Australia-based SaaS construction collaboration technology vendor Aconex will be launching its first iPhone application next month (April 2011). A short note on its support page about release 10.2, says:
Coming Soon – Aconex Mobile
Now Aconex goes everywhere you go. We’re pleased to announce the launch of Aconex Mobile (for iPhone®) in April.
Very soon you’ll be able to create, capture, share and control your project information from wherever you are, right from your mobile device, online or offline. Click here to take a sneak peek.
This has been on the Aconex product roadmap for some time; the release of an Aconex Application Programming Interface (API) enabling faster development of new tools, including mobile apps, was announced in November 2009, and I discussed it with Aconex founder and general manager, product Rob Phillpot soon after (Rob Phillpot on Aconex, APIs and acquisitions).
However, other SaaS construction collaboration technology businesses (eg: Incite, Woobius, Conject) were quickly off the mark, launching their own iPhone apps in 2009, followed by others (eg: Asite – post; Corecon – post, Sword CTSpace – post; and an iPad application from BuildItLive – post) in 2010 (I also wrote about two point solutions: Foreman’s Mate, and SmartBuilder’s Site Clean-Up).
Some of these providers, though, also extended mobile support to other platforms such as Blackberry, Android and Windows Mobile 7, either as dedicated applications or through mobile web-browser interfaces. As a smartphone user, I value having access to various services literally at my fingertips (connectivity permitting, of course – and this can be a challenge on remote sites), and industry analysts are forecasting that mobile web access will soon outstrip web access via conventional laptops and desktop PCs.
But some UK vendors, notably BIW and 4Projects, have not yet started promoting their own smartphone applications (though BIW first marketed a mobile defects management solution for PDA-type devices in 2006), so, particularly for potential customers and their teams who are avid iPhone users, Aconex’s forthcoming launch may give it an edge until these rivals catch up.
Update (23 March 2011): On behalf of 4Projects, Steve Spark told me:
Our mobile offering is developing all the time. Our email integration work already allows any user to use key elements of our functionality direct from mobile email accounts (uploads, tasks, discussions, workflow etc). Our integration with Evernote gives any user the ability to upload photos and sketches while on the move.
We are currently exploring our ‘mobile’ offering. We want to provide our solutions across the major platforms – not just iphone. Some very exciting stuff in the mix!
Steve Cooper of BIW told me his business had been looking at the latest edition of Conject’s iPhone app, but didn’t want to be focused on just one smartphone operating system, particularly as there was still a large corporate community using Blackberry devices and the Android system was increasingly popular with both end-users and application developers.