AHR Expo Showcases Tools That Connect to Cellphones

Manufacturers making it easier for contractors and end-users to connect to the technology that helps them better do their jobs and maintain their homes

AHR Expo Showcases Tools That Connect to Cellphones
RIDGID's newest RP240 and 241 press tools can be paired with a smartphone through the RIDGID Link app.

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It seems like you can’t do anything without a cellphone these days. Everyone has a smartphone and the options for it are varied.

Technology to pair plumbing tools and equipment to cellphones is on full display this week at the International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo).

“More people have cellphones,” says Marcus Borman, global marketing manager for RIDGID. “More guys are using them for their jobs, for coding, for estimating and for doing design work. They’re just used to using phones for things.”

RIDGID is one of those companies that has found new ways to connect contractors to their tools. The company’s newest RP240 and 241 press tools can be paired with a smartphone through the RIDGID Link app.

“We’re always making tools smaller, lighter, stronger and better than ever and now we’re just adding another feature to them so they can use their phones to get more information from the tool,” Borman says.

The app allows the contractor to learn more about what’s going on with the tool in the background. It will show the number of cycles that have been run and how many are left until the tool needs to be brought back in for service, which is a fixed amount of time.

“We’ve had guys who have sent tools back too early because they felt like they were getting too close, so we wanted to give them an option to see how many cycles they have on their tool,” Borman says.

The app will also tell the contractor where the tool was last seen — for instance, if the contractor leaves the tool behind on a job site, they can track it down.

“All the information is stored on the tool for a month as long as you are going in and connecting your tool to the app,” Borman says. “It stores the data for an infinite amount of time in the cloud.”

KEEPING THE HOMEOWNERS CONNECTED

Uponor is also showcasing a tool that can be paired with a smartphone app — the Phyn Plus.

The Phyn Plus hooks up to the water source on the inside of a home. The device measures micro changes in pressure at a rate of 240 times a second. It uses the data to learn the unique signatures of each of a home’s fixtures and catch plumbing issues ranging from pinhole leaks to faucet drips or frozen pipes. Phyn Plus uses algorithms to analyze this data as well as data from pressure, flow, and temperature sensors to create a full picture of a home’s plumbing system.

Once the Phyn Plus is installed, it will begin to learn about the water system and will continue to learn over time. When it notices a change in normal water use, the homeowner will get an alert through a mobile app on their phone. If there’s a major leak, such as a pipe burst, Phyn can turn off the water automatically with a built-in shut-off valve.

“Water is our most precious natural resource and an essential part of our daily lives,” says Ryan Kim, CEO of Phyn. “However, it is often underappreciated and the plumbing system that conveys it overlooked. Backing from global leaders Belkin and Uponor has enabled us to bring the most accurate leak detection solution to market while also allowing us to quickly scale and introduce new features that add value and enhance the consumer experience.”

MORE TO COME

Both RIDGID and Uponor are confident that these technologies connecting customers to their tools is only just the beginning.

“We’re giving them what they want,” says Borman. “They’ve been asking for it a while and we’re going to continue to give them these tools from now on.”



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