Construction as an industry has never been on the high side of tech. Out of the various types of businesses, construction firms are among the slowest to adopt digital technologies. And to those in an industry that has been using pen and paper, spreadsheets and other manual processes for communication and project management, the idea of cloud-based software may seem daunting, but there are many construction benefits of cloud computing to consider.
Moving the various systems and processes that keep job sites running to the cloud has numerous benefits. Not only can cloud computing help cut costs, it can improve collaboration between crews, managers and stakeholders, enabling faster decision making and more efficient use of resources. The result is faster time to completion for construction projects, reduced overhead and improved margins.
For these reasons, companies across every industry — including construction — are turning to the cloud. In fact, IDC predicts that by 2020, cloud spending will reach an estimated $200 billion.
Let’s take a closer look at five ways construction firms can benefit from cloud computing:
1) Enables effective storage and use of data
In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed the emergence of new technologies on the jobsite, such as cameras, sensors, handheld devices and drones. All of these devices collect data — and that data must be used and stored for documentation and planning purposes. For example:
- Drones are used for capturing aerial imagery for land surveys or inspections.
- Equipment sensors communicate data about how the equipment is operating or if it needs repairs.
- Security cameras provide video and photo documentation of jobsite activity and theft or policy violations.
- Project managers use handheld devices to enter status updates while in the field.
All of these activities generate a lot of data, and it has to be stored somewhere. Aerial imagery and video footage can amount to hundreds of GBs which is well beyond the storage capacity of your average computer.
The cloud is the best logical resource for securely storing this data for the long term. If you have to rely on physical storage such as computers or backup servers, your data is subject to loss, damage or theft and it’s inaccessible on mobile devices. With cloud storage, your data is secure, unlimited and accessible from anywhere. Stored in the cloud, data collected on the jobsite can be studied and analyzed to provide powerful insights that help firms with forecasting and planning.
2) Enables the connected jobsite
Cloud-based software can be accessed anywhere, from any device, via a web browser, making mobility possible. Project managers and other workers on the jobsite can use handheld devices to enter updates, measurements, photos and other job-critical data, and send it over the internet to project management software for assimilation. This eliminates manual data entry and minimizes errors, while providing stakeholders real-time access to project information.
For project managers who may be responsible for multiple projects at a time, online access to this information over the cloud creates huge efficiency. They can pull up job status or address questions on a smartphone or tablet on the go, without having to travel to the jobsite or take a trip back to the office. Data sharing becomes seamless and easy, eliminating time-consuming phone calls, site visits and meetings.
3) Provides scalability without capital expense
Switching to cloud-based software and services reduces hardware requirements and maintenance/administration costs. Firms can leverage software-as-a-service (SaaS) models to implement project management software such as Procore and AutoDesk BIM, without incurring additional CapEx or administrative overhead. Firms can add users as they grow, without having to install software clients.
4) Improves documentation
Documenting projects is critical to meeting contractual obligations and ensuring you are protected if mistakes, theft, policy violations, project delays or other problems occur. Documentation can also aid in forecasting and planning for current and future projects. With unlimited storage capacity and the ability to send photos, video and other documentation to project management software over the Internet, you don’t miss anything. All pertinent information is instantly archived for long-term secure storage and can be easily retrieved when needed.
Harness the construction benefits of cloud computing. TrueLook construction cameras integrate seamlessly with cloud-based project management platforms such as Procore, PlanGrid, AutoDesk BIM and CMiC. Check out our Integrations, or watch a live demo to see TrueLook cameras in action.