Authored by Larry Dore, CEO and Co-Founder of RHUB Communications
Employers and employees in the construction and contracting industry have acutely felt the tremendous disruption to their industries that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought. Lingering concerns about safety and long-lasting social distancing policies promise to leave a lasting mark on these companies. As many employers determine how to move forward under what is being deemed as the ‘new normal’, technological solutions can help overcome some of the most challenging aspects of resuming and maintaining operations.
The greatest challenge lies in addressing how to bring workers back to job sites in a way that minimizes health risks, but also ensures operations are maintained at a level that allows the company to meet their target deadlines. Contactless and remote solutions provide great promise in the construction industry as they provide a way to still be effective and reliable while preventing unnecessary physical contact.
Contactless technologies have the unique capacity to help field agents – even those who are not fully trained yet and those who are not familiar with the details of a particular project – dive in and move forward with projects. They can use the platform to connect with tech experts in the home office to clarify any questions that may arise while working. And while it may be tempting to think that the same functionality can be achieved through email or a standard video call, contactless technology offers so much more.
In addition to functionality that supports HD-quality video calls, they feature a unique drawing tool that works directly on the live video feed to make clear notes or identify precise areas of concern. Taken together, these features empower staff to work closely together without physical proximity, but still in a way that ensures problems are identified and resolved quickly. Workers get correct answers immediately rather than waiting for an email response or addressing uncertainty that may arise from a standard video feed. This uncertainty grows when projects become more complex.
For example, contactless technologies can clarify any questions that arise while on the job site in real time, ensuring that there are no costly delays or miscommunications. During the construction of any type of building or structure, questions often arise about laying down pipes and wiring since it often requires high accuracy. When questions like this arise, the field workers can show his supervisor a live video stream of the area in question and then use a digital drawing tool on the actual video to circle or point to the exact connectors, wires, beams, or circuit box levers, etc. needing to be addressed so they together can accurately install, repair or build in the correct area without a lot of verbal confusion or guesswork.
With virtual, contactless solutions like these, clarity of the specifications can be realized immediately, ensuring the job is done right the first time. Moreover, with field deployment, these solutions can even work if your team has to do installations deep down in a manhole or in an outlying area that doesn’t have an Internet connection.
Field workers and contractors can now even use Wi-Fi helmet cameras allowing them to showcase footage of the repair, build or maintenance site hands-free. The contractor simply mounts the camera on their work helmet to show their supervisor or any other worker, footage of the targeted area, and as they talk through the build, the contractor can work real-time with both of his hands as he receives instructions. This drives a tremendous amount of productivity.
Of course, the convenience of contactless technologies like these can help maintain social distancing in the workplace while working on jobs of all sizes in both the commercial and resident construction sector.
The potential uses of these types of technologies in construction and building maintenance are incredibly widespread as well. Contactless technology can assist with intricate repairs across all types of systems, including electrical, HVAC, and anything else with parts, wiring, and small or large manufacturing components. These platforms ensure that clear communication is achieved in a remote manner, which contributes to completing jobs successfully and quickly while also ensuring worker safety. The level of detail in contactless communication can reduce the time needed to make repairs or address maintenance issues from hours to minutes.
However, before jumping in and implementing any new communication platform, companies should proceed cautiously given security concerns – which became paramount during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies made quick changes to enable a remote workforce, but unfortunately this led to many hacks and data breaches. Without proper security protocols in place, there is always the danger that a video meeting could be hacked, which can lead to a devastating data breach for contractors and construction companies working on highly sensitive projects.
While the promise of contactless solutions is great, it’s still vital to ensure that these platforms are deployed in a secure environment. Companies should be take precautions to ensure they are only working with trusted and reputable industry experts that can identify potential security concerns and ensure they are addressed fully. This is the best way to protect your company from a costly and reputation-damaging data breach.
Shifting to new working environments will be a challenge for construction companies and contractors operating everywhere. Companies can put themselves in a better position to ‘weather the storm’ by identifying tools and resources that can be implemented in a way that promotes remote working and social distancing policies.
Contactless solutions will likely play a big role in the transformation of these industries. They can be highly effective at both ensuring work still gets done on pace with project timelines and that it gets done with expert oversight and the guidance necessary to meet high-quality standards. Now is the time to prepare for the future and begin to explore ways that contactless solutions can address the unique needs of your company in its new working environment.
Larry Dorie, CEO and Co-Founder of RHUB Communications, creators of one of the most secure on-premise web conferencing and remote support tools for enterprise organizations.