You may remember a wonderfully quirky TV series hosted by James Burke titled Connections that presented the tenuous relationships between obscure starting points and a series of off-the-wall events leading to a startling conclusion. These episodes were most often tongue-in-cheek great fun with more than enough spice to make you look forward to the next, so its demise leads me to wish that Burke would resurface to chronicle the emergence of connectivity in the construction world.
But if you can’t wait for Burke to turn his attention to the subject, you need not despair because out there on the launching pad is Grading & Excavation Contractor’s June Technology issue, whose “Onsite Data Devices” article will show you where connectivity was, is, and is going, and how such curious tools as cell phones, laptops, and iPads are changing the way we do business on the job site.
I, who have fallen prey to more off-the-wall electronic gadgets in my lifetime than most nations on the planet, was a card-carrying cynic when it came to the introduction of the iPad into the dirt-and-crunch world of the job site. But after a rather impressive demonstration of its capabilities in showing real-time changes to a site plan, even as a dozer blade turned “will-be” to “is-now,” I was forced to upgrade my resistance to one of mere skepticism, based on concern for its puniness. “What happens when you drop it or it gets run over by a skid-steer?” I asked my tutor.
“Well, you buy an new one,” he said without flinching…”Or two or three. They’re cheap.”
Well, I’m still not convinced, believing there to be other options worthy of consideration, but then I’ve had the benefit of reading all the articles in our Technology issue, which will mail next month. Maybe this will be enough to entice Burke to resurrect his TV series for our delight.