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Why Apple is improving communications for mobile workers in construction

The mobility and power of iPad are a great proposition for construction managers looking to improve communication with mobile workers. Paper documentation comes with huge printing costs, and various issues around storage, data analysis, input errors and slow access to information – especially when working away from the office. Here’s why iPad is the solution…


Conal Siddall

For contractors who are busy on site, sharing information with the office using a combination of paper forms, email and text messages is an inefficient and cumbersome experience, with up to 40% of construction companies still using paper plans. According to a PlanGrid report, time spent on non-optimal activities such as fixing mistakes, looking for project data, and managing conflict resolution accounts for $177.5 billion in labour costs per year in the U.S. alone.


Inefficient processes in construction

Sharing information with vast amounts of paperwork takes a long time and can cause information to be missed or lost – up to five and a half hours are wasted a week hunting down project data. Contractors often find themselves sorting through stacks of paper plans to find the latest version, searching for answers to questions about deliveries, finding a last-minute replacement crew member or subcontractor, finding a safety checklist in an out-of-date job folder, or reviewing daily field reports before a meeting, when they could be receiving all this information digitally.

By giving onsite workers iPad to access data in real time, construction managers can monitor and address issues proactively instead of reactively, and avoid unnecessary delays caused by inefficient processes. Meanwhile, onsite staff will be able to access up to date information, report safety issues immediately and address them much faster. Digitising these processes is a valuable prospect, World Economic Forum report that within ten years, full-scale digitisation could lead to savings between $0.7-1.2 trillion in the Design & Engineering and Construction phases and $0.3-0.5 trillion in the Operations phase.


Communicating on site with iPad is more efficient

Miscommunication and poor project data account for 48% of all rework on U.S. construction jobsites. Mobile tablets help improve communication across construction, but iPad offers mobile workers the power and capabilities other tablets just can’t deliver.

Onsite staff need fast and reliable devices, that won’t delay the communication of important information. With a cellular enabled iPad, you can connect to data through 3G or 4G, which means that when WiFi is unavailable workers can still access resources, download apps on the fly, and communicate with team members and clients.


What makes Apple better:

Lower cost of deployment and management. iPads can be deployed with your construction apps installed and ready to use. Plus, you can roll out new apps to all devices instantly – even when they’re on site.

Lower cost of support. Apple devices make self-support simpler and easier, so workers can resolve issues themselves when there’s limited or no access to support technicians.

Out of the box value. Apple devices use the most powerful components, with no OS software costs and built in security features and applications, iPads are ready to use on site from day one and handle even the most demanding 3D drawing applications with ease.

Higher residual value. Apple products retain a far higher residual value than alternative products over the period of ownership – up to 47% higher!

iPad also gives you access to the selection of construction apps available in the iOS store. According to GoCanvas, 36% of construction firms use five or more mobile business apps to complete their projects.


Digitise inefficient paper processes with GoCanvas

GoCanvas is a service for creating digital forms and can help recoup the time wasted on inefficient paper documents. You won’t have to worry about lost or damaged forms, illegible handwriting or a lack of storage space.

It also has a huge collection of tools that will help make any type of construction work easier. You can manage subcontractor agreements, fill out building inspection checklists, and complete contractor time tracking activities, all electronically. These include:

App Builder

Easily create and edit your own GoCanvas mobile forms with the online drag-and-drop App Builder tool.

PDF Designer

Once your team fills out a GoCanvas App, a custom PDF can be generated and emailed.

Image Capture

Capturing images is easy – it just takes a tap using your devices camera.

Signature Capture

When you need to confirm a package or a sales order, you can take a signature on your mobile device.


Know where your equipment or team members are at any moment with GPS capture.

Barcode Scanning

With one click, look up equipment or inventory.


The bottom line is that equipping onsite staff with iPad will help save you money and improve operational efficiency and communication across your business. When you consider deploying mobile devices to workers, there’s really only one choice – Apple.

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