For $8 a month, this company will track your tools – Stacey on IoT

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A few months ago we had some tree work done on our property, and while here the crew left behind a water bottle, a rake and a chainsaw. When we called to let them know, they weren’t concerned about the water bottle and the rake; yet it was worth it for them to come and get the chainsaw. What if we hadn’t called?

It’s possible that such valuable equipment could be deemed lost, costing the company money and—until it buys another chainsaw—productivity. Preventing equipment from being lost and/or finding it once it has been is one of the reasons companies are interested in asset tracking services. But the current process and business model associated with trackers can make it difficult to track anything other than the most expensive items, such as cars or large equipment. So a company called Momentum IoT is hoping to bring that price down.

The Toolie device costs $8 a month and is the size of a quarter. Image courtesy of Momentum IoT.

Momentum IoT, a SaaS-based asset tracking company based in Long Beach, Calif., has created Toolie, a small device that attaches to customer equipment and works in conjunction with the company’s car-based cellular gateway. company, known as Eagle One. . To date, customers install an Eagle One in their trucks to track their fleet of vehicles. They can now use it to extend their tracking capabilities to the Toolie.

The Toolie is about the size of a quarter and uses Bluetooth to talk to the Eagle One. It also contains an accelerometer which can be used to indicate when someone is using a tool. The combination of tool tracking and usage data opens up a bunch of use cases for customers. According to Momentum CEO Justin Silva, the Toolie has been in beta testing for three months and he’s already impressed with some of the use cases people have come up with.

For example, a client in the landscaping industry uses the Toolie to track employee productivity in different jobs, then rewards the top performers (and probably rejects the worst, although in this job market that seems like little likely.) The customer can see when tools such as a lawn mower, edger and blower are unloaded from the truck and how long each is used, as well as how long it takes to get to each job. Tracking which tools are used when also helps the customer to better pace jobs, as some tools are not used until the end of an engagement.

David Clifford, the COO of Turfmaster Lawn Maintenance Inc. in Indianapolis, told me he uses Toolies to make sure the right tools for the job are on a truck when the truck comes out. He can also use them to see if anything happened to stop a job so he can go out and check on the crew. Most importantly, he appreciates the devices because they help him show his clients that his crew was where they were supposed to be, on time, and doing the job they hired Turfmaster to do.

Many of his clients are municipal entities, and he is constantly battling competitors who try to disparage his work in hopes of securing the public contract for themselves. But with the documentation provided by the software, it can defuse these accusations with data. He also plans to use Toolies to track necessary maintenance. As he told me, since he can use a Toolie to track how many hours a piece of equipment has been running, he can easily see what needs to be serviced at the same time.

“To be able to make money these days, you’ll need to be better at understanding your business and analyzing data,” Clifford told me. Given the pressures of the labor market and the almost market nature of the landscaping industry, it is not enough to just show up and get a job done.

Clifford currently has seven Toolies. He affixed them to snow removal equipment, lawn mowers, snowblowers and some heavy earthmoving equipment. And he’s sure the more things he can track, the more he can improve his operations, so he’s excited to see the costs come down even more.

Clifford pays $12 per month for the Eagle One devices in his fleet and $8 per month for each Toolie, which is less than what his former fleet tracking company charged him. The previous provider charged him for the devices for his cars as well as a $15 per month service fee, but he is now backing out of that business. The all-SaaS model is also a plus for Clifford.

Silva told me that the all-SaaS model is a big differentiator for Momentum. Each Toolie device will have a battery life of approximately two years, and when the main software sees that the battery is getting low, the customer will receive a notification and Momentum will ship a new Toolie. The Toolie’s payback, Silva said, is very quick.

I like the model. I also like the idea of ​​a future where you can track smaller and smaller tools used in lawn care, construction, building cleaning, and other use cases. Many companies providing these services are small, so the ability to easily extract data from their equipment could really help them compete with larger operations or, at the very least, reduce costs in the face of inflation.

This is where the IoT can shine, using cheap connected devices, cloud analytics and data to make the invisible visible.


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