Stanley Black & Decker is the world’s largest supplier of hand tools, electrical tools, and associated accessories. With roughly 52,000 employees in over 175 countries, the company attained total revenues of over US$11 billion in 2014. There is heavy competition in Germany and the tools market is very crowded. It’s in exactly this environment we searched for new sales channels. We oversaw a business transformation targeting a young market in an urban setting.
The young market often lacks the well-sorted toolbox that people acquire over the years and, what’s more, it increasingly lives further away from parents and family who can lend tools when they’re needed. With Social Tools, we transferred the idea of the sharing economy to tools for residential complexes and districts.
The toolbox is leased and installed at a central location in an apartment building or district. It can only be unlocked using the dedicated app. The app also takes care of loans, reservations, and billing.
weeks to the prototype
We created the toolbox prototype in our own IoT laboratory. When we developed it, we had to make sure that the various technical systems would interact with each other reliably. Three different microcontroller-software implementations were needed just for the toolbox, which contained a mainboard, Bluetooth LE, and individual modules in the shafts.
We applied NFC technology in combination with a weight sensor to identify the available tools. This is how we were able to determine if a device was present in the toolbox and available to lend or if it was already borrowed. Individual parts were produced in a 3-D printer for the prototype and installed in the box.
To raise awareness of this innovative product, we set up a kind of kick-starter website. Anyone with interest could “support” the project and get information about the next steps being taken.