Design and construction professionals have long shared ideas using email. More recently, smartphones have added instant messaging and texting to the electronic collaboration toolkit. But those media are for words. When it comes to drawings, collaborators have remained stubbornly rooted in paper – until now.

Software such as Bluebeam Revu enables plan viewing and markups at workstations. Apps such as PlanGrid, Fieldwire, and SmartUse enable on-the-go collaboration via tablets. The SmartUse app even works on large, interactive screens, combining full-size viewing and comparison with the ability to share those plans (and their markups) at workstations and on tablets.

Users report shorter meetings and improved understanding of what’s expected of them.