Choosing the Right Tablet for Your Construction Projects
In today's digital world, the use of tablets in the business environment is becoming increasingly popular. This is true for the construction industry as well, where tablets are being used to give contractors and engineers access to data on the go during various building and infrastructure projects.
Technological advancements such as cloud databases and expanding WiFi coverage are allowing engineers and construction workers to input, collect, and analyze project data in the field and subsequently share this data easily with team members. It is no longer necessary to fill out physical log books or drive to the office to manually upload data.
Here are just a few examples of the efficient use of technology in the field:
- SmartRock2™: Concrete smart sensors for real-time monitoring of concrete properties
- XCell™: A tablet-based NDT probe for fast accurate detection and on-site analysis of corrosion in reinforced concrete structures
- iCOR™: A non-destructive testing tool for detecting corrosion in reinforced concrete
Giatec's most recent addition, Smart Concrete™, is a prime example of the successful implementation of IoT in the concrete industry. It combines wireless sensors with mobile and cloud applications to enable contractors to obtain real-time concrete strength and temperature results on their tablets or smartphones. Meanwhile, field data is made available to ready-mix producers, who can then use it for in-depth analysis of concrete performance.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Tablet
Choosing the right tablet for you and your team requires a clear understanding of your objectives. Consider factors like the type of project you're working on, how much data you will be collecting, and even the location of the jobsite.
Below is a more detailed analysis of five questions you should ask yourself before investing in a tablet for your construction projects.
How Much Processing Power Do You Need?
It is important to understand that certain tasks will require more processing power than others. For instance, for pure data-capturing tasks (what replaces the physical log book), a standard tablet is often enough.
However, if you are planning to analyze data on site (e.g. 3D modeling), you need more power. Ensure that the tablet you choose is compatible with RAM, storage, security and resolution requirements for the programs your company uses. It may also be helpful to consider a tablet that can by synced with your desktop for ease of access.
Which Operating System Works Best With Your IT Architecture?
Not all fieldwork applications are available across all operating systems, and not all software tools are favorable for field collection. Field apps are typically better than browser-based apps because they are specifically designed for use in the field, offering convenient finger-swiping and requiring minimal typing.
What Are the Jobsite Conditions?
Performance of your tablet can be affected by the conditions at your jobsite. For example, if you're working in a hot climate, you may need extra ventilation gear to keep your tablet from overheating. Outdoor work may require a tablet that adjusts easily to prevent glares on the screen.
Depending on the environment you'll be working in, you may require a lighter, standard tablet that is easy to carry around, or you may need to invest in a rugged tablet that can withstand harsh jobsite conditions.
What Is Your Budget?
Tablets that are suitable for field work can range from $100 to $3,000 dollars or more, so you may be tempted to choose a cheaper device. However, it may not meet your quality and application requirements. Before you make your purchase, you must determine the features that are most important and relevant to your project in order to help you narrow down the options in your price range.
Are the Right Support Systems in Place?
Once data is input into the tablet, you need to evaluate your options for data back-up and recovery. Are your IT systems compatible with the device you have chosen? Be prepared to ask questions about access and security, and make sure your device can protect intellectual property.