Rental and Hire Equipment Monitoring with
Kennards Hire

Company Profile

Kennards Hire

Implemented Products

With more than 180 branches, Kennards Hire, the largest family-owned supplier of hire and rental equipment in Australia and New Zealand, has plenty of assets to track.

But what began as a need to simply track and monitor their hire and rental equipment, evolved into an IoT-led “digital overhaul,” with Mitch Hirsch, Architecture and Strategy Manager at Kennards Hire behind the wheel.

“Tracking and monitoring our equipment moved pretty quickly from a basic location monitoring and theft recovery necessity, to experimenting with new ways to remotely manage the equipment and deliver new services using the Internet of Things,” says Hirsch.

Using Microsoft Azure, Kennards Hire developed their own IoT platform, EasyTrak, leveraging Digital Matter GPS equipment tracking devices to collect data from hundreds of their powered and unpowered assets.

Heavy Equipment Monitoring

Kennards Hire has been experimenting with GPS hardware for years and started deploying Digital Matter devices in 2019.

“We had a lot of issues with devices from other suppliers in terms of reliability, GPS accuracy, integration and control,” says Hirsch. “Digital Matter gave us access to a number of settings and configurations that many other vendors did not allow.”

Starting with their excavators, Kennards Hire uses the G62 hardwired GPS to capture critical location and equipment utilization data.

The high-precision GPS features ultra-rugged and weatherproof IP67 nylon glass housing for extreme durability and is hardwired to permanent power for real-time location tracking. The device’s internal battery ensures it continues to connect in the case of loss of power or tampering, and an array of inputs and outputs enables remote immobilization, fuel level monitoring, driver ID, and more.

“If a customer stands down an excavator because it’s raining, we can actually remotely immobilize that excavator, so we know it is being used as agreed,” says Hirsch.

“If the customer then tries to use it while they’re not paying for it, they’ll have to ring up for a code or we can retrospectively look on the system and see when the equipment was being used.”

Preventative maintenance alerts are also configured based on run hours to reduce maintenance and repair costs and decrease equipment downtimes.

“The G62 has ideally removed all of our previous pain points and outperformed nearly any other device that we put it up against,” says Hirsch. “Any large construction equipment that has a diesel motor in it – the Digital Matter G62 device is our preference.”

Data collected from the G62 is sent to our Device Management platform, OEM Server, and securely forwarded over an HTTP Post to Azure IoT Hub, where it is aggregated and presented in the EasyTrak platform.

Easytrak coordinates on map

Non-Powered Equipment Monitoring

According to Hirsch, discrepancies of up to 30-40% were arising between employee timesheets and utilization reports of non-powered equipment, such as rollers.

Kennards Hire began using the Oyster2 battery-powered GPS for non-powered equipment monitoring. Rugged and versatile, the IP67-rated device is powered by 3 off-the-shelf AA batteries and features up to seven-years of battery life, an accelerometer for smart movement-based tracking and impact detection, and built-in battery life management for accurate remaining life predictions.

Compact and concealable, the Oyster2 is covertly secured to any non-powered asset to monitor location, run hours, and more. When equipment is stationary, the device enters sleep mode, switching the update rate to only twice per day until movement occurs to conserve battery life and optimize data usage.

“The Oyster2 is a great device because you can slap it on anything, integration is simple, and we don’t have to do an intrusive install, which saves time and money,” says Hirsch. “The ability to configure the devices to meet our particular use case, depending on what asset it is secured to, is also key.”

With OEM Server, Kennards Hire is able to provision and manage their Digital Matter devices at scale, with over-the-air firmware management, device health monitoring and debugging logs, remote installation tools, and much more.

“OEM Server is probably one of the significant pieces that we find provides that additional value over others,” says Hirsch. “We are able to take complete control over the devices and the data they collect. The power of the whole ecosystem – from devices and device management, to integration and support, is why we partner with Digital Matter.”

New Opportunities

Kennards Hire’s IoT adoption has also resulted in new revenue opportunities, particularly replenishment and removal services.

“Suddenly we went from just providing the equipment, to now providing the equipment and the attached services that go with that over the length of the project, which is a strain of revenue we weren’t aware of,” says Hirsch.

“We’re a closer partner through the life of the project with our customers which is good. It gives us more opportunities to see what’s going on and to try more things.”

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