One high-tech tool practically every lead carpenter, salesperson, and project manager is an expert at using is a cell phone. The following productivity software and hardware will put any modern Smartphone to better use as a true project management tool:
- CradlePoint,www.cradlepoint.com. If you have a high-speed Internet access plan on your Smartphone, the CTR-50 “Cellular Travel Router” turns it into a WiFi access point so everyone on your jobsite can get online with their laptops.
- SoonR,www.soonr.com. Why buy a laptop for everyone when this clever remote-access application allows mobile workers to access and search their office computer's desk-top files, folders, and Outlook e-mail from their Smartphone?
- GotVoice,www.gotvoice.com. This application converts your voice mail to text and sends it to your phone as a short message service (SMS) or e-mail that can be read on screen.
- GrandCentral,www.grandcentral.com. Salespeople and project managers can use GrandCentral to consolidate voice mail (office, mobile, personal) to one location, and manage incoming calls.
- QiPit (Keep It) and ScanR,www.qipit.com;www.scanr.com. Using your phone's camera, these two applications let you copy documents, whiteboards, and handwritten notes and convert them to files that can be published online to a collaboration site or blog. Imagine turning that sketch on a 2x4 into an actual drawing that can be used by an installer or subcontractor.
Can't figure out which Smartphone to buy? Visit www.tryphone.com, an online simulator that lets you try more than a dozen Smartphones before you buy. Or, go to www.phonescoop.com for the latest news about mobile phones, Smartphones, and other handheld devices.
—Joe Stoddard is an industry consultant and the director of builder operations for Dynami Solutions; www.joestoddard.com.