Skanska Tekra , the Finnish subsidiary of one of the largest construction companies in the world, based in Sweden , has been using camera phones for about six months for text messaging and photo applications, according to an article in PhysOrg.com as well as a good overview I found on the Skanska Web site .
Skanska has been testing Nokia camera phones in conjunction with software from Espoo, Finland-based BookIT. BookIT software is designed to faciliate sending information about work assignments, using its DDM (Dynamic Dialog Matrix) technology.
The application, called the Mobile Activity Tracker, was developed in conjunction with Skanska, and is designed to improve business efficiency and improve occupational safety.
"BookIT's application is based on the one-key principle: Using his/her mobile phone, the worker can easily confirm receipt of the assignment as soon as it has been sent and then, after completing the task, confirm the completion by pressing one key again," the software company says.
"If confirmations are not sent within a certain time, the application sends bidirectional text message reminders."
BookIT says, "On construction sites, BookIT's application is used with camera phones for confirming regular assignments, but the application also enhances occupational safety.
"Observations and notifications, as well as confirmations of completed repair measures, can easily and quickly be sent to the relevant person with a camera phone."
In the article on Skanska's Web site, Ville Saksi, regional director of Skanska Tekra, says "The application saves our time, as a visit to the site can be replaced by a picture message.
"Consequently, this improves our cost-efficiency and enhances the fluency of work.
"Furthermore, the mobile phone is an ideal terminal for the construction industry, as all employees and subcontractors already have one."
The phones are being used by 20 construction workers, out of a total force of 200, at a seven-mile long construction site in Lohja, west of Helsinki, according to the article in PhysOrg.com. Skanska is still testing the application but the results are promising.
Miikka Voipio, a project engineer at Skanska, says he'd be surprised if the tests didn't translate into a commercial rollout. "So far, we’ve had nothing but positive experiences," he says.
"For me, the camera phone has cut down on how much I have to travel, since I can check on the situation at a site without having to actually go there."
The article notes that the most common application is sending photos between handsets, although photos also can be transmitted as e-mail attachments.
Voipio says the photos are typically "general pictures" because the resolution isn't good enough for detailed images.
Using camera phone for construction applications is a prime example of the value of wireless imaging in business situations. I've read very few articles about camera phones for business and I'm glad to find these details.
As an "information treat" for you (if you really care about cellular phones in the construction business, I found a detailed case study of Skanska Tekra's use of BookIT using WAP with older Nokia phones -- without cameras -- on a Nokia Web site . The document is a year old and the photos included in it show the camera-less Nokia phone. ( see below ).