Craftsman is Going Mobile
Issue: Issue 290
Posted Date: 12/13/2011
It seems there's an app for nearly everything you'd want to do with a smartphone or tablet computer these days. Now Craftsman is bringing that technology even further into the workshop and garage with two new applications for today's cyber-savvy DIYer. One will keep you current on a variety of Craftsman news, and the other will give you greater control over your garage, no matter where you happen to be.
"The way we look at it," says Ryan Ostrom, divisional vice president of digital marketing for Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard brands, "Craftsman is all about trusting in your hands. And what are our customers holding these days? Mobile devices."
The first of Craftsman's new mobile apps is a free digital magazine called Torque, written specifically for first- and second-generation iPads. Ostrom says each issue of Torque will offer a variety of interactive and video content specific to the brand. It promises do-it-yourself project and technique "walk-throughs" that provide advice and tips through videos, photos and podcasts. There will also be live project demonstrations broadcast to your iPad from the Craftsman Experience interactive venue in Chicago. Torque has an "Innovation Showcase" of new products and technology, plus a Craftsman Top 100 catalog of must-have tools. If you happened to miss last fall's Screw*d reality series that followed a fledgling DIYer through a series of immersion challenges, Torque will show you the highlights and take you behind the scenes of the show. And if you are a classic auto buff as well as a woodworker or DIYer, you should appreciate Torque's "Mystery Car Features," which showcase some of the most exclusive automobiles from the vault of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, along with the interesting histories associated with these rare cars.
"We started developing Torque this past summer, because we wanted to create a fun, engaging seamless way to tie many forms of content together," Ostrom says. "We want to provide ways for our customers to engage with Craftsman's tools and projects wherever they are, and the iPad is an ideal platform for delivering it."
Torque is available now on iTunes, and it complements Craftsman's iPhone application that has been out for a while already. Ryan says the inaugural issue of Torque contains five holiday projects and a "Top 100" Craftsman gift list with some humorously written product descriptions. Ryan says the first 15 to 20 mystery cars are also included in this issue, along with a variety of other content and Craftsman Club benefits. In 2012, a new edition of Torque will be available quarterly with updated content and updates on Craftsman's latest product launches.
Aside from Torque, Craftsman's other new app is associated with two new AssureLink garage door openers. Here's the genesis for its creation: Have you ever been traveling or on vacation and had that sinking feeling that maybe you left the garage door open? Ever wished you had a way to know for sure without calling the neighbors or going home to check on it? Now you can with AssureLink.
Ostrom says AssureLink consists of a transceiver radio mounted inside the garage door opener unit that engages wirelessly with a Gateway module you connect to your home's Internet router. A free AssureLink app downloads to any smartphone, tablet or home computer with an Internet connection. Once the app is installed and the Gateway module is registered, you can control your garage door operation using the Internet. A garage door icon will tell you instantly if the door is up or down. Simply touch or click on the icon to activate the garage door opener. "AssureLink will also notify you immediately if someone else is opening or closing the door. The app allows you to control multiple AssureLink garage door openers independently if you have a multi-stall garage, and you can even control garage doors in different locations seasonal homes, cabins and so forth as well as your home."
Currently, AssureLink is only available in two models of belt- and chain-drive garage door openers, but Ostrom says Craftsman is exploring the possibility of offering this technology as a retrofit package for other models in the future.
"We feel that Torque and our new AssureLink garage door opener applications are really breaking new ground in terms of how our customers can engage with our products. And this is just the beginning. Going forward, we at Craftsman plan to continue making technology products that tie into mobile devices."