There’s a discussion currently going on in the “Apprentice” LinkedIn Group about the article “iPad App to Replace Printed Blueprints?”
Yesterday, Leo Ladas (who is the Director of Facilities Management Services at AIR Graphics, Boston, MA) weighed in with his thoughts, which appear below…..
Leo Ladas • “The construction industry has a $4 billion dollar problem? Does an iPad roll out make for a bigger problem, with lots of associated trades and consultants still printing? Thoughts: Large format paper construction documents have sunk to the new low plateau... the fall (or slow descent) of the "blueprint" doesn't mean the "view on screen/on screen take off/BIM technology/Cloud document management" has displaced "blueprinting". The displacement of the blueprint has been hastened by Oce and KIP and Xerox and HP and Canon and Ricoh etc, by redistributing printing locally vs. the old central model. People like a big sheet of paper and like to see the BIG PICTURE, with the ability to ZOOM in and out of the project (using their own eyes) to see the whole picture. I have confirmed this with many people in the design and construction industry, old and young. I don't think the dollars go away, they just get redistributed. (iPads + service contracts + data plan + App costs + constant training + insurance) x 100,000 or more project sites x (7 to 10 iPads per project). How long will an iPad last on a site. 12 to 24 months? Weren't the high-end tablet computers going to eliminate "blueprints"? Project software is a mature market. Newforma and all the others will follow with their apps, meaning continued lack of uniformity. Sub-Contractors are forced to use multiple systems now. As they are forced to purchase more and more technology as there is no uniformity, the cost of construction increases. I am skeptical every time I read one of these stories, just seems like too much spin.”
Leo, who attended Northeastern University and who has been involved in the reprographics business and industry since around 1985 – that’s 27 years experience – makes a very, very important point. People in design and construction do want to see the “big picture” and large-format prints do allow for that. In earlier posts on the blog, we’ve talked about the future of display screen technology – there will “someday” be “portable” large-format display screens, but that “someday” may not be in my lifetime. Rather than rely on what articles say, always best to get out and talk to your A/E/C customers to find out what they are thinking, what they want, and what will work best for them!