Project Management Apps for Architects on iPad
This group includes industry-specific and general industry project management and collaboration tools we have chosen to focus on. The latter is a huge category with lots of possibilities. These days the most important tools are cloud-oriented that have centralized all project data. Some of the best online collaboration and project management (OCPM) tools have developed in the general market as true SaaS (software as a service) options. Basecamp by 37signals is probably the most famous of these.
Mobility and the Cloud
Today the project management tool “success story” is not just a Web 2.0-only affair that isolates you within a standards based web browser. It has to involve the leading mobile platforms and native apps on those platforms. And right now the leader is Apple’s iOS platform. Let’s look at some of the offerings.
The first app we want to point out is 37signals’ Basecamp. This tool actually comes in two versions, Basecamp and Basecamp Classic. Classic is not supported within the native iPad app but is fully accessible via Safari on the iPad. With careful organization this general SaaS tool is highly useful to streamlining communications and centralizing documents, and many small to mid-size AEC firms are Basecamp users. (see image 01).
The second tool we want to focus on is Newforma. This popular AEC dedicated system has a suite of task-specific iPad apps like the Newforma Punch List app shown here (see 02). Newforma has recently acquired a competitor with a cloud-based SaaS offering. We do not believe the iPad apps integrate with that tool yet. Lastly, AEC Software’s well regarded FastTrack Schedule Go is a gantt-chart style project scheduling app that can also open Microsoft Project files. (see image 03)
The List (14 Apps)
Here is a listing of some of the most excellent general project management apps useful to architects on the iPad at the time of this writing as well as all of the dedicated AEC industry apps focused on online collaboration and project management (OCPM) which offer iOS apps that run on iPad. Again, if we have somehow missed an app that deserves to be on this list we would sure appreciate your email on the subject. It may also be listed in another category in our series. Without further ado:
- Basecamp – this is one of the only apps we are listing that isn’t written specifically for the iPad’s larger layout, however it runs on iPad but you will find it under the iPhone in the iTunes Store. Basecamp is the number one project management tool, says 37signals, its developer. This is a general tool (not AEC) but is flexible enough for the architectural industry. Basecamp Classic also has features that might better fit AEC and runs in a mobile and standard version through Safari on iOS. (96 reviews, 3 stars) Free
- Buzzsaw — this app gives you mobile access to Autodesk Buzzsaw, a similar online collaboration and project management (OCPM platform by Autodesk. View Revit models, Navisworks model views and communicate with team members and share annotated project photos, videos and images. (10 reviews, 3 1/2 stars) Free
- Constructware Field — this app gives you mobile access to Autodesk Constructware, an online collaboration and project management (OCPM) platform, connecting people, info and processes for the design and construction industry. (7 reviews, 2 1/2 stars) Free
- FastTrack Schedule Go — this app by software AEC leader AEC Software, lets you take your FastTrack Schedule files with you on your iPad. Features Microsoft Project file support, Dropbox, iTunes, SkyDrive, Google Drive and more integration and of course it fully works with FastTrack Schedule 10 files from Windows or Mac. (12 reviews, 4 stars) 29.99.USD
- Gantt Pro – this app allows you to carry your Microsoft Project plans on your iPad. You import these files into the app via email, Dropbox or iTunes. (19 reviews, not rated) 5.99.USD
- Liquid Planner – this interesting app is also a Gantt charter, scheduling, project management and collaboration app that works in conjunction with the web-version. Works with importing Excel or Microsoft Project files. (21 reviews, 3 stars) Free
- Newforma Field Notes — for users of the Newforma AEC project management system, this app is focused capturing notes in the field, in addition to marking up photos and audio notes. (zero reviews, not rated) Free
- Newforma Plans — for users of the Newforma AEC system, this app is focused on bringing PDF-based plans with you to the job site. Supports markup, email abilities and more. (1 review, not rated) Free
- Newforma Punch Lists – for users of the Newforma AEC system this app is focused on punch lists. Like the other Newforma iOS apps this is a single-focused app that functions like a Newforma module on your iPad. (zero reviews, not rated) Free
- Podio — this app works with the extensive and growingly popular Podio collaborative work platform. Podio is now a Citrix company. It works by getting folks to construct collaborative workspaces, and enable those inside to structure those workspaces just the way they want. Podio works with Evernote, Google Drive, Box, Skydrive and more. Podio has been hailed as the new Basecamp or the Basecamp killer. (396 reviews, 4 1/2 stars) Free
- ProjectWise Explorer Mobile – this Bentley app is for mobile access to Bentley’s ProjectWise project and document management system. (zero reviews, not rated) Free
- Oracle Virtual Desktop Client – this app gives users secure mobile access to their virtual Windows, Oracle Linux and Oracle Solaris desktops and Oracle applications. (5 reviews, not rated) Free
- Oracle P6 Team Member — this app is actually another one in our series that is not optimized for the iPad but runs the iPhone version perfectly well on it. With it you can tap into your company’s Primavera P6 Enterprise system to view active, overdue, starred and completed project-specific tasks, view task details, update start dates, communicate with other team members and more. (2 reviews, not rated) Free
- VEO — this upcoming app by M-SIX works in conjunction with the new M-SIX VEO platform for design, construction and operation of buildings and infrastructure. This is a very exciting new tool on the horizon. At this moment Apple has not finalized approval for the VEO iOS app. You can see screenshots of the app here.
The Gem in the Group
To be perfectly honest we do not feel there is an outstanding Gem in this group. We say this because the larger solutions from Bentley, Autodesk and Oracle are lack the simplicity, ease-of-use and clarity of a true SaaS app darling like Basecamp. On the other hand, a general SaaS online collaboration and project management tool will always leave you feeling you wish things could be more customized to your specific industry. Perhaps then, this is why we think a possible Gem to keep an eye on is Podio.
Podio has been called the new Basecamp. Yet, unlike Basecamp, Podio is more of a customizable workspace process platform. And get this–it supports custom development and has a growing Podio App eco-system where base Podio users can purchase customized Podio apps and create a toolset for their individual industry or company.
For example, the base Podio product handles task management, document management, project meetings support with built-in Go-To-Meetings, and works with cloud storage leaders like Dropbox. Inside of the Podio App Market there are apps for vertical markets like advertising, consultancy, education, law, marketing, media agency, NGO, real estate, software development and others. There is no Architecture or AEC vertical defined yet we are sure that will change very shortly.
next page : Annotation Apps for Architects (24 Mar published)
series index page: Ultimate iPad Guide: Apps for Architects