Electrical Contracting News (ECN) November 2016 - Page 33

TOOLS Bluetooth tracking module attached to a tool connects wirelessly with the worker’s phone and, in turn, with the Internet. FEATURE INSTANT CONNECTION What are connected tools and what difference do they make? Eric Streuli of Bosch explains the practical and time saving benefits. D o you remember what life was like before mobile phones? Looking back, it’s hard to believe that electrical contractors working on a site often had to search for the nearest red phone box if they wanted to contact their base. And if the base needed to contact them, sometimes the only option was to drive to the site. Today your mobile phone not only keeps you in constant contact with people but connects you with the Internet and its endless possibilities. It can even link you to objects, in the ‘Internet of Things’. By making your tools part of a similar communications network, you can talk to them – and they can talk back. Just as you now wonder how you ever got by without mobile phones, you will soon be wondering how you ran your business without connected tools. Time is money The benefits of connected tools mainly boil down to saving time. Bosch research shows that on average a tradesperson only spends 30 per cent of his or her working hours on productive activities. Much of the rest of the day is spent on preparatory and follow-up tasks, and it is here that tool connectivity can reduce wasted time. Needless to say, any increase in time efficiency means higher productivity and gives your company a competitive edge. Bosch has taken things further by linking the Toolbox App to its TrackMyTools facility, creating a complete system that not only networks the tools but provides the means to locate them and to manage tool inventories. Here are just a few examples of time consuming activities which tool connectivity can avoid or reduce: • Determining the right tool configuration for a task and adjusting the settings manually each time. • Replacing a tool which, unknown to you, has been overused and which has now broken down without warning. • Copying out measurements and then dealing with problems caused by transfer errors. • Checking you have the right tools in your van and searching for one that’s missing. Harnessing the latest technology All of the advances in tool connectivity described here are available today, or just around the corner. The essential principle is that a tool is connected wirelessly to your communication device – a computer or, for mobile flexibility, your smartphone or tablet – and to the Internet. An App on your mobile device – such as the Bosch Toolbox – makes it simple to use those connections. The network allows you to send instructions to the tool, to receive information and to access a variety of time saving digital aids. The system is cloud based, which means that the data and software are safely held by distant computers ‘in the cloud’ and can H[XXHX\Y\[[HۛXY[][X][ۈ]XKXZ[[[\X]\H^BH[Y]قۛXY›XZ[H[ۈœ][[YK[\]Z\Y[[XYH[Y][™H\XH[YH\Yܙ]]\[[Hܚ[\\\YX\\\\[]Xܜ[ܚXBYˈ]8&\]H][[ۈ[\[ۛXYZH\H[XZHHX[Y\[H[\ܚ[YK[x&\H\\[܈H\X[\\[[H[[[\[܂[Hܚ[\\HH\X]BۙY\][ۈ[[\Y\Y\ܛX[H][ˈ]\[\‚ݙ[X\ M ‚L8$ [ ‚L L ̌ M M ‚