The IPad at Work & in the AEC Space

We put the Generation 1 iPads to the test in our company early on and continue to adopt them as new versions roll out. We even gave them away as prizes when they were in sold out mode (a benefit of your office being across the street from Apple’s flagship store in NYC).

Although we did not see a lot of early adoption of iPads in the AEC space, we are now seeing the curve go from toy, to pilot, to roll out. I’m happy to see native apps for G&A uses such as email, online meetings, office applications, remote desktops, etc…as well as AEC line of business applications such as Vela Systems (for field users) popping up with serious intent.

For my own management needs, I’ve been able to use the basics without issue. Exchange email and calendaring work great, Skype is fast and efficient, Adobe Connect (for online meetings) is seamless and fast, and I’m getting good mileage out of general notes and various user specific tools like SoundCloud (for meeting records). Our own applications are also working nicely after addressing few Safari browser compatibility issues.

I’ve delved further into traditionally more power applications, like the entire iWork suite of productivity applications, which work fine, but tend to lack in the collaborative space. Looking for to this and the coming of serious browser and native based application offerings from the AEC vendor space.

All in all, the small form factor concept (at least in the Apple world) is delivering on the cloud characteristic of broad access, to some degree self service, and has transformed my own, and a number of our employees way of working within a short 1 year time span. Can’t wait to see what it does for AEC mobility as vendors and service providers get serious about response to the demand.


  1. Hi Wes,

    Thanks for mentioning us, and we couldn’t agree more with your comments about the potential for iPads in construction. I think we’re in the beginning of the full rollout phase of adoption in the industry based on what I’m seeing this year. And, even though the iPad has been around for a relatively short time, already very powerful applications, beyond the expected “G&A” apps, are coming to market.

    Imagine in the future, for example, that you could carry your project’s 3D model to the jobsite on your iPad and work with it to conduct any number of field activities, quality checks, as-built information, augmented reality, … — well, that future is now — we’re already doing that here at Vela Systems. We recently announced “Field BIM Interactive” as a new app that will do just that. There’s more info and a beta sign up at this link: