What construction businesses can do to prepare their call networks

What construction businesses can do to prepare their call networks

Simon Hochhauser, Founder and CEO at PiPcall, explores how construction businesses can improve working processes and boost productivity rates in 2024 with advanced mobile calling. 

2024 is set to be a challenging year for the construction sector. But with any challenge comes opportunity. It’s true, the economic downturn, rising interest rates and waning confidence have cast a shadow over the industry; many businesses find themselves navigating a tumultuous landscape marked by a decrease in projects and a stagnation in innovation. Looking ahead to the New year, businesses need to put their best foot forward and build resilience.  

Reports show that construction productivity rates in the UK and Ireland can be improved. Updating business communications to bolster information sharing, team collaboration, smoothing out supply chain delays and reducing wasteful spending needs to be a priority. With the PSTN switch-off (Public Switched Telephone Network) just around the corner too, there is no time like the present. In 2024, the move away from fixed-line phones will gather momentum and this serves as a catalyst for embracing mobile technology. Indeed, solutions that use the mobile voice network to guarantee high-quality calls and offer collaboration features are the way forward.  

While nearly 75% of construction companies express the importance of prioritising digitalisation to enhance their processes, a mere 13% have made significant progress towards realising this goal. Construction companies stand to gain immensely from digital transformation, and implementing feature-rich mobile technology should be a priority as we head into the new year. 

An industry left behind 

For out-and-about construction professionals such as surveyors, property developers, architects and engineers, mobile communication innovation has stagnated and productivity has suffered as a result. On the other hand, office-based and remote workers who conduct their day-to-day roles without leaving their homes or workplace have experienced a huge digital evolution. They have been able to leverage Unified Communication (UC) tools encompassing call recording, instant messaging, CRM integration and live document editing. But this in itself isn’t the right solution for construction workers.  

The issue is, mobile phone apps with UC features typically require the voice stream to travel over a public data internet connection, but this is shared with other data-hungry applications. These data channels, therefore, cannot provide guaranteed delivery in real-time, reducing voice call quality and resulting in frequent call drops. For construction workers and professionals often moving between sites, this limits the extent to which they can cohesively communicate.  

This cannot continue. The inherently demanding nature of the construction industry requires not only slick supply chain management and unwavering adherence to tight deadlines, but also a high degree of flexibility to navigate unpredictable schedule changes. Where precision is paramount, poor communication exacerbates existing industry challenges.  

The next generation of mobile technology must be able to provide high-quality calls over the dedicated voice network combined with UC-like calling features. This is instrumental in addressing current industry challenges such as dwindling productivity rates and supply chain delays, but also in ensuring the industry’s resilience in the future.  

Safe, secure and streamlined 

While traditional calls will continue to be the foundation of on-site calling, it’s time for workers to enjoy the benefits of their office-worker counterparts. Features such as call recording, call transfer, ring groups, interconnected staff networks, and shared contact directories offer construction professionals advanced calling capabilities within traditional mobile calls. This enables seamless teamwork on projects without sacrificing quality. Consider the upcoming busy Christmas period, where materials and staff are harder to muster, and lengthy site closures push deadlines over into the new year. Having advanced business mobile calling features can help contractors minimise disruptions and delays, ensuring project deadlines are met.  

Additionally, secure communications are paramount. Firms use various mobile devices, including SIMS, eSIMs, and BYOD (bring your own device) to involve project-specific professionals. While BYOD is renowned for boosting productivity and cutting costs, it can cause GDPR issues if contact data is shared. It is crucial that construction companies adopt a solution that is both BYOD compatible and offers a dedicated business number – separating work and personal communications. Also, IT managers must have data management capabilities, and should be able to erase sensitive data post-project, safeguarding employee and customer information. 

Futureproofing construction 

We’ve begun to observe a shift toward digital transformation within the sector over the last few years, and we must continue this trajectory in 2024. Digitalisation, spurred on by the likes of the PSTN switch-off, is changing the industry for the better. One industry report highlights that over 82.7% of construction companies view obtaining more robust mobile technology as important for enhancing the productivity of their operations. By optimising mobile communication channels, teams can eliminate bottlenecks, minimise delays and improve the overall efficiency of projects – wherever they are, on-site and off-site. Unlocking productivity within the construction sector hinges on these strategic investments.  

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