I've been strolling the showcase section of the Fiatech annual technology showcase and conference here at the Doral Resort in sunny Miami, chatting up the companies holding down the booths.
What's the biggest trend in tech you're seeing this year, I ask them. No question: Field management applications used with a tablet—most likely an iPad or Android-powered device. Firms large and small are snapping them up for field tests if they haven't already standardized them in their workflows.
Some vendors are positioning for the trend by first by offering apps that help construction managers document everything on a jobsite, offering them the software to fit their field management needs. From there, they roll out back-end systems that help them synch up their data and manage it throughout its lifecycle once they start to send it from the jobsite back to the office servers.
Other vendors with established back-end data and project management offerings are coming at the trend from the opposite direction: offering up their first field management apps for the tablets, then touting their ability to seamlessly synch up their data once they collect it in the field. Data integration is the key trend that follows the growth of tablets on jobsites.
BIM-in-the-Field is also a big trend that attendees are talking about in panel discussions here. It's gaining fast as a tool and a process.