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Limited Adoption of Mobile Technology by the UK Construction Industry

  • 40% of construction companies do not provide staff with any form of mobile devices including phones
  • 19% believe their employers are failing to fully exploit the potential of mobile technology
  • Mobile devices can save construction staff an average of 34 minutes per day

December 7th 2006, London: Construction industry adoption and exploitation of mobile technology is limited according to new research conducted by YouGov, in association with T-Mobile.  40% of construction companies do not provide their staff with any form of mobile device, including phones.  Meanwhile, 19% of respondents believe that their employers are not fully exploiting mobile technology to benefit the company’s performance.  

However, those with access to mobile devices have recorded significant benefits.  On average, construction staff who use mobile technology save 34 minutes per day, which equates with a saving of 136 hours per year.  Speed of response to customer queries has been boosted by 31% while personal productivity has increased by a fifth (20%).

Unsurprisingly for a workforce that spends the majority of its time on site, 40% believe that mobiles are vital for communication with colleagues, clients and suppliers.  Use of devices for email or access to information held on the company network is limited, despite the fact that nearly a quarter (24%) of construction professionals believe that mobile technology could have a major impact on work/life balance.

Derek Williamson, Head of Business Marketing at T-Mobile UK says, “The potential benefits of mobile technology for the construction industry are huge but any investment has to be carefully considered to ensure that the employee is matched with the right device.  For some, a mobile phone will be sufficient.  Others may benefit from a device that enables instant connection with the back office and access to centralised data.  This research indicates that of those that are already fully exploiting mobile technology, 63% believe that their investment has paid for itself – other construction firms could also reap significant efficient and cost-effectiveness benefits.”

He continues, “An important first step is to build a business case and identify how mobile technology can best be deployed by your firm.  In addition to the devices, do consider whether any of the growing number of specialised applications specifically developed for the construction industry, whether they be for more accurate on site data capture or to facilitate faster site set-up, could be of use.  The choice is varied so do actively seek advice from a knowledgable mobile communications expert.”

One company operating in the construction industry that is leveraging value from its investment in mobile technology is Hilti.  As a manufacturer of tools, Hilti UK employs over 500 staff, a signficant proportion of which spend a majority of their time out on construction sites visiting clients.  Martin Pope, IT Manager for the Hilti Group explains how equipping Hilti’s engineering and management staff with T-Mobile devices and web‘n’walk cards has benefited the company.

“Our staff rely on their mobiles to ensure reliable and rapid communications with their colleagues, customers and prospects at all times, thereby ensuring that we can continue to deliver a high level of service.  The ability to access the internet at 3G speeds to download emails and documents also means that any ‘dead time’ such as travelling can be used efficiently.”

This survey of over 380 construction professionals was conducted by YouGov in November 2006.

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All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The survey was carried out online. The figures have not been weighted.

Contacts

T-Mobile Press Line work +44 (0) 7017 150 150

Sophia Parviez, T-Mobile:  Tel : cell + 44 (0) 7908 208 417

Brands2life   Tel : work + 44 (0) 207 592 1200

About T-Mobile UK

T-Mobile is one of the world’s largest mobile operators with more than 91 million customers worldwide and in the UK it is the network of choice for approaching 17 million customers, making it one of the largest networks. T-Mobile has a range of innovative products and services such as Flext, a unique tariff with flexible pricing; U-Fix, a tariff that combines pay-as-you-go and a monthly contract and Web'n'Walk, which enables customers to surf websites on the move.  T-Mobile's network coverage is among the best in the UK (over 99% of the UK population) with one of the lowest dropped call rates.  It offers the largest worldwide Wi-Fi network, with over 1,000 HotSpots in business-friendly locations in the UK and 21,000 worldwide, and offers the fastest 3G network across the UK with speeds of up to 1.8mb per second.

For more information about T-Mobile UK, please visit www.t-mobile.co.uk

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