Technology at Southland is changing the way we stay connected. Consider how we used to communicate in the 80s: We had face-to-face conversations, we picked up the rotary phone or dialed a number, and we used “snail mail.” In our present world, we use iPhones or iPads, hold video conferences, and use e-Mail, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay connected. In the past, computers used modems to communicate via telephone lines; Now, our computers talk to each other via wireless networks and the internet.
At Southland, we have made major investments in new technologies to stay connected and are constantly seeking new ways to improve. In an effort to consolidate our communication, iPhones and tablets are being utilized at to consolidate our communication. We no longer need to carry a laptop or try to find an open computer to check our emails or conduct research on the Internet. Job walks can be conducted using tablets containing pre-loaded drawings or files to be reviewed—and these files are shared instantaneously via e-mail or can be transferred to our corporate server. Updated files can be transmitted from the West Coast to the East via high-speed connections using Wide Area Networks. The same connections can be used to conduct video conference calls while we simultaneously connect to the internet to conduct research or share updated files with our partners.
Our job sites are now equipped with wireless networks so that our mobile employees can connect instantaneously without having to search for a network cable. We utilized Voice Over IP (VOIP) technology to back up telephone connections in the case that we cannot connect to the Internet. Job sites are also equipped with high-speed connections based on the site connectivity demand. Project managers can utilize their iPhones to take pictures of job site progress and transfer the images instantly. All of these solutions have been implemented so that our employees at Southland can stay connected with one another and have access to data from any location.
Furthermore, our intranet site helps us consolidate updated searchable content. We no longer have to make multiple calls to find the updated expense report form. Every division now has a place to communicate news, events, and share content. But what is even better is that all other division employees can view the content, as well. With the deployment of COINS, or construction industry software, we are working towards improving insight into our projects and providing fine-grained analytics using business intelligent tools, too.
Other solutions that we are implementing include a mobile technician program for our iPads will change the way our service department works; and a social media program that allows anyone in the organization to communicate, provide feedback, and collect institutional Southland knowledge. Together, these tools lead to the enhancement of Southland and improved efficiency.
As we find new solutions to stay connected at Southland, it is important to see the adoption of the technology as a forward-thinking change to improve how we conduct business. As Darwin once stated, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” We must adapt to the changing technology that keeps us connected.