Over in Europe, Bosch just issued a press release that basically says they’re working on a new system of Bluetooth-connected power tools that users can customize via a smartphone app.
The press release is very strange, so let’s break it down the relevant parts piece by piece.
Customizable by app:
Bosch networks power tools
Additional new “Connectivity” products for professionals
- Networking of power tool and smartphone by Bluetooth
- Customized configuration of tool settings by app
- Access by Bosch Toolbox App
- Integrable Bluetooth module compatible with “TrackMyTools”
Okay, so they’re basically coming out with power tools that connect to smartphones and apps via Bluetooth, and the tools will allow for user customizations.
Sounds a lot like Milwaukee’s One-Key tools.
Bosch is continuing to build its expertise in networked power tools for professionals: professionals will in future be able to custom configure their tools by app with the aid of an integrable Bluetooth module.
Ah, so Bosch isn’t coming out with any connected tools so quickly. Right now they’re “building their expertise,” which to me means “we’re still working on it.”
It seems to me that Bosch is responding to Milwaukee One-Key, something I expect Dewalt to be doing by now, but their solution isn’t ready yet.
For the first time, this technology is being brought to market in combination with the new cordless drill/drivers and combi drills.
The long-term goal is to network all professional power tools by Bosch and, thus, to offer users an even higher level of convenience and transparency – and to increase their productivity.
For the first time? Wasn’t Milwaukee first with One-Key?
Bosch aims to network ALL of their professional power tools? That’s good news, but I wonder – will there be separate models, or will the cost be absorbed into the prices of all their tools?
After the Bluetooth module has been inserted into the tool and activated, the module automatically connects to the tool. Professionals can then couple their smartphone using the “MyConnectedTools” function of the extended Bosch Toolbox App, and access their tool settings.
Wait a second. After the Bluetooth module is inserted into a tool and activated? So… users will be able to retrofit their existing Bosch tools to make them connectable and customizable? Will this be done at a Bosch service center or Bosch facility, or will there be a thin adapter of some kind that potentially bridges the tool and battery?
We’ve seen that Dewalt programs their drills and impact drivers through the battery connection, and presumably the same is true for their other 20V Max tools that require programming. Will these Bosch modules slip between a tool and its battery? And if so, will it be there for programming, or whenever the tool is used?
Thanks to the integrable Bluetooth module, the professional can decide whether and when to network his tool and utilize the additional Connectivity functions. To use the networking function, the tool first has to be created using “MyConnectedTools”. The professional can then access all available tool information and see the status of the tool using the smartphone.
Oh, okay, users can decide whether and when to make their tools connectable.
WAIT. So does this mean that you just need one module that you can use for different tools? Oh, nevermind, you have to create tools and profiles in the app, which are probably tied to the Bluetooth module and not the connected tools.
Still… this would mean that you could buy a tool you need, and then make it “networkable” and customizable later on if the need arises. That’s better than having to buy a whole new tool. But does it mean you can pass the module to another tool if the need for a certain tool to be customizable is only temporary?
Furthermore, it is possible to customize a number of tool settings, such as the initiation point of “KickBack Control”. The user also receives important information for problem recognition and hints for troubleshooting, e.g. in case of overheating of a motor, electronics or battery pack.
That sounds good, but what about speed control, and things like that? Does that require a brushless motor? Clutch settings? I guess that requires an electronic clutch, as opposed to a traditional mechanical one.
The user’s settings are stored and are again available after reconnecting the tool with the smartphone. Bosch thus offers professionals a user-friendly “Connectivity” solution for controlling, customizing and networking their power tools.
The Bluetooth module is also compatible with “TrackMyTools”, the cloud-based Bosch system for managing and localizing workshop equipment.
That first part makes sense. That second part about tool tracking – that brings to mind the Bosch TrackTag hardware. I’m guessing that the Bosch TrackTag externally-attachable Bluetooth tracking module might have been the springboard for this new program?
As a reminder, Bosch’s TrackMyTools service requires a paid subscription. The MyConnectedTools add-on to the Bosch ToolBox app is said to be free, and will be available for both Android and iOS devices.
The first tools with integrable Bluetooth module will be available at Bosch stockists from the fall of 2016. These are cordless drill/drivers and combi drills as well as a cordless 18 volt lamp.
Okay, so tools with integrated Bluetooth modules will be available starting in the Fall of 2016, but what about that part where Bosch says their goal is for all of their professional tools to be “networked?”
And what does the part that talks about how after the Bluetooth module has been inserted into the tool and activated? Am I understanding this wrong, or does this really suggest some kind of retrofit kit? And if so, will there be different modules for different tools, or will the app be smart enough to make a tool appropriately customizable based on its model number?
I’ve got so many questions, and more are popping up as I continue to digest this information. But I am also very eager and excited to see how this new Bosch initiative develops.