Using durable devices to help construct the Canadian economy

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Construction and heavy industry workers are adding sophisticated technology to their toolbelts.


These workers need powerful mobile devices to access and share huge streams of data, says Erich Schmidt, manager of public affairs and innovation for the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA).


Mr. Schmidt says his members also need phones and tablets with reliability, range and various application capabilities.


“In the conventional sense, contractors are making sure all the different stakeholders and the sub-trades were in alignment,” Mr. Schmidt says. “As our industry becomes increasingly modernized, it’s critical that connectivity follows.”


The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the use of digital technology in the field as more work went remote.


“In the Canadian construction market, the pandemic has forced our industry to adapt and innovate far faster than ever before,” Mr. Schmidt says. “Instead of having the general contractor at the site all the time, assessing the conditions and interacting with the workers — to limit the number of persons on site — they’re sharing information [digitally] more than they ever did.”



There’s also an increasing use of building information modelling (BIM), Mr. Schmidt says.  “Our members need to be able to access and send and interact with large amounts of data on a regular basis.”


When it comes to a renovation or rebuilding of existing structures, mobile technology allows the on-site worker to communicate the difference between what they’re seeing and what’s recorded in the original drawings.


“Someone with specific information in a sub-trade can access the model and help minimize conflicts in the design,” Mr. Schmidt says.



How the right device can help

Samsung has developed a line of devices that are both rugged and provide the technological capabilities required for construction and heavy industry work.


“Just as we built our rugged devices for strength and durability, we also looked to embed features within them that would allow frontline teams to maximize their use, so the individual worker can ideally carry around a single device that meets more than just their need for connectivity and communication,” says Paul Edwards, vice-president and general manager of Enterprise Mobility for Samsung Canada.



For example, construction projects require workers to reference blueprints and design files as they build their structures. Mr. Edwards says the Galaxy Tab Active3 and Galaxy Tab Active Pro tablets come with the S Pen, a digital stylus that allows construction workers and engineers to markup blueprints while in the field and immediately share updated files with others on the team.


And, he says because the S Pen is also IP68-certified[1] for water and dust resistance, “it can be used in the pouring rain or next to a machine churning out particulate.”


Mr. Edwards says the Samsung Galaxy rugged lineup, which also includes the Galaxy XCover Pro smartphone, is built to military specifications[2],[3] and can withstands drops[4] and shocks as well as extreme temperatures, low pressure and high-altitude. They are also resistant to dust, water and can even be submerged up to 1.5 metres for up to 30 minutes1.


Construction workers are coming to the job site wearing their protective gear, Mr. Edwards says, adding that the Samsung rugged devices have screens with “enhanced touch sensitivity[5], which allows for interactions even with gloves on.”


Smartphone range is also crucial for industries like construction. “Further afield adds a level of complexity to how data is shared,” says Mr. Schmidt of the OGCA. “Often we see construction only in the context of the city but it can get complicated when dealing with an area that doesn’t have that connectivity.”


Mr. Edwards says the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active3 keeps workers connected with Bluetooth, NFC (Near Field Communication) Capabilities, Wi-Fi 6[6] and dual-antenna support.


“There is also an LTE model available, so teams can stay connected when Wi-Fi is out of range.”


Workers can also stay connected longer with long-lasting batteries that can last for up to 14 hours[7] on a single charge. To help stay in touch around the job site, construction workers can also launch Microsoft Teams Walkie Talkie with a single button press on the Galaxy XCover Pro smartphone.


Increased real-time communication, from job site to contractor to designer and owner, has proven a money and time saver for the contracting industry, Mr. Schmidt says.


“It reduces time and coordination. It improves estimates. There’s another level of connectivity with the owner,” he says, adding that the new collaboration models for contracting creates efficiency in scheduling and minimizing change orders.


Rugged mobile technology is quickly becoming a toolset construction workers can’t work without.



[1] IP68 rating means that the device is protected against harmful ingress of dust and static fresh water at up to 1.5 m for up to 30 minutes, under certain defined test conditions. According to accredited test results, individual results may vary. Note: IP68 rating does not mean that the device is waterproof.
[2] This device passed military specification (MIL-STD-810H – Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests is a United States Military Standard) testing against 23 specific environmental conditions, including transit drop, temperature, dust, shock/vibration, and low pressure/high altitude. Real world usage varies from the specific environmental conditions used in MIL-STD-810H testing. Samsung does not guarantee device performance in all extreme conditions. Please see the inbox Quick Sales Guide.
[3] This device passed military specification (MIL-STD-810G) testing against a subset of 21 specific environmental conditions, including temperature, dust, shock/vibration, and low pressure/high altitude. Real world usage varies from the specific environmental conditions used in MIL-STD-810G testing. Samsung does not guarantee device performance in all extreme conditions.
[4] Galaxy Tab Active3 anti-shock drop resistance up to 1.2m device only and up to 1.5m with in-box cover. Drop test results are based on internal Samsung laboratory tests.
[5] Touch sensitivity may vary depending on glove material.
[6] Faster than previous Wi-Fi protocols. Wi-Fi 6 support may not be available depending on the country or region you live in. Wi-Fi connection required.
[7] Based on average battery life under typical usage conditions. Average expected performance based on typical use. Actual battery life depends on factors such as network, features selected, frequency of calls and voice, data and other application usage patterns. Results may vary.

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