Playing NSA at the Job Site. Just Less Sneakily

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Explore:  Cameras Surveillance

The U.S. National Security Agency (“NSA”) been getting a lot of bad press lately. From backdoor hacking into Google and Yahoo to the mass data collection program known as PRISM to spying on gaming platforms such as Second Life and World of Warcraft, it hasn’t been much fun going from scrutinizer to scrutinized.

I was thinking about the NSA and its public relations problems as I was reading an article from Engineering New-Record (“ENR.com”), which in turn made me think about the movie Sneakers, which in turn made me think about how sad it is that River Phoenix died. See how my mind works?

The article was about the increasing use of live streaming cameras on construction projects. Certainly, in this day of age, when you can order and pay for a latte on your smartphone, live streaming cameras are not particularly exciting in a “wow, we can do that now!” sense. But what is interesting, is the increasing use of this technology on job sites and their potential uses.

This past Fall, Ted Hall of Hatch Mott MacDonald, Program Manager for the Bay Area Toll Authority, gave a presentation at our firm’s yearly Infrastructure Forum on the newly opened San Francisco-Oakland Span of the Bay Bridge. One of the things he mentioned was the use of job site cameras on the project.

He said that the cameras were originally intended to be used as a public relations tool by allowing the public to view the construction of the project in realtime, but that the cameras turned out to have other more practical, albeit unintended, benefits. One example he gave was the use of the cameras to help resolve a scheduling and interference claim on the project.

After reading the ENR.com article, I began to realize that there could me many potential uses for a job cam. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Maybe a job cam could also have a thousand uses (ok, maybe less), but, more importantly, could potentially save tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in dispute avoidance and resolution costs.

A few of the uses I can see for a job site camera are:

  • Jobsite security
  • Worker safety
  • Project staffing
  • Project efficiency
  • Scheduling
  • Interference claims
  • Critical-path claims
  • Delay claims
  • Defect claims

And this, of course, can mean smoother running projects, more money in your pockets, and happier customers. Just don’t stick them in the porta potties.

Oh, and here’s a clip from Sneakers when they call the NSA.