4 ways connected laptops can help construction pros increase productivity and profitability

With the rise of remote and mobile workers along with a growing reliance on connected construction technology — everything from computer-aided design (CAD) and building information modeling (BIM) to drones and AI — data connectivity is more vital than ever to success in today’s commercial construction market. 

Yet, by their very nature, construction sites are notoriously disconnected. Workers often must turn to unreliable and unsecure public Wi-Fi options to access key workflow systems and information, leading to data bottlenecks with the potential to prevent real-time decision making. This situation is more than just frustrating — it’s causing as much as $89 billion in unnecessary rework, a chief cause of lost productivity, according to a report from Autodesk/FMI. 

Cellular-enabled mobile devices offer better performance on construction jobsites compared to Wi-Fi dependent devices

A solution to disconnection on construction sites is using the latest connected laptops and tablets with built-in secure, high-speed 4G/5G cellular connections. A connected laptop has a built-in cellular connection that connects to the 4G/5G network, eliminating the dependency on Wi-Fi and hotspots.

When workers have to rely on a Wi-Fi network for device connection, if they’re even able to find one, network performance can decrease when more devices connect to the network. In contrast, cellular networks like Verizon’s allow for the connection of thousands of devices per square mile.

Along with fast speeds, cellular-enabled, construction-ready mobile devices also feature rugged designs to withstand the hard knocks of the jobsite day in and day out.

     “Connected laptops are a great tool for today’s construction workforce,” says Michael Souder, Solution Manager at Dell Technologies. “You’re getting all the benefits of staying connected on a secure connection, where and when you need to, and you’re not relying on finding public Wi-Fi. You can stay right there on the job site and get it done so you can stay productive. That’s the key.”

Benefits of connected laptops

     Here are four benefits connected laptops offer that help improve productivity and profitability:

  1. Connectivity. Construction happens in some of the most far-flung places in the world, making it difficult to connect to vital internet-reliant workflow systems. 4G|5G offers greater mobility and more seamless connectivity by offering a licensed spectrum — eliminating the need to search for a network. By contrast, Wi-Fi uses an unlicensed spectrum that is free for anyone but has lower transmit power.    

  2. Mobility. Mobility isn’t just about where you can connect, but also the ease of the connection. Connected laptops offer a single piece of hardware that requires no additional mobile hotspot, router or phone. What’s more, 5G offers greater mobility and more seamless connectivity while eliminating the need to search for a network or rely on hot spots. Using your mobile hotspot will also use your smartphone battery faster.

  3. Security. Cyber attackers target the trillion-dollar construction industry because it’s known as a laggard in cybersecurity. Connected laptops and tablets leverage the built-in security of 5G/4G. This provides enhanced privacy protection features and uses robust security algorithms and traffic encryption along with protection based on signaling and interfaces. The SIM authentication process used in cellular service also tightly couples with a global identity management infrastructure and uses well-proven algorithms to authenticate the device. With Wi-Fi, the infrastructure can be compromised in several ways, such as weak encryption, access point misconfigurations or shared passwords. 5G cellular networks build upon 4G LTE security by encrypting customers by identifying information when their laptop connects to the 5G network.

  4. Ultra-portability. Connected laptops and tablets come in a variety of sizes and configurations to fit the needs of many team members, and the best are designed to withstand demanding jobsite situations. The long battery life of these devices ensures workers can get the job done throughout the day. With improved data capacity, low latency and high speeds, 5G makes cloud-based apps smoother and supports new generations of business applications based on computer vision, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

Ultimately, with reliable, secure connectivity throughout the jobsite, construction firms deploying connected laptops and tablets can:  

  • More seamlessly upload changes to project plans or punch lists. 
  • Virtually share real-time insights with stakeholders.
  • Securely contact suppliers to place orders, obtain updates and track delivery.
  • Use 5G high bandwidth to access CAD programs, design plans and cloud-based systems.
  • Use near real-time insights to proactively address issues rather than reacting based on lagging indicators.

*5G module is optional and must be selected at purchase. 4G backwards compatible. Actual speeds will vary depending on the carrier network, users, location and other factors.  Subject to service provider’s subscription and coverage area. Additional charges will apply. Contact service provider for details.

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