Bosch has come out with the TrackTag (Europe model no. GCC 30), a Bluetooth module that you attach to your tools, tool boxes, or other such things. When paired with their paid subscription TrackMyTools app, you get wireless tool tracking!
Since the TrackTag is an add-on device, and not an entirely different tool that you would need to buy, you should be able to use it with any of your current Bosch tools – as well as other brands’ tools.
The Bosch TrackTag is small – about 34 mm x 32 mm (~1.34″ x 1.26″), and weighs just 18 grams (~0.635 ounces). They’re 13 mm thick, or ~ 1/2″
Bosch TrackTags transmit a low energy Bluetooth signal every 8 seconds. The Bosch app on your smartphone or tablet will can pick up the signal when you’re within a range of 30 meters, or 100 feet, of the tool.
For each piece of equipment that’s picked up by the app, your smart device will then send location information to Bosch’s servers, in addition to time data, and user data.
The new technology also allows for supervisors and inventory managers to keep track of tools and equipment at all times.
Once a TrackTag is attached to a tool, there’s a one-time registration process, where a user manually enters the details of the tool and equipment that’s paired to a particular tag.
Software capabilities allow users to locate misplaced tools, report tool failures so that servicing or a replacement can be arranged, and check to see which tools a colleague might be using.
Bosch TrackTag modules:
- 10 for €149 (~$166 USD)
- 50 for €759 (~$846)
- 100 for €1490 (~$1661)
Conversion rate was 1 Euro = $1.11 USD at the time of this posting.
The quantity pricing is a little odd. Given Bosch’s published pricing, you spend more on a 50-pack than you would on 5x 10-packs, and packs of 100 modules won’t save you any money compared to buying a bunch of 10-packs. That’s unusual.
The TrackMyTool app requires a subscription package:
- Basic, up to 100 modules, for €30/mo, €25/mo with 12-month contract
- Smart, up to 250 modules, for €73/mo, €59/mo with 12-month contract
- Plus, up to 400 modules, for €110/mo, €93/mo with 12-month contract
- Premium, up to 400 modules, contact Bosch for a quote
So that’s nearly $17 a tag and $33 per month unless you opt for the 12-month contract.
There is no per-user charge, meaning the basic package of €30 a month remains the same whether you have 2 users, 10 users, or 50 users, or any number of users, who can access the web and mobile apps.
I cannot see any reason why TrackTag use might be limited to just Bosch tools, but keep in mind that there might be some physical incompatibilities or limitations.
For instance, I haven’t a clue as to where you could attach a TrackTag on Bosch’s 12V LED worklight. On the other hand, there are multiple places on Bosch’s larger and more pricier power tools where the TrackTag could be attached out of the way.
TrackTags come with a 2-part epoxy, meaning they’ll become a permanent, or at least nearly-permanent part of your tool.
There’s also an accessory pack, GCA 30-9, which comes with 10 corded tool adapters. This allows the TrackTags to be securely attached to the power cords instead. The pack of 10 is priced at €14 (~$15.50).
Each TrackTag comes with a CR2032 button cell battery, which is estimated to last up to 3 years. They’re also dust and waterproof, with an IP 67 rating.
- Web app is compatible with Windows, Linux, MacOS
- Mobile web app is compatible with Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer
- Mobile app is available for iOS 7 and Android 4.3, and above
ETA: Oct 2015
There have been a few other “smart tool” developments recently. First, Bosch came out with a wireless charging system – which we reviewed here. It’s a neat system that is mainly designed for their cordless drills and drivers.
More recently, Dewalt has come out with new Bluetooth-connected batteries. You can read more about them in our Dewalt 20V Max 2015 media event coverage. Dewalt’s Bluetooth Tool Connect system allows for battery pack charge monitoring and lock-out controls, and might just be the tip of the iceberg.
Since the Bosch TrackTag is an add-on that is only physically connected to a tool, and not a part of a tool itself, it is simply a tracking device. Lock-out controls simply won’t be possible. In other words, you’ll know when a tool goes missing, but that’s the limit of what you can do. You will have information about where, when, and maybe who used it last, but that’s about it.
Then again, this is a simple tracking device with no bells and whistles that you don’t need. You don’t need to buy whole new batteries, you don’t need to buy brand new premium tools. You simply buy some modules, attach them to your tools, and pay for a service package.
I’m not sure how I feel about a paid service package. Maybe the service package allows for lower pricing, or maybe even subsidized pricing, of the TrackTag modules. Maybe there will be specials where you pay for a year of service and get a certain number of TrackTag units for free. I had really assumed that the app would be free.
While not a completely novel idea, this is the first jobsite-ready and professional power tool tracking system that I’ve come across.