Trackunit Kin enables all site assets and equipment to be connected and managed using a single app. Construction Plant News Editor, Lee Jones investigates
Tag it, track it, done – as messages go that’s pretty simple, and it represents the guiding principle of a product that promises to take asset tracking to the next level. Trackunit Kin is designed to make many more tools and attachments visible to owners and fleet managers through proven Bluetooth 5.2 technology, and by harnessing the power and reach of the company’s already highly successful Manager telematics platform and Go mobile resource.
The hardware itself is a simple, robust and entirely maintenance-free 53mm x 35mm device that can be attached to any small, medium or large sized asset, but this unassuming black box opens up a world of useful insights. “Up to 30 per cent of tools are lost or stolen annually on the construction jobsite,” explains Soeren Brogaard, CEO at Trackunit, “and the average construction worker spends up to 10 per cent of their time looking for misplaced items. Clearly, in time critical projects that’s a productivity problem, but add to that the cost implications of only 20 per cent of stolen equipment ever being recovered and there are even bigger issues at play.
That’s a situation that Trackunit Kin aims to change. Brogaard continues: “As an organisation, simply knowing what you have, where it is, and how it is being used – and being able to access that information quickly – can make for significant efficiency savings and it means the total cost of ownership on tools and attachments can be reduced. It is our belief that all equipment on site should be connected.”
A system like Trackunit Kin is now possible thanks to dramatic improvements in battery life – with a guarantee of up to five years on the tag, and the range now available through Bluetooth 5.2. Brogaard outlines how the company’s position in the market is being utilised to radically broaden the scope of what can now benefit from asset tracking. “Hundreds of thousands of machines in more than 100 countries are already connected through our telematics system. The introduction of Trackunit Kin means that all onsite hardware can be tagged connected, tracked and managed using a single and easy-to-use application, with relevant data and location sent to Trackunit Manager, our existing fleet management system.”
Of course, nobody has time to adopt complex technologies that require changes to established working practices and that’s why Trackunit Kin has been designed to be simple to install, learn and work with. Indeed, the manufacturer claims a 1-minute set-up and, when functioning, utilises not just its Manager system but also the Go portal. Targeted and tailormade for field service personnel, the latter is your mobile window on your own world of assets.
The ambition doesn’t end there, however because within the Trackunit DNA is a drive to eliminate downtime, not just for its own customers but the industry as a whole. As a result Trackunit Kin can not only locate and read from its own tag but also those of third parties. It is not a closed eco-system but one with a mission to help the industry as a whole.
Attaching the tag itself is child’s play. To activate the device, simply remove the sticker located on the top of the tag, at which point a light will flash green. Ensure you are mounting the Kin in a location on the asset where damage will be avoided. It can then be fixed by gluing, screwing or with cable/zip ties. Once secured, open the Trackunit Go app on your smartphone, go to settings and select Onboard Trackunit Kin. Follow the steps, starting by keeping your phone close to the unit. Once the right Kin is selected, input the asset details and complete the process by adding a photo. Your asset is now stored with Trackunit Manager and, from that point on, every colleague has sight of it. There is an unlimited number of devices that can be managed through Kin, which means that potentially every piece of equipment can be covered.
If you’re an operator or service technician on a jobsite, or in a depot, and you need to find a particular attachment. Simply access Trackunit Go on your smartphone. Through the core Trackunit Manager system it’s equally possible to not only locate a particular attachment, but access how it is being used and, if it’s an attachment, what machine it has been paired with. As a result, not only can responsible individuals ensure that pieces of equipment are being used correctly, but that they are also available when and where they are needed.
Kin has the power to create a digital twin of that tool, which can include all the necessary insights into the asset, such as service intervals, or instruction manuals, for instance. Not only that but by activating an LED indicator on the tag it’s possible to identify a specific piece of equipment in a pool of assets, whilst movement, vibration and activity detection using low power embedded sensors will also be added in future updates. Its developers guarantee a five-year life on lithium-ion battery cell housed in the tag and operates through the proven technology of Bluetooth 5.2.
Trackunit already has more than 25 years of history in connecting equipment within the construction sector and the Kin concept represents a further development in that journey. Technology is continuing to highlight opportunities where the industry can reduce loss or theft, lower replacement costs, provide accurate inventory analysis and increase project productivity. Today, data collection and analytics are able to provide insights into machine use, service and lifecycle that are helping change the organisation, its productivity and the profitability of projects.