Construction and especially the construction site are normally considered as unusually hostile to IT implementations. The rough outdoor conditions as well as the hard physical work conditions have prevented the use of IT tools from expanding and have limited access to PCs, internet to the hut on the building side. It is however not only a question of outdoor conditions, organizational issues have also an important role to play when it comes to adoption of new technologies. Besides, IT-innovation in construction is continuously lagging behind other sectors. In the recent years mobile computing has developed rapidly, it possess features fitting the mobility patterns of the small craftsmen enterprises operating on construction sites. The new options of mobile computing encompass telecommunication, devices, IT-architecture and: Telecommunication such as cellular phone communication technologies and wireless communication; prices of powerful laptops, pocketpc, smart phones, blackberry's and PDA's continue to drop and their functionality approaches the computing power of laptops. Moreover those generic technologies have become commonly used. By the end of 2005, there were more mobile phones in use in Denmark, than inhabitants. Also the statistics on internet broadband access show that Denmark in general is one of the most informatized societies in Europe. This could provide a positive background for new systems in construction as well. Parallel to generic technologies, a few dedicated systems for construction are developing as well. A recent review shows a small portfolio of systems using mobile computing to support specifically the construction project processes. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the use of mobile computing at small construction contractors. The paper presents a quantitative evaluative study of both SME use of ICT related to construction sites and experiences with the implementation and use of three ICT systems based on the use of Personalized Digital Assistants (PDA's) supporting various work processes such as hours spent registration, planning and in-process quality assurance. The paper analyses the specific functions for mobile computing related to building places and discuss generic versus dedicated systems and their potential. First results show that dedicated to construction ICT systems are received with a mitigate success, whereas the use of generic tools is more and more widespread on the building place, but hold less potential as to integrate and enhance the many tasks, procedures and specificities of construction industries.
Proceedings of the 19th Conference of the International Association for Management of Technology (iamot): Technology As the Foundation for Economic Growth, 2010
Construction; mobile technologies; generic and dedicated technologies; innovation
Main Research Area:
International Conference on Management of Technology, 2010
International Association for Management of Technology (IAMOT)