Bosch connectivity for easy inventory management

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Bosch connectivity for easy inventory management

  • Andreas Rieger
    Andreas Rieger Executive Director Internal Operations, IT & Project Management, designaffairs

Internet of Things – when designing and developing Bosch’s TrackMyTools we created a professional application, to manage large toolkits and connect them via GPS and Bluetooth.

Bosch TrackMyTools provides you with a current overview of your tools at any time.

The Internet of Things for Craft Businesses

In close collaboration with the world Power Tools market leader, Bosch, we connected tools with the Internet, and by doing so, developed an optimal service for craft businesses. Since October 2015, the digital inventory management system, TrackMyTools, has enabled Bosch-branded and third-party devices to communicate through smartphones, tablets and PCs and to be managed online via Bluetooth and GPS. Inventory managers are able to have visibility over their operational inventories, and access to all relevant data at any time. The development of this solution focused on client and user needs, which were explored in customer surveys and on-site observations. Our Service Blueprint helped cluster and prioritize features in the front- and back-end of the system. This made virtual operations in the abstract world of the Internet of Things easily perceptible and usable for craftsmen and storekeepers.

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The Bosch inventory management system is tailored for the specific needs of craft businesses and automates manual activities as a digital butler.

Localization through Bluetooth and Cloud. | Photo by Robert Bosch GmbH
Localization through Bluetooth and Cloud. | Photo by Robert Bosch GmbH

Digital Connectivity: Tools 4.0

With TrackMyTools we created an intelligent system, that supports craft businesses in efficiently distributing valuable tool inventories as required, and optimally coordinating workload, availability and maintenance. Manual, error-prone, activities are avoided through automatic functions. Craftsmen now know where their devices are at any time and will be informed which tools are missing, to help them meet the requirements of daily-changing tasks on-site. As a result, TrackMyTools saves time, optimizes workflows and sustainably increases the productivity of medium-sized craft businesses. The highly automatic system takes the role of a ‘virtual tool-belt’ for craftsmen and inventory managers.

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Bosch Power Tools made an innovative contribution to the group’s positioning as important player in the field of the Internet of things, by establishing the solution set TrackMyTools.

Agile Processes for Innovation and Speed

In 2014, we were commissioned to support Bosch Power Tools in expanding its IoT ecosystem and portfolio. The aim of this software and service solution was to strengthen customer loyalty through newly-added value. Tools, vehicles and teams of craftsmen are interconnected, for more efficient admin and intelligent maintenance, whereby everyday problems are smart-solved in the background. Together with Bosch Power Tools, we shaped a vision based on an initial idea and developed a strategy to guarantee a short development time and a fast, successful market launch. In the proof-of-concept phase particularly, designaffairs took a leading role in agile, iterative software development. Throughout the user-centered design process we ensured that the technical possibilities were realized according to identified user needs, and that all new features provided added value.

Making virtual connectivity perceptible

When introducing new service concepts, the challenge is always to make abstract interactions between users and technical systems more tangible and accessible. With that in mind, we provided visualizations of touchpoints as well as personas, customer journeys and experience maps. Alongside prototypes, screen designs for mobile and web applications, visual guidelines and user interface kits, we also delivered usability concepts for the implementation of the tracking tags on the devices, consisting of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) modules. In order to prevent any feeling of loss of control and trust due to virtual processes running in the background, we designed interactions that connect physical elements, such as BLE-modules, seamlessly with virtual processes and applications. To top everything off, we designed the user experience with an “end-of-work mode” which enables the user to consciously log off the interconnected system as required.

Managing the inventory by connecting whatever you want to track. | Photo by Robert Bosch GmbH
Managing the inventory by connecting whatever you want to track. | Photo by Robert Bosch GmbH

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