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Tomorrow’s Internet –Fundamentals of IoT for Construction

ABC Reports: Nonresidential Construction Spending Down Again in June, First Annual Decline Since 2013

1291931467352794367Nonresidential construction spending dipped 1 percent in June and has now contracted for three consecutive months according to analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Nonresidential spending, which totaled $682 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized rate, has fallen 1.1 percent on a year-over-year basis, marking the first time nonresidential spending has declined on an annual basis since July 2013.

“On a monthly basis, the numbers are not as bad as they seem, as May’s nonresidential construction spending estimate was revised higher. However, this fails to explain the first year-over-year decline in nearly three years,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “There are many forces at work, most of them negative, with the noteworthy exception of construction materials prices, which are down on a year-over-year basis. To the extent that savings are being passed along to purchasers of construction services, spending would appear lower in dollar terms than when measured in physical terms such as square footage.

“Thanks in part to the investment of foreign capital in America, spending related to office space and lodging are up by more than 16 percent year-over-year,” said Basu. The global economy is weak, and international investors are searching for yield and stability. U.S. commercial real estate has become a popular destination for foreign capital. However, the weakness of the global economy may also help explain the decline in manufacturing-related construction spending of nearly 5 percent for the month and more than 10 percent year-over-year.

“Though many contractors continue to report extensive backlog, the data suggest that average firm backlog may begin to retrench,” warned Basu. “The only significant driver of economic growth in America presently is consumer spending. Corporate profits remain stagnant and business investment remains underwhelming. Public sector spending does not appear positioned to accelerate anytime soon despite the passage of a federal highway bill last year.”

Precisely half of the 16 nonresidential subsectors expanded in June. Two of the largest subsectors—manufacturing and commercial—experienced significant contractions in June, however, and were responsible for a majority of the dip in spending.

Tepid spending by public agencies also continues to shape the data. Despite a monthly pick-up in spending, water-supply construction spending is down 14 percent on a year-over-year basis. Public safety construction spending is down 8.4 percent from a year ago, sewage and waste disposal by nearly 15 percent, highway and street by about 6 percent, education by 4 percent and transportation by more than 3 percent.

Chart_8_1_16 Spending_8_1_16

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Xplore Technologies Tablets – Which Tablet Is Best For You?

The following is not intended as a commercial or endorsement for Xplore Technologies Tablets, only a review of the product.  With literally hundreds of tablets on the market it’s easy to get confused and not know which will work best for you. I thought I knew about all the tablet brands ranging from A to Z. There are virtually dozens. When I received a product release on this line I was surprised and started doing some research which lead me to the company website http://www.xploretech.com/ and also an interview with Mark Holleran, president and COO.

After extensive reading and the conversation with Holleran I felt that pointing you to the product would be helpful in making a decision about integrating tablets into your operation and making a selection that would be good for your business.

If you’re in construction you may have asked yourself some of these questions:

  • Do you have business-critical tasks working in hazardous or harsh environments that require a mobile PC that won’t break… whether in driving rain, blowing sand and dust, constant vibration, shock, submerged, extreme temperatures?
  • Do you have crucial tasks that require next-generation processing power to run high-performance applications ensuring you have the computing power you need today and well into the future?
  • Do you have to run standard and customized applications already developed for a PC platform and want to avoid the massive expense of re-development?

What are your choices?

You could try a consumer tablet–like the iPad.  It’s fun, thin, light and has lots of apps.  Unfortunately, it is a delicate indoor executive’s tool–not tough enough to work in the field: it splinters if dropped, or snaps like a cracker if sat on, will scratch or short out if splashed with water, mud, oil or blood, and fails in heat, cold or dust. However, it runs lots of apps–just not the heavy-duty customized Windows-based apps you already use.

You could try some of the semi-rugged PCs.  They “look” rugged (heavy), but they barely withstand a knee-high drop to wood (let alone solid concrete) and are not waterproof.

You could get a rugged PC.  However, all rugged PCs are not the same. Some are armor-coated laptops (that weigh a ton), and some can be dropped (but only onto plywood while turned off–like that’s going to happen), while others can only be lightly sprayed or splashed–how about dropped in the pool?

Or you could consider Xplore tablets, developed by XploreTechnologies. With over 100,000 deployments, Xplore’s tablets are consistently rated the #1 most rugged, most powerful tablet PCs in the world.

Xplore Technologies Tablet

Xplore tablets are more rugged and tested more vigorously (most test performed while “on” ) for shock, thermal, vibration, impact, ingress and emissions than any other PC in the industry, and have an IP 67 Rating.  (link the IP 67 rating to http://www.ruggedtech.com/ip.

  • Drop test. Xplore tablets can withstand a 7′ drop to plywood and a 4′ drop to concrete (while on). Closest competitors don’t certify drop to concrete and most competitor’s testing is done while the PC is off.
  • Water test. Most competitors can be sprayed or sprinkled at best–Xplore tablets can be fully submersed (up to 30 minutes), without failure.
  • Dust & debris test. Impenetrable to dust and debris–achieving the highest industry rating. A 40 mph sand or dust storm and corrosive salt fog will not harm your PC.
  • Hazardous test. Pass the Hazardous Location (UL1604, Class 1/Div2) certification test. They can operate in explosion-prone areas without causing sparks–unlike many PCs that can explode in hazardous gas conditions.
  • Temperature test. Xplore tablets can operate in -4°F to 140°F temperatures, and can be stored at -40°F to 167°F (89°F greater temperature variable than the standard laptop) making it usable in the most extreme environments (including in the freezer, out in the dessert, in the trunk in the winter, or on the dashboard in the summer.)
  • Crash test. Combining the high density, light magnesium alloy chassis, compression seals, structural frame, ISO-damp LCD cushioning, contour bumper protection (from 26 directions), with the non-moving thermal management system, and solid state drives (SSD), Xplore systems are engineered to withstand damage in the harshest environments.

Testing results are verified by independent third parties. Most are conducted with the PC turned on, and is warranted to meet published specifications.

Most Powerful In Their Class Ensuring the Longest Life

Aside from being the most rugged in real-world scenarios, Xplore tablets have the highest performance in their class while also enjoying the longest average PC life-cycle before replacement.

  • Intel i7 Processor, plus Turbo Boost. Most Xplore tablets use the i7 class dual-core processor (up to 3x faster than competitors), along with Turbo Boost,  which provides the power to run the simplest to most demanding applications—ensuring the most advanced computing power today and into the future.
  • Solid State Drive (SSD). Tool-less removable SSD storage in patented protective cartridges provides the fastest data access speed, maximum shock resistance and the longest drive life.
  • RAID 0,1 Option. The only rugged PCs with optional dual SSD drives supporting RAID 0,1 for either un-matched drive performance, or data redundancy, fault tolerance and maximum data protection.
  • AllVue Xtreme LCD. Available with hi- performance, sunlight-readable, automatic light sensor hi/lo night vision in a 10.4″ LCD screen–described as “among the very best displays” ever made. Xplore provides the best field usability with reliable viewing in virtually any light conditions–including direct sunlight. There is also a dual-mode touch screen/active digitizer.
  • Built-In Advanced Security. Biometric finger-swipe finger print reader, tied to pre-boot authentication insures military, police and corporate grade security.  Ensures maximum security and data protection for your most specialized needs.
  • Real-time Customization. Only Xplore tablets that can customize all sound, viewing, radio, fan, and quiet mode settings to user’s specific needs and wants. This unique feature allows for personalized settings for different situations and industries.

Xplore tablets provide the most powerful, modern processor, combined with the fastest and most durable disk access (with an option for even more storage, speed or data redundancy), in one of the most secure and durable tablets in the world.  This ensures you have the computing power you need today and tomorrow.  They also lasts longer before becoming obsolete, maximizing your ROI.

Maximizes Industry Standards and Connectivity

Unlike some tablets that use light-weight, mobile or non-standard operating systems, Xplore tablets ship default with Windows 7 and support most standard hard and wireless connectivity.

  • Windows 7 and Virtual Machines. Xplore tablets ship with Windows 7 Professional–the most stable, full-featured industry standard OS available. With the built-in processing power, you can also run other OSs within a virtual PC–to run just about any modern, legacy, or custom applications  regardless of the platform.
  • USB, RJ-45 (10/100/1000), Serial Port, and MicroSD support. Standard connectors allow you to run non-proprietary accessories–even though the connectors are sealed or internal, with tool-less access to ensure rugged durability.
  • Bluetooth. Built-in Bluetooth allows you to connect to other Bluetooth devices.
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n. Integrated Intel advanced wireless. Allows you to connect to newer and older wireless networks with fewer dead zones and more consistent connectivity.
  • Optional GOBI 3000. The GOBI 3000 WWAN enables network agnostic (choose Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, etc. later) broadband connectivity. Stay connected to your network and the Internet, regardless of your location.
  • Optional Sub-Meter GPS. Xplore tablets have the only tablet GPS that hot-starts in less than one second with guaranteed accuracy within one meter, providing pinpoint accuracy for GPS driving and specialized GPS applications.
  • Advanced Mobile Broadband. A custom engineered, high gain mobile broadband antenna enables continuous connectivity on the fringes of the network, so you can stay connected where others can’t.
  • Pin and Pad Docking Connector & XPL.  In addition to standard connectivity, Xplore tablets also include specialized gold plated proprietary connectors to hook into Xplore docking stations and accessories–providing further expandability, plus the flexibility to use as your primary PC in and out of the office.

Xplore tablets are full-performance tablet PCs that can run all your normal and specialized applications–without requiring re-development for mobile deployment.

Worth Pointing out

  • More Standard Features. Xplore tablets include a 3 mega-pixel camera (great for Geo tagging), speakers, noise cancelling mic, barcode scanner, security fingerprint reader, sunlight-viewable display, and unsurpassed ruggedization… all standard.
  • Field Repairable/Upgradable.  Industry’s only field reparable/upgradeable rugged tablet PCs. Easy, tool-less access to internal SSD, SIM, Micro SD, battery, memory and wireless. In-field repairs eliminate user and transfer downtime and shipping cost.
  • 3 Year Warranty. As a leader and pioneer in rugged PCs since 2002, Xplore’s comprehensive approach to service sets us apart. The objective of our approach is to support and maximize the value of your mobile computing investment. We warranty each PC to meet published specifications with one of the industry’s highest standard 3-year warranties, including single point-of-contact support.

Migration to tablet computers is inevitable. Do your homework and research the products that are available and find the ones that will work best for your application. Like every investment you should be focused on getting the best possible ROI available and computers are an investment; they are also a piece of indispensable equipment.

This article appeared in the February 2012 issues of the ACP Magazines

California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder.