DeWALT are releasing Tool Connect, smartphone and tablet integrated battery packs that can communicate via Bluetooth with their Android or iOS app to enable battery monitoring, management and basic theft prevention.
However, the app does not fully leverage the technology’s tracking capabilities for really stamping down on tool theft – more on that later.
Available in Australia in late 2015 in DeWALT’s 2.0Ah and 5.0Ah Tool Connect batteries, the app can be configured to alert you and/or automatically shut down the battery (and resultantly, the tool it is connected to) when it leaves the approximate 30m perimeter that DeWALT states is the limit of the Bluetooth’s connectivity range.
A DeWALT Australia spokesperson told TTT that this was not restricted to line of site communications and that the Bluetooth would work through walls.
Multiple batteries can be connected to the app meaning easier inventory management as well as offering state-of-charge and temperature status diagnostics.
Gone are the days where you need to write or carve your initials on your battery to try and prevent it being pinched. If you’re lending the battery to a friend or co-worker, you can put it in “Lend Mode” and set it to shut off after a pre-determined time to help ensure the battery is returned. Further, if you’ve misplaced your battery or tool you can set off a flashing identity light on the Tool Connect battery to help you locate it.
What could have been: Tool tracking:
While it is fantastic to see the Internet of Things making its way into power tools, it would be great to see the tracking capabilities this technology offers implemented to really stamp down on tool theft or loss.
Independent applications and coin sized tracking chips such as Tile App or TrackR have been out for a couple of years now and offer Google Maps integrated real time location identification (or last known location) of the device being tracked, as well as hotter/colder distance tracking and an audible alarm rather than a flashing light.
What’s more, if you set your chip to lost or stolen and it comes within Bluetooth range of any OTHER users who have the app installed you will receive a GPS update of where your item was last seen – wherever that is.
Given the size of the industry, the widespread implementation of this technology by power tool companies has the ability to stop, or at least radically reduce tool theft.
In a nutshell:
- DeWALT XR®2.0Ah and 5.0Ah 18V batteries with Bluetooth® connectivity.
- Fast and simple pairing of smartphone featuring DeWALT Tool CONNECT™ app (within 30m).
- Intuitive and clear interface for simple inventory management and reduced downtime.
- Ability to disable batteries when stolen, out of range, or upon expiry of a loan.
- Customisable alerts to notify user of battery condition and state of charge.
- Access to manuals and Service Agent information.