Milwaukee Tool: Smart Apps Mean Smarter Tools

On June 8, BuiltWorlds was invited by Milwaukee Tool to spend the day in an abandoned Ace Hardware facility near downtown Milwaukee WI, previewing the power tool maker’s newest products. While our hosts did deliver some exciting, level-breaking demonstrations (literally), the most captivating product they shared was One-Key.

Launched in September 2015, One-Key became the first-ever digital tool-managing platform. It began as a way for users to log their inventory and budget their equipment spending. After five months, Milwaukee Tool released its first line of products that synced wirelessly with One-Key, allowing consumers to do something truly innovative — actually communicate with their tools.

At the New Product Symposium, Milwaukee Tool unveiled the newest addition to its One-Key family — the Sawzall. Using the One-Key-enabled M18 Fuel Sawzall, one demonstration showed the true value of setting customization. By tailoring the cut speed and trigger ramp-up, he not only cut through an entire steel pipe with one blade but the teeth of the blade appeared untouched.

In March of this year, the manufacturer upgraded its tool-managing technology with an app update that allows users to track their One-Key integrated inventory. So, in practice, if a device connected to the app was lost or stolen, the user can report that through the app and even lock or disable it until it can be recovered.

Milwaukee Tool’s Evan Berns shared one real-life story to show just how valuable tool tracking can be. Not even three months after the new update, a California “man-in-a-truck” was able to recover $20,000 worth of stolen equipment simply because two of his tools were One-Key-enabled.

But the tool maker doesn’t plan to stop there. Product manager Steve Matson said it “is kind of the dream” to one day get One-Key technology to work with BIM software. “There is a lot of value this program can give on the tool and equipment side of things, so we do see some future integration with BIM as it gains traction in the US markets,” he predicted.

For now, Milwaukee Tool stands alone as the only player in the industry with a product like One-Key. When competitors do jump in, even better. Because when there’s more competition, the consumer always wins.