The case for smart luggage
Our homes are becoming a web of hi-fi appliances with everything from the toothbrush to our fridges interconnected by the IoT (Internet of Things), so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see tech geeks now focusing on our luggage.
There are two companies working on creating smart suitcases that will connect to your smart phone and tell you where they are if they get mislaid, what the weight is before you leave home, operate digital locks, recharge your phone and tablet from an inboard battery system and much more.
The two companies are Bluesmart, a Silicon Valley start-up, and Delsey, the global French luggage manufacturer. Both will offer a range of features in these smart cases when released later this year.
Bluesmart was founded by a group of tech guys who travelled a lot and, three years ago, got together to create a carry-on suitcase for the 21st century. It is staggering to note that, having done a lot of groundwork, they went online offering investors suitcases for $US235 ($308) if they paid up-front. They were seeking $US50,000 to finance the ongoing development — they got $US1.9 million before they could close the subscription.
They plan to release the new smart suitcase in October, and it’s available to pre-purchase online for $US299. The company has recently announced a number of partnerships, including with car service Uber to return lost luggage.
Bluesmart technology and design. Picture: bluesmart.com
Meanwhile Paris-based Delsey, an international player in the luggage market second only to Samsonite, has spent two years developing the Pluggage range, which — unlike Bluesmart carry-on — is designed as a check-in smart suitcase that lets you know if it has been loaded on the plane and will tell you if it has been opened during its absence. It also tells you where it is if it gets lost.
Delsey is asking the public to vote online, allowing frequent travellers to choose from the many features that are available before making a final decision before going to market. The 10 features that are being offered to vote on include auto weight, instant battery reload, onboard detection, inside lighting system, flight info, fingerprint ID, check lock, weather forecast, inside speaker and checklist.
Desley's Pluggage. Picture: delseypluggage.com
Both companies are working on similar concepts: the suitcases communicate to your smart phone or tablet via a wi-fi app.
Both cases offer in-built scales to tell you the weight of the packed bag. The Delsey case has a digital lock using a fingerprint reader on the phone to lock and unlock the case, while Bluesmart is locked using an app on the smart phone.
They both can store your schedule and travel itineraries, look up the weather for your upcoming destinations and recommend what you should pack. They both track your travel miles, and if either is lost they can be traced anywhere in the world using GPS on your smart phone and Google Maps.
In fact, if you wander too far away from the Bluesmart at the airport it will beep to remind you to come back and collect it, like some trained pet. In fact, the Bluesmart guys see this more as a travelling companion than a suitcase.
Each has in-built batteries, not only to power its on-board technology but also to recharge your smart phone and tablet via a USB socket. Bluesmart says it can recharge a smart phone six times before the battery in the case needs replacing or recharging.
Because it is a carry-on, the Bluesmart has a separate area where you can store your laptop and/or tablet for quick access during security clearances.
Meanwhile, Delsey’s Pluggage may offer an inbuilt speaker that flips out when you want music using a Bluetooth link from your smart phone or iPod.
See delseypluggage.com and bluesmart.com.
© The West Australian