Keep taking the tablets

I recently talked to Building magazine’s Stephen Kennett about use of mobile devices such as Apple’s iPad in the construction industry and providing some pointers on who else he might talk to. The resulting article, Keep Taking the Tablets (paywall site: subscription normally required) was published last week (I get a couple of mentions – thanks, Stephen!) and includes some contributions from two players in the construction collaboration sector.

Woobius talked about Woobius Eye (post), seeing the attraction of a bigger screen. “Having more screen to work with is an obvious advantage.”

BIW’s Colin Smith talked about the advantage of some extra processing power to enable you to work offline and then sync all the information with the central database when you get back to the office or somewhere with internet access. The article reports BIW is also developing a location-sensitive application for defects management:

“That’s where we see tools like the iPad being really beneficial,” says Smith. “The trick is to get the device to understand where you are in the building so that it predicts the defects you are likely to come across and generates an appropriate snagging list.”

My attention, though, was particularly drawn to comments by Buro Happold’s Ian Keough. While he has developed a building information model viewing application for the iPad (goBIM – “I wouldn’t have spent all this time developing software if I didn’t think it was the next big thing,”), he also thinks that other operating systems, notably Android, shouldn’t be overlooked – a view I share. Android is “huge” in China and the devices are going to be cheaper, he says. “It’s going to be interesting to see if the big computer and laptop makers pick up Android in the same way as the iPad.”

Not just ‘going to be cheaper’ – are cheaper! Chinese technology vendors, eg ChinaVision, are already advertising Android tablet devices for under £100. [Thanks to Chris Aldridge for the tip!]

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