Electrical Business

Products Test & Measurement
NEW Fluke Connect: the “largest system of connected test tools in the world”


May 12, 2014
By Anthony Capkun


Topics

(Updated June 15, 2014, with Field Expert Review) May 12, 2014 – Unveiled to select media—including EBMag—last week in Chicago, the new Fluke Connect system allows technicians to wirelessly transmit measurement data from their test tools to their smartphones for secure storage on the cloud and team access in the field.

In the VIDEO: Senior product planner John Neeley explains just some of the features of new Fluke Connect, and how tools communicate with your smartphone and the cloud.

Fluke Connect helps you eliminate what Salvatore Parlatore calls “time wasters”, like having to write everything down, which helps you save time justifying recommendations. Parlatore is Fluke’s vice-president, worldwide marketing, Industrial Group (Photo 1).

READ our FIELD EXPERT REVIEW, below.

More than 20 Fluke tools connect wirelessly with the app, including digital multimeters, infrared cameras, insulation testers, process meters, and specific voltage, current and temperature models (DOWNLOAD Fluke Connect May 2014 Compatibility.pdf below). Technicians can AutoRecord measurements and IR images to Fluke Cloud storage from wherever they’re working, without writing anything down. Everyone on the team with a smartphone and the app (currently Android and iOS, explains Neeley, Photo 2) can see the data.

Team collaboration is facilitated via ShareLive video calls, where technicians can share measurements with other team members in real time, get approvals for repairs or get questions answered without leaving the field. EquipmentLog allows technicians to assign measurements to specific equipment, creating a cloud-based history of data for access during both troubleshooting and reliability maintenance. And TrendIt enables technicians to instantly graph data, helping to identify trends and quickly make informed decisions.

Down the road, Fluke says it will open Fluke Connect to other developers, enabling the use of non-Fluke tools. Other enhancements in the future may include bar code-reading capability for enhanced asset management.

REVIEW
The folks at Fluke were kind enough to provide a Fluke Connect sampling to one of our field experts for REVIEW and FEEDBACK. Here is what he said:

“This is a very good idea. Though most certainly designed for electricians, this information-gathering and sharing tool could be used by HVAC contractors, process equipment specialists and engineering technicians, etc.

I found the programming and operating aspects easy to grasp, and was sharing real-time data within an hour. Connecting and disconnecting the digital meters was simple and safe. Once connected, I downloaded the Fluke app to my iPod, which immediately identified the three compatible items within Wi-Fi range: the Fluke V3000FC voltage meter, 3000FC current clamp and Ti thermal imager.

The real-time displays clearly identified the voltage and current values on the iPod. We then asked the voltage and current meters to log information and display on the iPod. At any time we could highlight the information we wanted to relay to any interested party.

I like the Logging aspect. It essentially is a long-term view of the values. One could place the digital meters at a specific location and walk away to complete another task, or have the meter monitor what happens at that location when you are working on another piece of equipment.

This is a very easy to use tool, which I believe is very efficient and cost-saving… not only to the electrician, but also to their customer. As a former teacher, I have always believed that we must start putting technology into the hands of our future electricians: this tool will do that. Fluke Connect will bring the technician closer to the decision-makers for a quick and cost-effective result.

I’ve been monitoring electrical systems using computerized equipment since 1989. Long-term evaluation combined with immediate and real-time access from any location sounds very good to me. On a safety point, not having to awkwardly place your head and helmet into the distribution cabinet to read the DMM’s display is also a very positive thing.”

— John Vickery, Vickery Electric