Hilti is a global leader in providing products and services to the construction industry. According to construction professionals around the globe the Liechtenstein based company manufactures the most durable power tools in the world. They are built to tolerate harsh weather, dust and heavy use. Subsequently, Hilti chooses only suppliers that can deliver the same top notch quality.
At the same time, Hilti offers much more than just tools and has now also introduced IoT (Internet of Things) technology to expand its service offering to its customers. The company launched Hilti Connect early this summer – an app that allows its customers to identify and manage tools from their smartphone. The service utilizes NFC technology provided by Confidex.
NFC (Near Field Communications) technology‘s user base grew rapidly this year as Apple gave developers access to the NFC chip in Apple’s newest iPhone models and Apple watches. The fact at NFC functionality is now in more and more people’s pockets, is also the reason why Hilti chose NFC as a primary technology in taking its customer experience to the next level.
”Confidex had already proved to be fair and highly flexible partner as they supplied RFID tags for the Hilti ON!Track asset management tool. Also, they are known for extremely robust NFC tags”, Ewald Kaluscha, Program Manager for the Connected Tools program at Hilti, tells.
Hilti has always been known to provide the best tool services to its customers and the company continuously strives to take it to the next level.
”In the past, when a Hilti tool was broken on a jobsite, the customer would have to call our service hotline or dedicated sales representative to arrange a pick-up and repair service. For that, they still needed the tool model and serial number. Providing these details on the spot could take some time, especially if the tool’s rating plate and serial number was worn off, due to heavy usage”, Kaluscha explains.
”We soon realized that if we could help our customers reliably identify any Hilti tool and offer them tool-specific information and service, regardless were their jobsites were, then we would help them be more productive.”
People are already familiar with NFC
”It was clear that we needed to create a simple, easy-to-use solution that did not require a new device. Everyone has a smartphone these days, so why not make use of them?” Jussi Silfver, Product Owner for Hilti Connect, explains.
To connect the tools with the smartphone, Hilti chose NFC technology provided by Confidex.
”Most of our customers are already familiar with NFC technology as it is part of our daily lives. It’s in our credit cards, traveling cards or in cordless ear plugs. A completely new technology would be much harder to demonstrate to our customers”, Silfver explains and continues:
”However, the major step forward for NFC is definitely that the two largest smartphone platforms, iOS and Android, are now both using it and we expect NFC usage to increase further in the near future.”
Hilti customers save time and money
Hilti Connect is a free service for all customers. They simply need to download the app on their smartphone. All new Hilti tools have the NFC technology built in. The NFC chip is placed inside the tool and it doesn’t wear off even in harsh weather conditions or when subjected to heavy wear. Hilti customers can easily retrofit their old tools at Hilti repair centers with the NFC technology.
”When a jobsite manager places his smartphone on the tool, the Hilti Connect app informs them instantly about the model and serial number, the entire repair history as well as the warranty service coverage. Also training videos, operating instructions or tool-related accessories are readily available with just a touch of their fingertip. Users can also request a repair pick-up service for the tool wherever they are”, Kaluscha continues.
Once customers experience how easy it is to use the app, they convert immediately.
”It is an effortless way to show how this new technology can help digitalize the tool repair process. And our customers find this service very helpful.” Kaluscha says.
To Confidex, NFC is one of the key technologies of today and tomorrow. Paul Broekhuizen, Executive Vice President of Confidex Smart Industries, tells: “Confidex is committed to design and manufacture high quality NFC products in cooperation with our partners and we see it as one of the growing technologies making industrial markets smarter and more efficient”.
The custom designed Confidex NFC label connects the Hilti power tool with the Hilti Connect app
Continuous development together with customers
When the Hilti Connect app was launched, it quickly surpassed 20.000 downloads. Today, it is a fast-growing solution that is continuously being improved.
”As we sell directly to our customers, without any intermediary, we get instant customer feedback, which helps us to develop Hilti Connect further. We use agile software development to improve the features of the app and try to react to customer feedback very quickly.” Silfver states.
Kaluscha continues: ”Our customers and our development teams are very creative and so we are able to draw from a vast pool of ideas for future software releases. It is an exciting journey and the only limit is our imagination.”
Timo Lindström, CEO of Confidex, is convinced that using wireless technologies, like NFC, RFID and Bluetooth, can make the difference in competitive markets: “Hilti is a frontrunner in the power tools industry, using NFC for tool management and improving their services and customer satisfaction. We are very excited to serve them and to innovate together with our customers.”
Confidex is the world’s leading supplier of high-performing contactless smart tickets, industrial RFID tags and specialty labels – the key enablers for short-range wireless IoT solutions that make supply chains, transactions and authentication of goods or people more efficient and secure. With our global network of resellers and distributors, we serve customers representing a broad range of industries in Europe, Americas, Middle-East and Asia.
The Hilti Group supplies the worldwide construction industry with technologically leading products, systems, software and services that provide construction professionals with innovative solutions and superior added value. The Group employs more than 25,000 team members in over 120 countries who passionately create enthusiastic customers and build a better future. Hilti generated annual sales of CHF 4.6 billion in 2016. Hilti’s corporate culture is based on integrity, teamwork, commitment and the courage to embrace change. The headquarters of the Hilti Group are located in Schaan, Liechtenstein.
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