early Internet Adoption October 30, 2009

    Posted by carolhagen in communication, twitter, web 2.0.
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    Here we are 40 years after the Internet was first used to send a message and business is repeating history with their adoption rates to new technologies. 

    From a Robert Half Technology Survey and mentioned in Stowe Boyd’s blog post Enterprises Block Social Networks, 54% of US companies with over 100 employees have completely blocked sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.  At the same time, analysts at Gartner are telling IT managers, Loosen up on social networks, security.   These opposing views remind me of the early years of the Internet.  You could walk into a business in the early 1980′s with a dozen PCs and one of them was not connected to the network.  That lone PC was connected to the internet, but it wasn’t safe to have the entire office on-line.  The reasoning was that some hacker could break in and steal all your accounting data and the employees would spend all their time surfing the net rather than working.  

    This battlecry has reared it’s head in the business world with Social Media as “someone might say something negative about us.  We don’t trust our employees to work during working hours.  Lock it down.  Turn it off!”   The control must be kept by the CIO or communications director, and our lawyer and HR department are ready to reprimand any employee that crosses the line.  Oops, only 30% of business have a social media policy.   You can get help with social media and email policy from my earlier blog post Email Records retention Can Be Tricky.

    This fear of social networking will handcuff the enterprise while competitors will leapfrog ahead.  If you don’t trust your employees with some responsibility, why did you hire them?  As Paul Proctor, a VP at Gartner says, “You cannot protect yourself from everything. You must learn to balance risk and performance.”  AIIM has gathered a number of statistics from surveys and research that help to explain the current state and where we are heading.   Here’s just a snippet to share:

    Over half of organizations consider Enterprise 2.0 to be “important” or “very important” to their business goals and success.  Only 25% are actually doing anything about it, but this is up from 13% in 2008.  Knowledge-sharing, collaboration and responsiveness are considered the biggest drivers.  Lack of understanding, corporate culture and cost are the biggest impediments.

    Let’s look at this from the perspective of the business leader.  They hear the word social and think of twittering “I’ll meet you at the pub after work”.  The word social needs to be replaced with business  collaboration when you bring the discussion from the IT department to the Board of Directors.    The real questions that business should be focusing on are:

    • How can we harness “collaborative” networks to improve communications, knowlege sharing, marketing efforts, etc?
    • Should our deployments be internal or external? 
    • Have we developed our business strategy to include these technologies?

    There are numerous business reasons to embrace Social Media including public relations, brand building, lead generation, crisis management and search engine optimization.  Now that Twitter has deals with Bing and Google, to crawl the twitterverse,  I suspect a few more firms will be appointing a “corporate twitterer”.    You want to be planning now as I read in the Social Computing Journal , Nielsen Norman Group estimates “a timeline of approximately three to five years for most organizations to successfully adopt and integrate social technologies into their intranets.”  Better shake a leg.

    Did you say free web conferencing? July 22, 2009

    Posted by carolhagen in communication, web conferencing.
    1 comment so far

    Most contracting firms have used Webex  or Go2meeting either by inviting or being invited to an on-line seminar or web conference.  There are many other players in this marketplace like Intercall and Skype.  Yes I said Skype, the free video calling that Oprah promotes and the game show Millionaire uses to call an expert.  

    So did you know that Skype 4.0 (and subsequent releases)  has video conferencing available with screen sharing?  This is completely free but if you need to have large groups, and send invites ahead of time you’ll want a 3rd party add-on called InnerPass to make it more business friendly.   You’ll need to pay for InnerPass, but for a significantly smaller fee than you pay on the popularly advertised web conferencing systems.  I learned about this from an OPEN Small Business Forum from American Express but since 95% of all contractors are small businesses, and larger firms have suppliers, customers  and outsourced IT guys that would find this helpful, I thought it appropriate to share it with you too. 

    You’ll need a headset & microphone from your laptop, and a webcam if you want video.  This solution works great with Outlook and Xobni too.  Try it out for your next one-on-one instant web conference and you won’t be sorry.  I’d like to encourage you to share your experiences and add your comments to this blog entry after trying it out.

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