Whats app for professional communication (Case study home renovation project in a small town in India)
Sharing this a first-hand experience:
Professionals from small towns using digital technology to make their work more efficient.
I recently got my holiday home renovated, it’s about 820 KM away from my present home. The main challenge was communication with the teams of contractors, in ABSENCE of formal architectural drawings, and frequent face 2 face meetings. It was a refreshing experience after a while (My last project as an Architect was like 15+ years back)
Renovation projects need a lot of communication during the project duration. (around 10 months here) There are many face 2 face meetings needed, for understanding the status of existing building, sharing ideas, making sketches, explaining designs, selection of materials and so on. The toughest part is discussing why something will or something will not work!
I did 3 physical meetings with contractor teams during the project. And rest of the time ALL communication was on Whats App, and Phone.
The ‘not so tech savvy’ (?) construction teams were comfortable with whats app. Sending instructions, design sketches, material samples, and even financial communication were all done on Whats app. Worked better than undocumented verbal instructions. contractor (Any person from contracting team, plumbing, flooring, concrete, electrical and other agencies) and Architect (myself in this case) used a smartphone for all communication needs.
Process of communication
1. The contractor used to share a photo of part of the building, like the kitchen platform, roof, which had to be completely demolished and redone.
2. Architect shared 3D sketches either hand drawn, or Computer generated 3D images for the layout of walls, (created on the laptop) sent using whats app, with notes, and a call to explain
3. Contractors would then share photos of stages of completion, materials for sample selection, like toilet fixtures, and so on.
4. Every stage of completion of part work, I used to get photos of the completed work (At times video)
5. All the financial documents, bills, were scanned and sent. Payments were all online, direct to their accounts.
I think the experience was really smooth. Contractors made fantastic use of this virtually free technology to complete the project successfully
- First and foremost reduced travel, was the biggest benefit, time and money.
- A complete log of the history of events for 10 months, in a timeline document, automatically generated. I can clearly know, which work was completed on which date.
- Seeing is believing, most decisions were remotely taken.
I think ‘on the ground workforce’ in India, (at least their supervisors) are using their smartphones especially whats app professionally to make them more productive.
Professionals in the small towns are transforming their work using the Information Communication Technology. That surely add a small story in Indias Digital transformation.
Have you come across any such use cases?