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What Is the Cloud and What Does It Mean for Construction?

We’ve written a lot about “the cloud” in our newsletters and SKYSITE blog content, but sometimes, it’s worth slowing down and explaining concepts that are maybe not as well understood as we think. Like, what is this illustrious “the cloud” anyway? And more importantly, why should you care? As far as tech jargon goes, “the cloud” and its value to the construction industry and beyond is relatively straightforward.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines “the cloud” as cloud computing for:

Enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

Okay, maybe that definition isn’t so straightforward. In English, cloud computing means you can easily access your data (drawings, pictures, documents, and other media) anywhere, anytime, from any device. While arguably not as important as the clouds in the sky, “the cloud” involving computers has some clear advantages over floating water vapor.

For instance, cloud computing allows you to place all of your important documents in a single online location that can be accessed from your phone or tablet or home computer. Sure, actual clouds look prettier and make rain, but for the office or jobsite, you can’t really beat utility. This single source with multiple access points means your team can communicate and work more effectively.

In construction, the cloud makes getting reprints for a drawing obsolete, reduces mistakes, and streamlines collaboration. One person (with admin rights, of course) makes the changes, and everyone with access to those documents gets those changes in real-time. Cloud computing means that your team is always working with the latest version of the project. The latest construction drawing management apps, like SKYSITE, allow you to make those very changes from your preferred device.

The workflow would look something like this: you mark up a drawing on your tablet while at the jobsite, but then you head home and want to check the status of your update, so you view or comment from your desktop at home. Pretty cool stuff if you ask us.

So hopefully, this little explainer has cleared up any confusion you may have had about the cloud. But if we only managed to further confuse you, or you just have questions, please reach out to us:

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