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JotForm Tables: A New Collaboration Tool to Challenge Airtable and Google Tables – ReadWrite

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JotForm Tables


A decade ago, if you wanted to build a complex spreadsheet or a full-fledged database, you had to know how to code. Fast forward to 2020. There has been an explosion in no-code/low-code software. Now, you can build a powerful database — often in a matter of a few minutes and without writing a single line of code. Here is all about JotForm Tables. JotForm is a new collaboration tool to challenge Airtable and Google tables.

Three of the biggest heavy-hitters in the space are Airtable, Google Tables, and the newest addition, JotForm Tables, which was launched in October 2020.

Finding the Best Solution for your Business.

We’re comparing all three solutions to help you decide. We’ll cover all of the following in detail:

  • Overview
  • Product features
  • Specific use cases and applications
  • Pricing
  • Limitations
  • Conclusion

Overview

Here’s a brief overview of the basics of JotForm Tables, Google Tables, and Airtable. Though the tools are considered direct competitors and target similar end-users, each has a unique set of features.

JotForm Tables

JotForm Tables Sales CRM Template

JotForm is known for its suite of productivity tools, including a Form Builder, a PDF Editor, and Mobile Forms. Now, JotForm Tables is part of that suite of services.

JotForm Tables has all of the flexibility and customization options of a full-fledged database with the ease of using a spreadsheet.

. You can easily manage all of your data and sync form submissions in one workspace.

In addition to all of the now-standard spreadsheet functions, such as organizing, categorizing, editing, searching, filtering, collaborating, and exporting, you can also use JotForm Tables to track the progress of projects by adding a checklist indicator, a function calculator, a data counter, and a rating scale.

You can also generate tables, calendars, reports, uploads, and card views. However, the real power of JotForm Tables lies in how you can link forms and tables and how they work together seamlessly.

Let’s say you’re organizing a virtual conference. If you use JotForm Tables, all of the registrations from your virtual event registration form automatically populate your JotForm Tables workspace. You can even create new columns in your table that mirrors the functionality of your form and filter any specific form entries, such as email addresses, names, or phone numbers.

Plus, you can turn the data in your workspace into a professional PDF using JotForm PDF Editor, create a polished report on event registrations for your chief marketing officer using JotForm Report Builder, and even respond to event support questions through JotForm Inbox.

You can also sync your JotForm account with many of the other software and apps that your company uses, such as Dropbox, Square, ActiveCampaign, Slack, Zapier, and Zendesk.

With the addition of JotForm Tables, JotForm is now a comprehensive workflow automation solution that enables your team to get work done quickly and efficiently without relying on manual data entry or other software tools.

Pro tip: Want to see a demo of JotForm Tables in action? Check out all of the functionality for yourself in this free webinar recording.

Google Tables

Google Tables
Google Tables Simple Task Tracker Template

Google recently rolled out Google Tables, a new workflow tool that’s part of Area120, Google’s in-house incubator. Essentially, it’s home to experiments and passion projects from the Google staff.

Think of Tables as a lightweight spreadsheet-database tool similar to Airtable or Microsoft Access. The Kanban board layout resembles Trello’s project management software.

Google Tables combines the power of a database tool with the flexibility of a spreadsheet. It gives teams and businesses a more visual way to display information than Google’s original spreadsheet software, Google Sheets. Those already using Google Sheets can import their data directly into Google Tables.

The features included with Google Tables make it ideal for lightweight data like form responses. With Google Tables, you can track tasks, customize views, and collaborate with a single tool. The software lets users trigger emails, send weekly reports, and update statuses with automated actions or bots. One of the most helpful features of Google Tables is seamlessly integrating with other Google products like Drive and Sheets.

Airtable

Airtable
Airtable Simple Applicant Tracker Template

Airtable’s collaboration software is part powerful database and part familiar spreadsheet. It’s designed to let users create a database (or base, as it’s known in the platform) that fits their workflow with automation that works for them.

The software helps a variety of industries and roles, from marketing and nonprofits to freelancers and event planners. The company has been around since 2013 and has worked hard over the years to provide a product with robust features and flexibility for its users.

Airtable has a variety of features on both paid and free plans. Users can create customized bases where they can add fields for attachments, long text notes, links, checkboxes, barcodes, and more.

The software gives teams the flexibility to view their data in Kanban view, gallery view, grid view, or calendar view. The collaboration software includes a vast catalog of templates to help teams build their bases. Of course, users can always create their workflows from scratch.

The marketplace lets users choose from more than 50 prebuilt, click-to-add apps to bring their data to life. Much like users can create their own bases, they can also create their own apps with JavaScript and React. The software integrates with popular apps like Google products, email, Asana, GitHub, Instagram, Facebook, Mailchimp, and much more.

Automation features include creating custom notifications, coordinating work via integrations, and automating redundant tasks. An additional new feature, Airtable Sync, lets users sync records from a source base to a destination base.

Use Cases

To decide which software option fits your individual or business needs, you first need to know what industries and customers the tool is geared toward. Here’s the intended audience for each one.

JotForm Tables

Out of all three software options, JotForm Tables has the most diverse use cases. It’s ideal for most businesses, schools, universities, and nonprofits.

In addition, since the JotForm Form Builder is fully HIPAA compliant (as long as users have a Silver or Gold plan and opt for HIPAA compliance), this also makes it a solid option for doctors’ offices, hospitals, and wellness clinics.

JotForm Tables is best suited for collecting, curating, managing, and acting on data. Generally, it’s a good, all-around solution when it comes to project planning for most industries.

Here are some popular use cases, including but not limited to

  • Project management
  • SOP checklists
  • Inventory management
  • Expense tracking
  • New employee onboarding
  • Payroll tracking and management
  • Customer registration
  • Virtual (and in-person) attendee registration
  • Content/editorial calendars
  • Web design asset management
  • Custom personal CRM
  • Medical logs
  • Student attendance sheets

With more than 250 ready-made templates available, there’s a great chance that you’ll be able to find a template you can use as-is or as a building block.

For example, a doctor’s office might want to use the JotForm Tables patient sign-in sheet template to create an efficient patient sign-in sheet, which would allow you to keep track of all of the patients you saw in a given day, along with the patient’s name, email address, appointment time, the purpose of the visit, and the specific doctor they saw.

Google Tables

Google Tables was made for teams from a variety of industries. If you’re already a G Suite power user, you may find Google Tables to be a suitable and convenient option for managing projects and tasks with your team. Google Tables can be handy if you work in IT operations, recruiting, product launches, and software development, which are just a few of the teams that can benefit from using Google Tables.

Unlike JotForm Tables and Airtable, Google Tables doesn’t provide ready-made templates. While you can find some user-generated ones, they leave it up to you to decide how to best set everything up. It is a truly blank canvas.

Airtable

Airtable was also designed for a variety of different users. For instance, the provided templates range from product launches to bug trackers. However, while Airtable is designed to be fully customized, its customers heavily skew toward tech-savvy entrepreneurs, freelancers, and creatives.

If you look through Airtable Universe, which houses hundreds of templates, you’ll see that it’s full of DIY templates catering to writers, filmmakers, content creators, and freelancers.

For example, if you’re an author, you can use this Book Promotion for Authors template to keep track of all of the free and paid sites where you’re promoting your new book.

Pricing

All three software options have free tiers. Here’s the pricing information for each.

JotForm Tables

JotForm’s free Starter plan includes access to all JotForm Tables features, which means that JotForm Tables is completely free to use. It only takes a few seconds to get started.

JotForm also has several paid plans, which range from $24 per month to $83 per month if you pay annually.

The paid versions of JotForm come with additional form submissions and storage, among many other things, such as

  • Unlimited form views
  • Unlimited reports and fields
  • Custom branding
  • HIPAA compliance

Google Tables

The free Google Tables plan can be a viable option for small teams or individuals. It’s worth springing for the paid version of the software for those that need additional functionality and features.

The free version of Google Tables includes the following features:

  • Unlimited collaborators
  • Unlimited workspaces
  • 100 tables
  • 1,000 rows per table
  • 1 GB attachments per table
  • 50 actions per table each month
  • One week of change history

The paid version is designed for teams and businesses in need of a holistic collaboration and productivity solution.

Pricing is set on a per-user basis. This means you only pay for team members who need more capacity to build or modify tables and workspaces. The pricing structure is simple, at $10 per user, per month for the paid plan.

A free three-month trial is available so that users can test the software before purchasing.

The paid version also allows for unlimited collaborators and workspaces but comes with more features, such as

  • 1,000 tables
  • 10,000 rows per table
  • 10 GB attachments per table
  • 500 actions per table each month
  • 12 weeks of change history
  • 20 forms per table
  • 20 bots per table
  • 20 views per table

The primary difference between the paid and free versions is the additional capacity.

Airtable

Pricing for Airtable is slightly more complex than Google Tables. The essential features are all included in the free plan, but more functionality comes with the Plus, Pro, and Enterprise plans.

Features available with the free version of Airtable include

  • Unlimited bases
  • 1,200 records per base
  • 2 GB attachment space per base
  • Two weeks of revision and snapshot history
  • Rich field types like file attachments
  • Grid, calendar, form, kanban, and gallery views
  • Web, iOS, Android, and desktop apps
  • Real-time collaboration and commenting
  • 100 automation runs per month
  • Two weeks of run history
  • One synced table per base
  • Manual synced tables update method

There are three paid tiers for Airtable that each come with an upgrade in features, specifically additional record and attachment space. Additional advanced features include

  • Apps
  • Additional color and styling options
  • Advanced calendar features
  • Custom branded forms
  • Personal and locked views
  • Password and domain restricted shares
  • Field and table editing permissions
  • Early access to new features
  • Email support

Airtable describes the Plus plan as giving teams room to grow at $10 per user, per month. The Pro plan offers a more comprehensive collaboration experience at $20 per user per month. The Enterprise plan is designed for maximum business value. To get pricing for the Enterprise plan, contact the Airtable sales team for a quote.

Users can test both the Plus and Pro plans with a free trial.

Limitations

Before you move forward, it’s important to know the limitations of each tool. Here are some considerations.

JotForm Tables

While JotForm Tables is the most flexible tool and easiest to use, it is also the newest option. It was launched in October 2020. For most early adopters, this is a selling point. You get to be one of the first users and can experiment with it all you want. However, if you tend to be a late adopter and like to wait until all of the bugs are resolved and the solution is mature, this could be a drawback for a solution like JotForm Tables.

Google Tables

The most important drawback to Google Tables is that it isn’t a full-fledged Google product like Sheets or Docs, yet. As part of Area120, Google Tables is still in its beta or experimental stage. This doesn’t mean that Google won’t give it a more official rollout or adopt it into its G Suite offering. It’s just not there at this point.

In addition, unlike JotForm Tables and Airtable, which both provide hundreds of templates, Google Tables doesn’t provide any official templates. When you try out Google Tables, it’s a blank canvas. Some people will love this because it allows them to be as creative as possible when building their workspace. However, others might freeze because there are so many options to choose from, and they aren’t sure which one will be best for their specific use case.

Finally, there is a chance that Google will drop or discontinue the product. As a less mature product than other Google tools, the software also isn’t quite as robust. Additional features aren’t out of the question; it’s just a waiting game. If you prefer the stability of an already established platform, then you might want to hold off on Google Tables until it officially joins the Google family of products.

Airtable

Though Airtable has been around longer than Google Tables, the software isn’t without limitations. If you’re using the free version of the platform, it’s easy to go over the record limit. The free tier is restricted in terms of features, and upgrading to the Premium version can add up quickly for teams with multiple members.

Aside from limitations with the free version, Airtable also comes with the steepest learning curve. If you aren’t tech-savvy, you may struggle with using Airtable or be unable to use it to its full potential. While Airtable does offer templates, how-to articles, and videos to help beginners, some users may still find the software to be overwhelming and complex. Luckily, there are many Airtable alternatives available for you to find the best fit.

Conclusion

All three of these software options are built to suit a variety of industries and functions.

Lightweight Google Tables has the advantage of being part of Google’s impressive product family, but it’s still in the beta phase. Airtable, on the other hand, has had years to hone its feature offerings. However, it’s best suited for tech-savvy creators.

JotForm Tables is a great option for businesses, medical practices, nonprofits, and many more industries and organizations.

Each tool has its benefits, so it’s important to make a list of your essential features and nice-to-haves to see which one feels more intuitive for you.

Chad Reid

Chad is the VP of Marketing and Communications at JotForm, a software used to create and publish online forms. He’s a wizard with a Vitamix and likes all cat pictures he sees on Instagram.

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Application Dependencies: Are They Holding Back Software Innovation?

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Application Dependencies


In software development, a dependency is a piece of software that another piece of software relies on in order to function. An application’s dependencies are the external components that the application needs in order to work. These can include libraries, frameworks, and other software packages that the application uses.

For example, if an application is written in Python and uses the Django web framework, then Django would be a dependency of the application. In order to run the application, the Django library would need to be installed on the system.

Managing Dependencies in Software Development

Managing dependencies is an important part of software development, as it helps to ensure that an application has all the necessary components it needs to run correctly. This can be especially important when deploying an application to a new environment, as all of the dependencies will need to be installed and configured correctly in order for the application to work.

While dependencies make it possible to develop applications faster and add advanced functionality quickly without having to build them from scratch, they also introduce serious risks that can bring software development projects to a halt. I’ll describe what types of dependencies commonly exist in software projects and how they impact software innovation.

Application Dependencies — Are they holding up software innovation? Image Credit: Vecteezy; Thank you!

Types of Software Dependencies

Functional

Functional dependencies are components or resources that are necessary for an application to function. They result from the tasks that enable businesses to achieve their desired outcomes. It is important to identify and map these dependencies to detect and address issues, removing redundant dependencies.

Sometimes, you might need an unavailable dependency, such as one still in development. Mocking is a technique used in software development to create simulated versions of components or dependencies for testing purposes. Mocking allows developers to test the behavior of a piece of code in isolation by replacing its dependencies with mock objects that mimic the behavior of the real dependencies.

Developmental

Developmental dependencies, on the other hand, are dependencies that are only needed during the development and testing phase of a software application. These dependencies might include tools for testing, debugging, or building the application and are not necessary for the application to run in production.

For example, an application may depend on a testing framework such as JUnit or PyTest during development in order to run automated tests. Still, the testing framework would not be required when the application is deployed.

Similarly, an application may depend on a build tool such as Gradle or Maven during development in order to compile and package the code, but the build tool would not be needed when the application is running.

Non-Functional and Operational

Non-functional dependencies are dependencies that relate to the overall behavior and performance of a software application rather than its specific functionalities. Examples of non-functional dependencies might include dependencies on particular hardware or software configurations or dependencies on system-level services such as networking or security.

Operational requirements can be hidden in functional requirements, so they only become apparent later in the project. To resolve an issue with such dependencies, it is important to establish policies, identify the root cause of the issue, and determine the appropriate resolution.

Dangers and Risks of Application Dependencies

There are several risks associated with application dependencies, and the danger increases with greater reliance on external software components:

  • Security vulnerabilities: Dependencies can contain bugs or flaws that can be exploited by attackers. It is important to keep dependencies up-to-date and to regularly check for and install any available security patches.
  • Compatibility issues: Dependencies are not always compatible with the version of the software they are being used with, or they might rely on other dependencies that are not present.
  • License issues: Dependencies may be subject to different licenses, and using them in an application may create legal issues if the terms of the license are not followed. It is important to carefully review the licenses of any dependencies before using them in an application.
  • Maintenance and updates: These are essential in order to stay current and secure. If a dependency is no longer maintained or supported, it can become a liability for the application that relies on it.
  • Complexity: An application with a large number of dependencies can be more complex to maintain and deploy, as all of the dependencies will need to be managed and kept up-to-date. This can result in something called dependency hell.

How Application Dependencies Impact Software Projects

Application dependencies are an important aspect of software development that can significantly impact the success of a software project. Understanding and managing these dependencies is crucial for building and maintaining high-quality software systems that are resilient, scalable, and easy to maintain:

Application dependencies can make the software more complex to build and maintain.

For example, if a software system has many dependencies on external libraries or frameworks, it may require more coordination between different teams and systems to ensure that these dependencies are properly managed. This can increase the time and effort required to deliver the project, and it can make it more difficult to make changes to the system in the future.

Application dependencies can affect software stability and reliability

If a change is made to a dependent component of the system, it can have unintended consequences on other parts of the system that rely on that component. This can make it more difficult to ensure that new features or changes are safe and reliable, and it can increase the risk of regressions or other issues.

Application dependencies can impact the scalability and performance of a software system

If dependencies are not properly managed or optimized, they can become bottlenecks or points of failure that limit the ability of the system to handle high levels of traffic or workload. This can impact the usability and reliability of the system, and it can reduce the value that it delivers to stakeholders.

Therefore, it is important for software teams to carefully understand and manage application dependencies in order to ensure that their projects are successful. This may require using tools and practices such as dependency mapping, automated testing, and continuous monitoring to track and manage dependencies effectively.

Conclusion

In conclusion, application dependencies can have a significant impact on software development projects. While dependencies can provide valuable functionality and save developers time and effort, they can also increase the complexity of a project, introduce security vulnerabilities, impact performance, and cause conflicts.

It’s important for developers to carefully consider the dependencies that their applications rely on and to try to minimize the number of dependencies as much as possible in order to keep the project simple and maintainable.

By keeping your project simple and maintainable — developers can help ensure that their applications are able to take advantage of the latest innovations and technologies and are able to adapt and evolve over time.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Mikhail Nilov; Pexels; Thank you!

Gilad Maayan

Technology writer

I’m a technology writer with 20 years of experience working with leading technology brands including SAP, Imperva, CheckPoint, and NetApp. I am a three-time winner of the International Technical Communication Award. Today I lead Agile SEO, the leading marketing and content agency in the technology industry.

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Leveraging Social Media To Grow Your Career In 2023

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ValueWalk


Employees are ready to change their jobs, with nearly half of American workers planning to look for a new job in the coming six months. According to a new Robert Half report, which surveyed 2,500 professionals, around 46% of them said they plan on making a career or job change in the first half of the year.

Job-hopping has become a workplace trend among young working professionals in the post-pandemic labor market. A recent Gallup study found that 60% of surveyed millennials – ages 27 to 40 years – are more likely to look for different opportunities this year. The percentage of non-millennials workers looking to switch jobs is roughly 15% lower.

A majority of Generation Z candidates have also claimed that they are likely to make a job change this year. In a 2022 Lever Great Resignation report, around 65% of Gen Z professionals said that they are likely to leave their job by the end of the year. Moreover, 13% of them are twice as likely to quit their jobs in the next month.

Job-hopping has become almost synonymous in the post-COVID workforce, and younger professionals are fueling this trend by leaving unfulfilling roles and moving on to greener pastures.

Yet, with so many professionals changing jobs, or looking to switch careers, even against the backdrop of a looming recession, many of them have geared themselves towards social media as a way to build a professional brand and market themselves to potential employers.

Using Social Media For Career Growth

Keeping your social media professional can be a hard ball to juggle. In a 2020 Harris Poll survey, around 70% of employers said that every company should screen candidates’ social media throughout the hiring process. Additionally, the majority of employers – 78% – believe that all their current employees should adhere to a work–appropriate social media profile.

Employees should care about what they share and post on social media. Although the debate over whether social media screening during the hiring process is ethical is still ongoing, candidates willing to leverage social media to develop or boost their careers will need to set up a social media strategy that can help them land the job they want.

Much of our digital identity is pinned to our social media accounts, and a lot of what we share, like and the people we interact with via these channels can speak a great deal of the types of person we are outside of the workplace.

Aside from employees using these platforms to grow their network, or search for possible job opportunities, employers and recruiters are using it to look for any possible red or green flags that you might bring to the workplace.

Social media has moved beyond its traditional form, and today it’s become a digital ecosystem that helps to connect like-minded professionals and their potential employers.

How To Use Social Media To Boost Career Opportunities

Searching for a job is more than browsing through recruitment websites and job listings on LinkedIn or Google. The internet, and social media is a vast place, with near-endless possibilities, and when it comes to growing your career through social media, you will need to know a few things first.

Have A Social Strategy

It might sound strange at first, but having a social media strategy will help you come in contact with the right people faster. Your social media strategy should include building an online identity that reflects your professional and personal side.

You can use different platforms for different connections or networks, it’s all about how you present yourself through your brand. Think of the type of content you share regularly, does it reflect who you are as a professional? How often do you post, or reply to comments and messages? Are there any areas where you can improve or update the information to help you grow your network of contacts?

Write some questions down to get you started, and start working on building an online identity that can get noticed by like-minded individuals in the same industry.

Network With Industry Professionals

Nowadays it’s easier than ever before to reach out to a company or recruiter through their social media, and the same goes for connecting with professionals working in the same industry.

Instead of using social media to only share insightful content, or engage with your friends, try to grow your professional network. On top of this, it’s important to engage with these people as well, even if it’s simply exchanging a few words now and again.

Be active in your mission to get to know the people that are out there, and spend a bit of time researching their profiles to better understand the type of skills and qualifications these people may have. Networking is one of the best possible ways to move around your industry without putting in much effort.

Grow Your Skills

Looking at other people’s social media profiles, whether it’s Twitter or Indeed.com, or even Instagram will give a better idea of the type of skills you might need to develop to help grow and make the next big career jump.

Often professionals will share their skills, and what they’re experts in at the top of their social media accounts, this way it is easier for recruiters to know who the person is, and for like-minded professionals to engage with them.

If you compare the skills of several professionals already working in the field you’re interested in, you will get a better idea of where you might need to upskill yourself by completing some courses or doing a bit of reading.

When we say advertise, we don’t necessarily mean flashy and colorful digital adverts that you’d hope will get the attention of your potential employer.

Instead try and convey your expertise through the type of content you can share such as blog posts, news articles, industry research, or even projects you’ve worked on. Additionally, you can also share your job title and relevant experience in the bio section of your profile.

The better you are at showing people your expertise in a professional, yet unpretentious way, the faster your feed will fill up with similar content and other experienced individuals.

Update Your Profiles

This is relevant to almost every social media profile you have, regardless of what you use it for. People often neglect social media platforms they don’t use anymore, and while it can be tedious to spend so much time updating photos or replying to messages, decide on a couple of platforms you’d like to use and stick to them.

Make sure that the platforms you end up using have a recent photo, and that all other relevant personal information has been updated such as your job title, industry experience, and your current city. You don’t need to do this every week, only when needed, or when you’ve changed jobs or moved.

The better you curate your social media, the easier it will be for employers and recruiters to notice you as you actively begin to network.

Final Words

Social media can be a professional tool, despite it receiving so much negative clout in recent years. Although it’s hard to determine whether possible employers or recruiters will screen your social media accounts before or during the hiring process, it’s best to always keep a well-groomed online identity – especially if you’re looking to make progress in your career.

Make well-informed decisions, and think about the type of content you’re sharing. Remember to engage with like-minded professionals, and have conversations online through the information you share with your followers.

The better you are at curating one or two social media platforms for career purposes, the quicker you’ll be able to expand your network, and grow your professional skills. Don’t think too much about it, try and have a balance as much as possible, as this will help you to enjoy your social media experience while maintaining a professional, yet fun digital identity.

Published First on ValueWalk. Read Here.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Fauxels; Pexels; Thank you!

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Have You Heard of These 6 Amazing Ways to Use AI in Construction?

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How Are Smart Thermostats Making Homes Greener? - ReadWrite


Artificial intelligence might have started as the fictional villain of sci-fi stories, but it’s quickly becoming indispensable in many industries. The construction industry is one among many beginning to adopt this new technology. How can companies and contractors start employing AI in construction? How could this industry 4.0 technology change the industry in the coming years?

1. Programming an Extra Set of Eyes

Drone cameras have already become invaluable for contractors, especially for site surveying and inspections. While they can help keep inspectors and workers safe, they still require a live person behind the camera and the controls. In the future, users could train AI to see, analyze and understand the images they’re observing, reducing or eliminating the need for a human operator or drone pilot.

Human inspectors will still be necessary, but if programmers can teach an extra set of AI-powered eyes to recognize when something is incorrect or missing, it could help streamline these processes.

As a bonus, these AI eyes could potentially recognize or identify errors and safety issues human inspectors might overlook. Observational AI systems rely on pattern recognition and spend most of their time observing hundreds of thousands of images to ensure they can correctly identify their targets.

They don’t experience the problem of familiarity. It’s like editing a piece of text. The more often the author reads it, the more likely they are to overlook errors rather than fix them. AI observational systems don’t have that problem, making them more efficient for safety applications.

2. Turning Data into Actionable Insights

Construction might be one of the slowest industries to adopt new technologies. Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped the slow introduction of smart building. Incorporating devices into a construction project generates massive amounts of data. Without an AI or machine learning system, that information languishes in digital limbo. Skilled analysts may be able to make heads or tails of it, but putting it to use requires additional tools.

In construction, AI can sort through massive amounts of data, find patterns and deliver actionable insights that can improve productivity and worksite efficiency. It can use equipment maintenance data to create a better care schedule, preventing costly downtime due to equipment failure. With enough information, it can even predict when these maintenance cycles should occur based on past data.

3. Adopting Virtual Assistants

Alexa or Siri might seem like something users only need after their shift ends, but these virtual assistants and many others can help improve outcomes. Digital helpers designed for construction applications can manage communication, bolster inter-team coordination, schedule and track appointments, and more. Advanced assistants can access data generated by the above technology and help with budgeting and estimation.

Modern helpers may take time to customize to a company’s specific needs, but their benefits vastly outweigh the time investment. Utilizing natural language processing (NLP) can make these virtual tools even more powerful.  NLP allows users to speak to their virtual assistants as they would to the person next to them.

4. Incorporating AI Into Wearable Technologies

Like virtual assistants, wearable technology might not seem like it has much of a place in the construction industry, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Fitbits and Apple Watches might not offer much, but they are far from the only wearable devices available in the construction industry.

Monitoring an employee’s heart rate and other vital statistics can indicate when they might be in distress. Fatigue monitors can prevent on-the-job accidents by alerting supervisors when someone is operating heavy equipment while not adequately rested. Impact sensors can detect when someone experiences a fall. Connecting these wearable sensors to a centralized AI  in construction sites allows the system to monitor employees in real-time and send alerts as needed.

5. Procuring and Supply Chains

Supply chains across industries took a significant hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. The price of some construction supplies skyrocketed, and the supply chains for other materials slowed to a crawl — if they were still available. Incorporating AI into procurement and supply chain systems can help improve efficiency and reduce the chance an upset like the pandemic could derail these supply chains again.

There are applications for AI and related technologies throughout the supply chain, from manufacturing and harvesting to those last-mile deliveries. Sensors can collect information about everything from location to distance traveled. They can monitor temperature and humidity for materials requiring more climate control, making it easier to protect all necessary supplies while in transit. Pairing these sensors with an AI system can make sense of data while generating actionable insights.

6. Integrating Robotics and Automation

Contrary to the story popular media tries to spin, robots aren’t appearing in workplaces intending to steal jobs. Instead, they could help improve workplace efficiency and reduce on-the-job injuries by completing mundane, repetitive, or dangerous tasks. Introducing robotics and automation can lower the potential for stress injuries since construction workers are most frequently diagnosed with this type of ailment.

When it comes to dangerous tasks, AI-powered robotics or automation are ideal. These applications can include everything from cleaning tanks or operating in low-oxygen environments to completing tasks in situations that would otherwise be unsafe for human life. While it is currently possible to use these robots manually via remote control, adding AI to the mix would free up workers for more critical or complex tasks employers can’t automate.

Looking to the Future of AI in Construction

There are so many amazing applications for AI construction that it’s easy to forget it’s still novel technology. It will take some time before the industry is ready to adopt this technology and capitalize on all its benefits. AI could make all the difference for companies looking to differentiate themselves in this competitive field.

Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Photo by Sam Moghadam Khamseh; Unsplash; Thank you!

Emily Newton

Emily Newton is a technical and industrial journalist. She regularly covers stories about how technology is changing the industrial sector.

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