Going mobile

Smartphones and tablets are pervasive in nearly every aspect of our lives.


Each time a new technology or device is introduced, I always wonder how the general public will react to it. I wish I’d imagined a phone that keeps you constantly updated with e-mail, news, weather, and anything else you could want. Now that I’m addicted to it, I’m not sure I could live without my phone (an Android smartphone).


And what about a tablet computer that you can take practically anywhere? According to a recent forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, tablet shipments are expected to grow 58.7% year over year in 2013 reaching 229.3 million units, up from 144.5 million units in 2012. IDC predicts tablet shipments will exceed those of portable PCs this year. In addition, IDC expects tablet shipments to outpace the entire PC market (portables and desktops combined) by 2015.


In other words, these technologies are invading every aspect of our lives, and they don’t seem to be going away any time soon. As we saw in the May “2 More Minutes” column, these technologies won’t make you smarter, but they might make you more efficient.


Readers of this publication have historically been slow to adapt to new technology of any sort. While thousands of new products in the HVAC, lighting, fire protection, and electrical industries (to name a few) are brought to market each year, it may take quite some time before the technology is accepted and specified into a building. This is understandable; an untested multimillion-dollar building system won’t be specified into a school or hospital just because “it’s the new, cool thing.” Tests, performance data, and success stories are important to have before accepting an engineered system.


Mobile devices, while still somewhat new, are not untested. While some have had problems with connectivity or software, they are—for the most part—reliable and affordable. And they can certainly make us all more efficient. In a recent survey of more than 470 Consulting-Specifying Engineer readers, we learned that about 68% of you use mobile devices on the job. Only 41% of you use tablets.


I would like to learn more about why you do or don’t use these devices professionally. Join the conversation at our LinkedIn group: http://tinyurl.com/CSElinkedin

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