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The idea of “smart” luggage isn’t new yet despite some early successes like Indiegogo hit Bluesmart, big-name luggage makers have yet to add connected technology to their product lines.
That could be changing in the near future as Hong Kong-based Samsonite has partnered with Samsung on the development of such a product according to a report from Daily Mail.
Samsonite’s smart luggage will use GPS technology to track its location and is capable of notifying travelers when it is being unloaded from the plane or when it’ll arrive on the pick-up carousel. Suitcases will also tip off security-conscious travelers as to when they are being opened or if an owner strays too far away.
Elsewhere, Samsonite is working with a couple of airlines to develop smart bags capable of checking themselves in. Once a passenger arrives at the airport, their bags would be recognized and loaded with details like airline and destination. Instead of waiting in line to manually tag bags, travelers would simply drop their bags off on a conveyer belt upon arrival.
The company has even been testing a piece of luggage capable of following its owner around in the airport. Unfortunately, existing motors take up roughly a third of the bag and weigh nearly 45 pounds. Samsonite chief executive Ramesh Tainwala noted that music speakers used to be huge and are now tiny. With that thinking in mind, Tainwala said his company revisits the project regularly.
It may seem surprising that no major luggage makers have come out with connected baggage yet but when you think about it, they’re in the business to sell you luggage. Offering a project that prevents you from losing your luggage (and thus, not buying more) goes against their business model. It’s the same reason why wireless carriers weren’t interested in smartphone kill switches – they’d lose money.
With luggage, you’re going to be replacing it every so often regardless of whether it gets lost or not simply because airline travel is rough on baggage and they’re going to tear up after a handful of uses. If manufacturers think they can sell connected bags for enough of a premium to cover the lost bag market, then sure, they’ll get with the times. But so far, that hasn’t happened.
Image via Joe Ravi, Wikipedia