In May 2010, I wrote about the launch of Corecon V7 in the US market. Like several other construction collaboration software vendors this year (some already launched – eg: Asite’s cMob, Unit4 – some impending – eg: CTSpace, Aconex), Corecon has just released a mobile product tailored for use on smartphones and tablet computers (see news release).
For a change, it’s not just an iPhone app: “Corecon Mobile is compatible with Apple iPhone and iPad, Google Android, HP Palm, Microsoft Windows Mobile, and RIM Blackberry”, says the news release.
I asked Norman Wendl, President of Corecon, about Corecon Mobile, wondering if it was actually several different products, or a view of Corecon v7 that has been optimised for browsers on all smart mobile devices? His response confirmed my view:
“Corecon Mobile is a separate web solution from Corecon V7 that is optimized for the various browsers on smartphone devices. The navigation is completely different from V7 because of the screen size and lack of mouse or pointing device. In addition, code has been added to the solution to make the necessary finer adjustments for each type of device (ie: Blackberry or Apple iPhone). This also eliminates the need to create separate solutions for each phone. Another reason for being a separate solution is that not all features are available on the Mobile app. For example, estimating is only available in V7 and not in the Mobile solution.”
Corecon Mobile is free to all users of Corecon V7, and it also updates in real-time without requiring synchronization. Norman explained:
“Since Corecon Mobile and V7 are both web-based solutions that connect to the same database, synchronization is not needed. For example, if a user enters a timecard in the Mobile app, he/she will immediately see it in V7 and vice versa.”
Generally, I welcome the emergence of mobile functionality to support construction collaboration, particularly where it enables seamless integration with other users accessing information on conventional hardware, and there appear to be similarities in the approaches of Corecon and of Asite with its Appbuilder outputs, which I reviewed recently (post).
There are point solutions (eg: Foreman’s Mate, Site Clean-Up) that allow users to send email notifications, but I have long argued that it is more elegant to capture all project-related communications in one central, auditable repository – accessible by any authorised team member, anytime, anywhere and on any device – and, as a SaaS enthusiast, I think browser-based solutions should win out in a battle against proprietary platform-specific apps.