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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.

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.

Connecting Buildings to the Internet October 22, 2009

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, Construction Industry Hardware, iPhone, virtualization.
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It’s great that LEED certified buildings can record the energy savings they return to their owners.  Now it is possible from every home, building or project in design to bring the activities and consumption data on-line with realtime sensors.  Energy and environmental data from objects, devices and buildings can be captured, reported and shared. Both Physical & virtual environments can be tapped.  I’d like to introduce you to a company focusing on the value of this technology called Pachube.

I read a recent interview with Pachube’s founder in Frontiers Economy Blog post called “Wiring Up the Internet of Things”  that caught my attention.  Today you need to look at “where technology, telecommunications and architecture are beginning to collide”.   The Construction Industry, Governments and Manufacturers can take advantage of these tools to make an impact on energy conservation and provide transparency.  Here are a few insightful ways Pachube can be used per their website:

an architect, you might use site-specific realtime sensor data to modulate (or generate) a Sketchup model, or use EEML data in conjunction with IFC-compliant models (as can be exported from AutoCad, etc.) to undertake post-occupancy evaluation
a facilities manager, you might connect up specific outputs from your Building Management System, so that specific data items (like current energy consumption or temperature level) can be shared with the public without compromising security
a property developer, you might connect together several buildings to allocate resources or monitor energy consumption and occupancy
a consumer, you might connect up your electrity meter to track it over time, embed usage graphs in your own website, calculate your realtime carbon footprint or use iPhone or gPhone applications to monitor it remotely

Pachube has been used to measure Air quality in Beijing, Hurricane Gustav’s strengh and location and has numerous apps for connecting environments and patching the planet.  The video below shows augmented reality of the sensor readout:

I am always interested in hearing about how anyone in the AEC industry has leveraged this technology.  Hope to hear from you soon.

IPhone Contender for Verizon Customers October 19, 2009

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, iPhone.
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Verizon Wireless just started an advertising campaign with the new Droid phone.   I was convinced I was switching to AT&T until this announcement and their slick sales pitch that aims squarely at the iPhone.  

The Droid is based upon the Android 2.0 operating system and is a Motorola and Google collaborative effort.   It’s not the first Android based smartphone so you can read about the players in the space from PCWorld .  As Techcrunch so eloquently put it “Verizon Droid is the Real Deal,” so I am now waiting to decide until after the release date of October 30th  for a new smartphone purchase.  With features like 5.o megapixel photos, a Qwerty keyboard, the ability to run simultaneous Apps, widgets and open development this could be the answer for the iPhone or not.  With 10,000 apps touted, I’ll let you know.

IPhone Apps I Wish were All Available on Blackberry September 25, 2009

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, Construction Industry Hardware, Document Imaging, iPhone, scanner, twitter.
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My Friend Tom Davanaugh is more enthusiastic about his iPhone than any other tech gadget he’s ever had.  That’s significant since Tom has lived and breathed IT for decades and is dedicated to educating the construction industry on ECM solutions.  Whenever we chat he mentions new apps he’s using.  The latest excitement has come from JotNot and Evernote since document imaging and mobility are required in the construction business today.

Want to capture expenses easily … so easy an executive will do it himself?  Jotnot turns your iPhone into a scanner and with the Evernote integration you start cooking!  Categorizing your text notes, voice recordings, and snapshots, you can organize notes into notebooks, add tags, search and more.  You can capture text, webpages, voice recordings and your tweets too.   There’s more coming per their blog with the beta 3.5 new release.  Things like auto spell checking, faster searches, map views are on their way.  The combination of these two apps usurps an earlier blog entry I made on iPhone scanner apps.

Here are Tom’s favorite iPhone apps, not in any specific order… if you are getting hooked yourself and some of these apps are available on blackberry (BB): 

Tom Tom             GPS !!!

Google                 Which has every google app all on one screen (BB)

Vlingo                   Amazing voice commands to search the web, get map directions and or voice dial. (BB)

Appbox                A utility set 

Camera                Depending on the application required I have several, most of them zoom and or improve native camera functions…  camerabag, genius, izoom, photogene, colorsplash, picture safe…  all of these either do some amazing things to make the camera more usefull or allow you to manipulate and or modify the photos…

 Tidegraph            I am a fisherman

 Navionics             Is specialized GPS and more (waypoints etc) for the water…    I am a fisherman

 Glaurung             Chess  I am a chess player also

Koi pond              The longest living creature on the planet… and a way to have a virtual koi pond    Which I also have in the entry of my home only it’s a real one

DocScanner        Take a pic and voila you have just virtually scanned!

Zen Garden        Nice to burn up some free time

Urbanspoon       A way to find a restaurant like you were a local

Stars                      I am a student of the universe

Planets                 because I am both a fisherman and see above

Dollar Origami    No way…   yep!

Stanza                   a Kindle like app with access to the Gutenberg project…

Ultimate quote machine               because there were many other well spoken people before me

PM sayings         cause I used to be one and they are so appropriate still today

Ocarina                 A musical instrument that also broadcasts what is being played on it all over the world in real time

Backgrounds      Amazing photos

NoteVault           The same one for the construction industry…

Just having the internet in my hand and being connected even at 36000 ft is pretty powerful.  The search ability of the stuff in the phone itself is awesome like a google appliance

JotNot and evernote.com – It is cheaper than Docscanner (3 instead of 9 dollars)… saves in more formats… and is integrated with evernote.com …   this one wins so far… it also does more than paper.

Some great games for those that love em and have the time…

Shazam … it samples recorded music and comes back with the title and artist and YouTube video and suggestions of songs like it. (BB)

Might as well add my stock app also… there is one for each of the common and popular systems out there.

If you are still reading, Tom has his Blackberry strapped to his waist while he waits for corporate to allow call forwarding to his iPhone.  And I was lazy looking up all the links for all these apps…just go get your iPhone now and you can thank Tom.  He’s out there!

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