Although historically hesitant to embrace new technologies, the construction industry has experienced a major shift in the past year. Due to the pandemic, firms who have accelerated their implementation of digital tools using cloud computing and are reaping the rewards. As cloud computing technology continues to improve, the advantages to moving your tools and processes to the cloud will continue to increase, as well.
What is cloud computing? Simply put, cloud computing is used to deliver on-demand networking resources and software, replacing on-premises equipment and agent-based software solutions that can be costly, difficult to maintain and inefficient. It’s the same thing as streaming Netflix to your laptop or TV.
Cloud computing is gaining traction in construction as firms learn they can benefit from the flexibility, reliability, security, convenience and efficiency it offers over on-premises solutions. And it may be the lynchpin in helping firms adopt digital tools. According to recent research from Science Direct, the construction industry is about 90% small and medium sized businesses who likely can’t afford the infrastructure necessary to benefit from today’s digital innovations. That’s why pre-pandemic, 85% of construction firms were considering adopting cloud-based systems and solutions. That percentage is sure to be higher today.
Not convinced yet? Here are five ways cloud computing can change and help improve the way your firm operates:
1. Lower Costs and Greater Mobility
The flexibility of cloud computing enables firms to choose the storage, processing and advanced features that best suit their budget. Firms can invest in their digital infrastructure rather than spend money on computers and backup drives that depreciate soon after purchase. The best part is that as technology evolves, new software versions and updates are delivered seamlessly over the Internet in real time, enabling your firm to benefit from them instantly.
Cloud-based solutions also support increased need for mobility and remote access to processes and technologies. Using cloud technology to manage projects, purchasing, inventory and payroll eliminates material waste and saves valuable time.
2. Safe Data Storage and Analytics
Unlike storing data in manual files or on a computer at your office where it’s subject to damage or theft, cloud-based systems offer secure, long-term, usually limitless data storage in the cloud. These systems allow firms to better organize, manage and protect project data, without worrying about storage space and maintenance.
Cloud-based storage makes data easy to manage, searching and retrieving data on-demand — and it’s mostly automatic. Having all project data stored in a central location streamlines analysis and reporting functions while improving accuracy. Additionally, cloud-based systems offer faster processing speeds than on-premise systems, saving project managers time and enabling them to share results across teams and locations with speed and ease.
3. Complete Project Documentation with Cloud Computing
Documenting your construction project is crucial for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is protecting your firm from regulatory fines or legal disputes. Well-organized and documented project data helps prove you’re meeting contractual obligations and can help keep workers and the jobsite compliant with laws and regulations, which are getting stricter by the minute. Plus, audits and investigations are faster and less stressful if it’s easy to access the required data. Cloud-connected construction camera systems can be used to automatically capture and store visual evidence from your jobsite, making it accessible on-demand. (Watch this webcast to learn how TrueLook makes monitoring and documenting your jobsite easy.)
Thorough documentation can also help you justify delays caused by weather or pandemic-related delays such as site closures, supply chain issues that cause materials to arrive late or not at all, and labor shortages resulting from workers being quarantined or out sick.
4. Better communication and collaboration
Cloud-based applications for video conferencing, messaging and live chat enhance communication throughout a project to speed decision-making and assist with problem-solving.
Cloud-based systems offer faster processing speeds than on-premise systems, saving project managers time and enabling them to share results across teams with speed and ease. All interested parties can instantly and securely access them from their own location at any time via desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices through browser-based interfaces. All you need is an internet connection.
For example, sharing live images and video footage of a jobsite using TrueLook’s cloud-based platform enables project managers to easily share content with subcontractors, vendors, building owners and investors to keep them in the loop about a project’s progress. Robust privacy controls keep sensitive data safe, and features such as image mark-up and comparison make collaboration easier.
5. Cloud Computing assists with talent recruitment
According to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) 2020 Construction Outlook Survey, 72% of contractors anticipate labor shortages to be their biggest hurdle in 2021. As the construction workforce continues to age, with many from the Baby Boomer generation set to retire, it’s critical for firms to have a solid recruitment plan to attract the next generation of workers.
High schools and colleges are offering more construction preparation and education programs, encouraging a younger generation to embrace skilled trades. Moving your firm from manual, paper-based workflows to cloud-based technology can help entice tech-savvy students to join the construction workforce. Recruiting employees eager to put their tech skills to use at your firm will foster technology innovation and growth and provide a competitive advantage.
As the construction industry continues to embrace digital transformation, cloud computing will become a cornerstone, enabling more efficient back office processes and making it easier for project managers to keep costs under control and projects on-track. The sooner firms adopt and utilize cloud-based solutions, the better equipped they’ll be to meet the challenges that lie ahead for the construction industry.
If you aren’t using cloud solutions for your firm yet, it’s never too late to start! TrueLook construction cameras offer 24/7 cloud-based access to live images and streaming video, unlimited time-lapse captures, workflow integrations and powerful collaborative tools and security features. Learn more about these features and take a look at our Camera Buying Guide for more information.