Milwaukee Tool introduced an entirely new high-tech way to tap into the capabilities of its power tools, perhaps the most high-touch of products, at its annual New Products Symposium, June 16-17.
ONE-KEY™ is the company’s brand name for a customized Cloud-based program allows tradesmen and company personnel unparalleled access to control, document and share performance metrics easily over the web.
“I can tell you that five years ago, I didn’t think my mobile phone would ever be more than a phone, a calendar and email,” said Christian Coulis, vice president of product management during an evening presentation that opened the event and focused solely on ONE-KEY. “And today it’s that but so much more. It’s your camera, video camera, travel itenarary, checkbook, financial planner and social chair. It’s everything you want at the touch of your fingers.”
That last phrase used by Coulis goes a long way to describe this digital platform for jobsite tools.
Eventually, contractors will be able to use ONE-KEY to customize just how much power a tool delivers and save that setting for later; his boss can use ONE-KEY to provide information to building managers regarding critical installations; meanwhile, the boss’s boss can inventory the tools and, finally, everyone can seamlessly synch all this information in a matter of seconds to share on smart phones, laptops, tablets or deskbound computers up and down the chain of command.
“ONE-KEY serves needs from all spectrums of users– from one guy who wants to control his tool to the output that he needs to the company that’s trying to manage hundreds or thousands of assets and hundreds or thousands of touch points of information,” Coulis added.
We did say “eventually,” however, since the manufacturer will be rolling out its three general features over the coming months.
Inventory Management: This will be the first component of ONE-KEY to come out later this year in September.
From Coulis’ perspective, this will take care of the manila folder stuffed with crumpled receipts. Or the traditional computerized spreadsheet that is difficult to update while in the field.
“Managing inventory is a critical matter for any successful business,” Coulis explained. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s a one-man shop or a company with thousands of contractors and tools spread throughout a city.”
ONE-KEY will create a central place for users to keep detailed records all their tools and equipment – even non-Milwaukee brands. With this capability, managers can assign locations or specific owners to each tool, provide accountability and create easy information-sharing from multiple jobsites back to office administration.
Tool Reporting: Next up in October will be this component that will enable users to easily share data and history in order to create customer reports.
“With one key we can tap into the brain of a tool, download all the information from its applications, synchronize it, share it and create official documentation in the matter of a couple of seconds,” Coulis explained.
The ONE-KEY program will also help track tools use and service intervals.
Tool Control: No doubt the coolest component of ONE-KEY will be added in January. The ONE-KEY app, which will be available to download in September for Android and IOS devices, allows users all sorts of control on tools from presets to completely customized profiles for individual torque and speed settings. Contractors can quickly do this with the app, which communicates through a Bluetooth signal.
“ONE-KEY is going to provide the ability to customize and connect tools for the first and let your readers set up the tool the way they want, the way that’s most productive for their needs,” Coulis explained.
A few caveats: The Tool Reporting function will only be available on the company’s new M18 FUEL FORCE LOGIC 6T Utility Crimper.
Also, the Tool Control function will only be active on the company’s new line of M18 FUEL drilling and driving products.
“If you think about the number of fasteners that require different speeds and torques,” Coulis said, “or the amount of repetitive applications that our users experience on a daily basis, there are hundreds of different tool profiles and setups that can be implemented. Tool Control will give users infinite customization capabilities for various applications, allowing them to make small teaks that make a huge difference.”
In his remarks at the show, however, Coulis also mentioned that the ONE-KEY announcement is just beginning and that contractors should expect to see rapid expansion of the program not just in terms of the types of products with these enhanced capabilities, but also additional services that can be further tied into this digital service network.