Shopping Discussion

Home Depot Power Tools will now Require In-Store Activation to work

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  • Aug 9th, 2021 2:31 pm
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Home Depot Power Tools will now Require In-Store Activation to work

"The home-improvement chain is unveiling power tools that won't work unless they're properly scanned and activated at the register via
Bluetooth technology. If a thief managed to smuggle a power drill out of the store without paying, the drill simply wouldn't turn on.

Scott Glenn, Home Depot's vice president of asset protection, told Insider"


https://www.businessinsider.com/home-de ... 021-7?IR=T
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They better be very cheap if they expect anyone to buy a tool that might deactivate at any time.
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engineered wrote: They better be very cheap if they expect anyone to buy a tool that might deactivate at any time.
Probably the ryobi line first as its the inhouse brand for Home Depot. Can't see Milwaukee or DeWalt doing this yet.
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smileswithadimple wrote: Some Milwaukee can already be tracked and disabled via Bluetooth.
Wow, didn't realize this. Just did some reading on OneKey. Looks interesting for contractors but gimmicky for the home user...
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kr0zet wrote: Probably the ryobi line first as its the inhouse brand for Home Depot. Can't see Milwaukee or DeWalt doing this yet.
Interesting. I see this with Milwaukee or Dewalt because they're expensive. It's not worth it for apparent "professional thieves" to steal Ryobi.
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CanadianConsumerYEG wrote: Interesting. I see this with Milwaukee or Dewalt because they're expensive. It's not worth it for apparent "professional thieves" to steal Ryobi.
The reason I thought it would be an inhouse brand was that a national brand wouldn't get buy-in from all retailers. Would Canadian Tire install the infrastructure to activate these tools? How about the small tool only business's? Or would DeWalt make tools only for home depot that had this tech in it?

Seems easier to prove the concept with an inhouse brand first.

As someone else pointed out, Milwaukee already has something similar, so who knows...
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kr0zet wrote: The reason I thought it would be an inhouse brand was that a national brand wouldn't get buy-in from all retailers. Would Canadian Tire install the infrastructure to activate these tools? How about the small tool only business's? Or would DeWalt make tools only for home depot that had this tech in it?

Seems easier to prove the concept with an inhouse brand first.

As someone else pointed out, Milwaukee already has something similar, so who knows...
It's just a cheap Bluetooth reader, so not a huge investment for each store.
If theft is a bit problem, it's mostly from their own employees who might also have access to the reader.
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smileswithadimple wrote: Some Milwaukee can already be tracked and disabled via Bluetooth.
that could be good or bad. good if only the owner can do it via there computer or phone if ur tool gets swiped. bad if the company can do it whenever they feel like. plus whats stopping some hacker from hacking into the system and just disabling tons of tools.
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engineered wrote: If theft is a bit problem, it's mostly from their own employees who might also have access to the reader.
The majority of shrinkage is caused by employees not customers. But stores really don’t want to admit to that.
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mrweather wrote: The majority of shrinkage is caused by employees not customers. But stores really don’t want to admit to that.
Stores admit that internally, BUT its not like employees are stealing left right and center. Internal shrink for most large retailers comes from mostly paperwork errors. Whether that's from lazy employee's, undertrained employees or untrustworthy vendors is a different story.
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aaron158 wrote: that could be good or bad. good if only the owner can do it via there computer or phone if ur tool gets swiped. bad if the company can do it whenever they feel like. plus whats stopping some hacker from hacking into the system and just disabling tons of tools.
BT is a very short range system, to hack this and "disabling a ton of tools" would require a lot of logistics. It's not the same as if something was on wifi.
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The next step will be that you have to run an app on your phone to activate the tool each time you want to use it. That offers more security, and the app can report charge state and diagnostic status each time you run it. Also, like BT tracking tags, you will be able to find a misplaced tool nearby, or check where you last left it, or issue a request for all tool apps on all connected phones to look for your missing tool.

Of course the app will be linked to your tool account, and will record and report your ID, location, when and how often and how long you use the tool, whether you use it together with other tools - all information that can be sold and used for in-app and email targeted advertising for the tool manufacturer to make a little more money.

Later will come the tool subscription, pay by the hour to use it...

And "Android 14 is no longer supported by this app. Please update your mobile device to continue using your tools..." :)
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Scote64 wrote:
Later will come the tool subscription, pay by the hour to use it...
I'd love to laugh at this comment but after seeing the way everything is going it wouldn't surprise me if someone tries this in the future...
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kr0zet wrote: I'd love to laugh at this comment but after seeing the way everything is going it wouldn't surprise me if someone tries this in the future...
If it means I can have a Festool Domino for $100/year instead of $1000 in one go, I'm all up for it :D
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Wonder how the bluetooth technology will work, i sure don't like having circuitry in my power tool that i legitimately buy. I don't see it working unless there is some kind of circuitry built into the tool itself, surely i don't see manufacturers jumping on this unless they do it as a group.

I don't want to pay a cent more for my purchase for circuitry that i have zero use for, we all know it will be added to the price no choice.
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Ballroomblitz1 wrote: Wonder how the bluetooth technology will work
Besides all the other points, I'm wondering how they're powering it.
Obviously battery powered tools have batteries, but they're not typically inserted into the tool.
Bluetooth Low Energy is low energy (it's in the name) but even a 4ah won't let it go for potentially a year on the shelf.

So I wonder how this is going to work. They could "activate" it via app/cell connection back to a central server that reports it as sold at the point of sale, but what if I'm using this tool at the cabin with no cell service? Or I don't own a cell phone?

Also I wonder how effective it's going to be because most tools are just a motor, switch, and battery. There's not too much circuitry. What's stopping me from opening the tool and bypassing the bluetooth element?
Jon Lai wrote: BT is a very short range system, to hack this and "disabling a ton of tools" would require a lot of logistics. It's not the same as if something was on wifi.
Assuming it was powered the whole time (which is another argument as per above) and the thing was exploitable, you could just walk around the store with a transmitter in your backpack.
Obviously the "key" here is having the tools (BT) powered the whole time and there being an exploit available.
Scote64 wrote: The next step will be that you have to run an app on your phone to activate the tool each time you want to use it. That offers more security, and the app can report charge state and diagnostic status each time you run it. Also, like BT tracking tags, you will be able to find a misplaced tool nearby, or check where you last left it, or issue a request for all tool apps on all connected phones to look for your missing tool.

Of course the app will be linked to your tool account, and will record and report your ID, location, when and how often and how long you use the tool, whether you use it together with other tools - all information that can be sold and used for in-app and email targeted advertising for the tool manufacturer to make a little more money.

Later will come the tool subscription, pay by the hour to use it...

And "Android 14 is no longer supported by this app. Please update your mobile device to continue using your tools..." :)
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death_hawk wrote: Besides all the other points, I'm wondering how they're powering it.
Obviously battery powered tools have batteries, but they're not typically inserted into the tool.
Bluetooth Low Energy is low energy (it's in the name) but even a 4ah won't let it go for potentially a year on the shelf.

Also I wonder how effective it's going to be because most tools are just a motor, switch, and battery. There's not too much circuitry. What's stopping me from opening the tool and bypassing the bluetooth element?

Assuming it was powered the whole time (which is another argument as per above) and the thing was exploitable, you could just walk around the store with a transmitter in your backpack.
Obviously the "key" here is having the tools (BT) powered the whole time and there being an exploit available.
There are a bunch of ways they can do this, just not sure what they've chosen as the best one for their needs. There are test stores in the USA that are piloting this so it's only a matter of time before someone gets a look at what they're doing and cracks open a tool to see where in the "system" it's placed.

This will hacked if someone is determined enough, as all things are. It's more of a deterrent than anything else.

Milwaukee already has a similar system in the wild:
https://onekeysupport.milwaukeetool.com/en/knowledge/ios-tool-lockout
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orbitdesign wrote: Milwaukee already has a similar system in the wild:
https://onekeysupport.milwaukeetool.com/en/knowledge/ios-tool-lockout
Very interesting.....have to take some time to think this one over.

The tool is useless if stolen as the server knows when the tool is turned on that the tool has been logged as stolen, so point of sale seems like they just mark (scan into system) it as sold and new customer can register is his name and control. If the tool is stolen then when the person tries to use the server keeps the tool shutdown as the reistered owner is the business not the person at that time. When it is sold the retailer marks as sold, the person can then set controls that they wish.

I do like locking the tools if stolen from my work site or garage, potentially locking to a job site.......dislike where it is going. The potential for tracking your whereabouts is disconcerting to say the least, others will say you're tracked everyday by your cell phone and surfing habits.

Have to think about this....for the theft aspect it serves a purpose but from a personal perspective i hate where the tech may lead.

Do the pro's outweigh the cons? And will you have a choice in time?

A downfall might be if i lock the tool down at a job site for the evening, the next morning my cell phone dies and i don't have access to the net and/or bluetooth to activate through the app. Not a big issue as i wouldn't lock down my tools....might only do it if it were stolen.

Tools are so simple, a switch a motor...now you're adding circuitry on top.
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Wasn't it bond movies where his pistol had a special grip that scanned his palm and only let him fire it? It was such a great nonsense "bond gadget" idea. But i guess we're almost there.

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