We have seen plenty of “smart tools” in recent years, some good, and some quite clumsy.
I recently posted about how tools are getting smarter, but I was more referring to subtleties in existing products, and many of the minor optimizations that live beneath the surface.
REEKON Tools successfully delivered a digital miter saw measurement device, and their T1 Tomahawk digital tape measure is set to ship later this year.
The M1 Caliber miter saw accessory is now available at Amazon, Home Depot, and other retailers. The T1 Tomahawk saw a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, with 11,274 backers pledging more than $2.5M to help bring the product to fruition.
Christian Reed, of REEKON Tools, shared his views on the types of tools many of us associate with the terms “digital tools,” “smart tools,” or “connected tools.”
His comment was submitted in reply to a ToolGuyd post, but I felt it to be interesting enough to share in a more visible manner with its own post.
I feel that this statement sheds light on the approach Reed and REEKON Tools have taken with their own products, at the least.
Please keep in mind that, although Reed was aware his comment would be publicly visible, the statement wasn’t intended to be quoted in this manner. I have not given Reed the opportunity to modify his words, but asked and was given his permission to quote him in this manner.
I added line breaks for easier readability.
Digitizing traditional (generally analog) measuring tools has countless benefits for the job-site and trades professionals ranging from error reduction to completely new capabilities.
However, it is critically important (and generally the shortcoming of many new companies working in the space) that both new technology and robustness are combined into the end product.
Many of these more ‘modern’ tool innovations focus too much on technology and borrow design language from Nest/Apple/Amazon vs where they should be from Dewalt/Milwaukee/Hilti, who have perfected robustness over the past several decades (aluminum dings up a lot easer when dropped as opposed to rubber overmolding).
If a product is designed to look good next to a MacBook computer, is it really believable that it would survive being thrown in a toolbox on the jobsite? This destines many of these products to fall much more into the category of “Sharper Image/Skymall” vs professional jobsite tools.
At REEKON Tools, when we set out to make our T1 Tomahawk Digital Tape Measure, a central tenant for our engineering team was “you cannot have a great digital tape measure until it is first a great tape measure;” highlighting its need to perform well next to a [Stanley] FatMax or [Milwaukee] STUD before the digital benefits could be fully appreciated. This philosophy stemmed to all aspects of the development process, from the drop ability of the tool to the replaceable tape measure blade.
Jobsite durability, combined with high technology, is a key component of introducing new professional tools that will actually be used by professional tradespeople.