There’s no shortage of “transformative” technologies on the market. On a daily basis, you probably see dozens of ads and sales emails all claiming to have the digital solution that will transform the way that you do business. Sound about right?
But the truth is, only a small fraction of these solutions are actually right for your business. These are the solutions that integrate well with current work processes and technologies and can deliver an immediate return on your investment.
Across the construction, infrastructure, and energy industries, the most sought-after benefits are those that can improve quality, make work safer and more sustainable, and increase productivity. The winning solutions are often those that can provide one or more of those benefits with simple implementation and demonstrable impact.
Bluetooth-connected electronic tools are a rare technology that checks all three boxes, improving safety, quality, and productivity. And that’s just the beginning. Through their connectivity with apps, databases, and sensors, Bluetooth-connected tools allow sites to finally connect the worker with the workforce using IoT technology.
But first, let’s start with the basics. Namely, what exactly is a Bluetooth-connected tool?
What Are Bluetooth-Connected Tools?
Bluetooth-connected tools are the next generation of power tools. They are essentially a digital version of a regular tool (such as a wrench or a drill) that uses a combination of sensors and radios to enable connectivity.
By providing the tool with the functionality to connect to other devices, Bluetooth-connected tools offer a laundry list of use cases.
One popular use case for Bluetooth-connected tools is the ability to register and record manual work data. This allows teams to digitally track exactly what work has been done and when it was completed (a lifesaver in the case of an audit).
Additionally, many Bluetooth-connected tools also allow users to digitally set target values. This helps field workers using these tools to automatically conduct work to exact project specifications.
For example, imagine a worker is tasked with tightening the bolts for a critical electrical connection. The project engineering plans specify exactly what the target torque value is for each bolt, and those target values are sent to the tool by a connected app. The tool records the actual torque value achieved, confirms those values match the specifications, and transmits that information to a connected quality control system in real time—no more risk of over or under-tightening.
The implications for this application of Bluetooth-connected tools are massive. In addition to streamlining overall project productivity, it also ensures the work is done correctly every time. This prevents safety, quality, and sustainability issues from occurring down the road.
Manufacturers like Hilti, Hytorc, Norbar, Snap-On and WIKA all provide a suite of Bluetooth-connected tools with varying functionality based on your project’s needs. For more information, view our list of Bluetooth-connected tool compatibility.
Benefits of Using Bluetooth-Connected Tools
For industries like construction, infrastructure, and energy, the critical nature of the work being conducted leaves zero room for error. Even the smallest mistake can result in a dangerous safety problem or environmental damage. Especially in the midst of a global labor shortage, it’s important to identify meaningful ways to use technology to reduce exposure to risk.
That’s where Bluetooth-connected digital tools can offer a world of value. They take one of the most unpredictable, opaque parts of manual work and transform it into a precise, transparent process.
- Improve Manual Work Quality. Setting Bluetooth-connected tools to target values ensures that the work is done exactly to specification, removing room for error and improving work quality. Additionally, connecting your tools to the right platform enables you to store extensive quality data in the event of an audit.
- Increase Productivity for Field and Office Teams. In addition to improving productivity for field workers, Bluetooth-connected tools also increase productivity among quality personnel. With digital work records, quality personnel can increase their bandwidth by checking work status and quality digitally.
- Decrease Leaks and Support Sustainability. By automatically conducting work according to project specifications, leak rates can be reduced by as much as 100 times. Plus, digital work records reduce the need for paper work completions.
When considered together, these tangible benefits can make a real impact on projects. By proactively helping to avoid rework, manual work can occur as planned—enabling a project that is on-time and on-budget.
Implementing Bluetooth-Connected Tools On Your Project
One of the most common objections to implementing Bluetooth-connected tools on a project is: “It’s too challenging and time-consuming to teach our workers how to use a complicated new tool.” Unfortunately, this aversion to implementing new technologies has become a theme in the industry.
The good news is that Bluetooth-connected tools are actually one of the easier new technologies to implement. The user interface is very intuitive, and high-resolution displays make it easy to control the tool’s preferences. And since they come equipped with Bluetooth technology, performing firmware upgrades are quick and painless.
Additionally, Generation Z and Millennials are now entering the workforce at unprecedented rates. These tech-savvy generations can quickly and easily learn how to use new technologies that integrate into their everyday work activities. Further, the use of these technologies is often a selling point from a recruiting perspective.
One of the best ways to see if Bluetooth-connected tools are right for your project is to start with an innovation pilot. Let the results and data from the pilot be the determining factor for whether these tools should be implemented on a more widespread basis. Ensure that you set concrete goals for the pilot to make the next steps clearer to management based on results.
It’s important to call out that the cost for Bluetooth-connected digital tools is higher than their traditional counterparts. This is largely due to the added cost and complexity of manufacturing tools with digital connectivity. However, the benefits that are achieved (as outlined in the previous section) far outweigh the added tool cost. After a team makes the switch, we often see a positive return on investment in a matter of months.
The Future of Bluetooth-Connected Tools
As the appetite and investment in infrastructure, energy, and construction projects continues to expand, so too does the pressure on mission-critical personnel. Now more than ever, projects must implement the right processes to adhere to stringent quality, safety and sustainability standards. With the current volume of work coupled with the global worker shortage, a more proactive (and speedy) implementation of digital technologies is needed.
Bluetooth-connected tools are the next big step on the path to an industrial digital transformation. With a broad set of applications and a triple threat of benefits, this versatile technology is exactly the boost that many projects need.
Schedule a demo to learn more about exactly how Bluetooth-connected tools can be used to benefit your project.