Bosch GPS Tracking for Power Tools – It’s Coming!
Here I was, perusing the World of Concrete website in preparation for next month’s show and what do I see? Bosch GPS tracking on a power tool. Wait, what???
Yes – GPS TRACKING! It’s finally on the way!
Here’s what we know so far: the Bosch GPS25-4 Retrofit Tracking Module is going to be available as a retrofit to all current Bosch SDS-Max hammers (10 models). The new Bosch GSH27-26 Brute Turbo Breaker Hammer will have it as standard equipment.
Bosch GPS Tracking – How it Works
Bosch GPS tracking is the first of its kind. That’s pretty obvious considering the number of times we’ve heard “when will they have GPS?” when talking about Milwaukee’s Tick and One-Key or DeWalt’s Tool Connect systems. So far, connecting to a mesh network via Bluetooth is the best the industry has done.
GPS – Global Positioning System – is a far better way to track tools since you don’t have to be within spitting distance of your phone for a connection. But the issue is power. GPS drains batteries quickly. Take my Garmin watch for example. I get 5 – 7 days worth of battery out of it with normal smartwatch use. Turn on GPS to track a workout and I’m down to 10 hours. That’s why manufacturers are taking so long to bring GPS tracking to cordless tools.
But Bosch GPS tracking is attached to corded models so the power problem isn’t as big of an issue. Both the new breaker hammer and retrofit module run on a lithium-ion battery that will give you months of tracking thanks to recharging when you plug the tool in.
If GPS coverage lapses, the chip reverts to cell coverage. Presumably, that’s the cell coverage on your phone, so it will need to be close enough to the tool to connect. We’ll get clarification on that point as soon as we can.
Bosch GPS tracking is more than just the tracker, though. It takes smart tool technology to make it happen and Bosch is taking advantage of it. A couple of additional benefits you’ll see include non-working hour activation and non-authorized location alerts. You’ll get a notification on your smartphone so you can take immediate action.
What Bosch Says
“If you’re running a jobsite, you need to know where key assets are all the time. The Bosch Brute Turbo Breaker Hammer with GPS along with any Bosch SDS-max hammer featuring GPS retrofit represent important concrete demolition and drilling tools. These tools offer the performance users have come to expect from Bosch with an added layer of security.”
– Daniel Dietsche, product manager, Robert Bosch Tool Corporation
So far, every app we’ve seen from the major manufacturers has been free to use. It’s a different story with Bosch GPS tracking, though. During the first 12 months of ownership, tracking is free. After that, you’ll need to pay $9.99 per month or $99 per year for tracking to continue. While Bosch’s press release isn’t clear, we’re assuming that you pay just once for all your GPS tracking devices rather than for each one. We’ll be sure to get some clarification on that front.
For a single tool, that might be a bit much to add to the price of a heavy-duty breaker. But if you’re running a crew with 5 or 500 of these tools running around, the cost savings in keeping track of all your tools adds up with each theft or misplacement it recovers from.
There is no pricing information available to give us an idea of what the GPS retrofit or premium on the hammer will be.
I thought we were still a year or two away from viable GPS tracking on power tools, but Bosch GPS tracking just made my Christmas early. Adding the system to corded tools that are already expensive enough to justify the upgrade is a brilliant way to step into this space. And for now, Bosch is the only one in it.
The subscription fee to use GPS tracking after the first year is a necessary evil to break the tether to your smartphone. My Garmin doesn’t require a subscription, but it can’t transmit the data it collects without tethering to my Kyocera DuraForce Pro. That’s the cost of notification anytime, anywhere.
There’s clearly a lot of innovation that takes place from one year to the next in the tool industry. Sometimes it’s an incremental step forward. Other times, it’s a much larger accomplishment. The first GPS-enabled power tools represent a massive jump ahead in theft prevention and recovery. Without a doubt, it’s one of the most exciting developments of the entire year!