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Digitalizing tool rental

Borrowing will be the new norm when it comes to tools. Owning an item you may only need once, or for an hour or so, is a waste of money and resources, and can have a big impact on the environment. But with the arrival of new, smarter technology, this will soon become a thing of the past.

The sharing economy presents an opportunity for the tool rental industry to enhance its productivity and service offering, streamlining every aspect of the equipment rental process – from ordering to returns. This is why Ericsson has collaborated with leading tool rental and tool construction companies, Cramo and Husqvarna, to begin creating a pioneering proof of concept for the industry.
Our aim was to create an automated and more efficient return process for equipment rental, evaluating key technologies to make the rental fleet more supportive of customers' needs.

Real-time results

We built a prototype around a Husqvarna K760 Power Cutter, which automatically sends its status about its key components when returned to the depot.

The components were selected in order to target requirements on energy and memory consumption. These included Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) for connectivity between the power cutter, an Ericsson-developed Capillary Gateway (CGW), as well as an IPv6-based Light Weight M2M (LWM2M) protocol for device management and information transport.

The machine analytics, powered by 5G technology, could then evaluate data from the power cutter, and provide Cramo with recommendations on the state of the machine and when it needed to be serviced.

Overall, the innovations are set to revolutionize the tool rental industry, providing a more flexible and cost-effective business model for companies – and, ultimately, adding value to the service offering for consumers.

The next phase of the project is already underway.

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