Nextel's latest phones, data-enabled and including global positioning system capabilities, offer new and expanded features to improve productivity:
- The TimeTrack option essentially functions as a time clock, allowing workers to time- and location-stamp their work. TimeTrack can also track delivery time, and the lapsed time between dispatches and service calls. However, says Daryl Newman, Nextel's vice president of construction, a firm must have GPS-enabled phones.
- NextMailSM allows users to send a voice memo, recorded in MP3 format, to an e-mail inbox via the Direct Connect walkie-talkie button. The time- and date-stamped messages can be sent to up to 50 e-mail addresses and are electronically archivable. Newman recommends this feature for daily job reports, documenting vendor change orders and noting punchlist items.
- International Direct Connect is a cross-border walkie-talkie service that operates in Canada, Mexico and other countries. If you work regularly with suppliers or other trade partners located in these countries, it saves the cost of an international call.
"Construction companies aren't always on the cusp of technology, and our focus is to layer on applications that are designed to address their business problems," Newman says. "Our solutions are easy to implement, have a quick ROI and allow users to use their phones in a more robust way."