March 1, 2005
UDA Business Certification was officially completed today for tablet PCs, allowing ConstructionOffice users to better take advantage of the new mobile technology. Construction firms can now use ConstructionOffice software to manage their jobs on site, updating estimates, schedules, checklists, and more.
New ConstructionOffice software offers full functionality on any tablet PC with Microsoft Office 2003, including Hewlett Packard, Gateway, NEC, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Compaq. QuickBooks is also compatible with the new devices, allowing users to export information from ConstructionOffice to QuickBooks using their tablet PC.
"As the devices become more affordable and more rugged, tablet PCs will be a staple technology for the construction industry," said Daniel Hayden, director of product development for UDA Technologies. "Tablet PCs with wireless internet access offer unmatched flexibility and control for project management. Soon, users will be able to order supplies, update schedules on the web, and communicate with subs and customers, all from the truck or job site.
Testing and certification was managed by the UDA Quality Assurance Group, a team of engineers and testers responsible for maintaining software standards at UDA Technologies. As a Microsoft Partner, software created by UDA Technologies must uphold standards of reliability, business integrity, and value for small businesses.
Tablet PC mobile technology is ideal for industries like construction, where portability and ruggedness is key. Compared to laptops and PDAs, tablet PCs are available in robust versions that can be dropped or splashed. The tablet-style allows users to hold the device like a pad of paper and input information with a pen-like stylus.
A tablet PC is lighter weight than a laptop and offers a screen at least 8 times larger than a PDA. Many contractors and architects find tablet PCs feel more natural to use than a laptop, and the convenience of walking around the site and entering information makes tablets much more practical. If a keyboard is needed, most tablet PCs include keyboards or keyboard attachments that convert the tablet PC to a laptop-style computer.
McGraw Hill Construction recently surveyed architecture, engineering, and construction firms using tablet PCs about ease of use and adaptability for the industry. "Once we got used to not having a keyboard, we really preferred working that way. It's like a pad of paper. It feels good," noted Henry King of Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill, an architectural firm headquartered in New York, N.Y. Review the full McGraw Hill studyon tablet PCs.
When contractors incorporate tablet PCs into their project management workflow, many find that it's easier to organize and keep track of information. Sketches, notes, and drawings can now be entered directly into the tablet PC, and thus files can be saved and stored on hard drives instead of a file cabinet. Customers can also "sign" a ConstructionOffice contract or change order using the tablet PC stylus, so contractors can get signatures immediately and always have access to official documents.
UDA Technologies is currently developing additional technology for ConstructionOffice designed specifically to enhance tablet PC and mobile use. New Visual Studio .NET controls from Microsoft will allow users to apply the stylus more efficiently to input information and manipulate data in ConstructionOffice.
With all the advantages of on-the-job mobile technology, tablet PCs are here to stay. Prices have dropped steadily since tablet PCs first became popular in 2002, and tablet PC prices currently range from $700-$2500. Tablet PCs are available online from most major computer retailers and at local office technology stores.
For more information about ConstructionOffice, visit www.udatechnologies.com or call 1.800.700.8321. Free trials of Construction Office are available online.