Smart luggage innovations for business travelers

Posted Dec 11, 2017 by Tim Sandle
Smart luggage is the next big thing for business travelers: from robot cases that follow the owner around to bags fitted with GPS devices, the age of smart technology is set to aid those who clock up a high number of air-miles.
Unusual cargo: a Chinese man was detained after a scanner showed he had his brother's severed a...
Unusual cargo: a Chinese man was detained after a scanner showed he had his brother's severed arms in his luggage
The functionality of smart luggage varies in sophistication as does the price tag, with costs ranging from $275 to more than $1,000. Smart innovations include device charging, GPS tracking, remote locking and built-in weight sensors. We look at some of the innovations.
In terms of robotics, one leading company is Modobag. Modobag looks like a standard suitcase but has mechanical functionality designed to create personal mobility; this means it is a suitcase that the traveler can ride. This innovation led to the company being declared a Silver Award Winner at the 30th annual Edison Awards.
Keeping with the robotic them, Travelmate is a suitcase that follows the owner around making use of sensor and GPS technology. There is other functionality too; Travelmate has a touch enabled lock system that allows the owner to use their fingerprint to open the suitcase. There is also a built-in scale to assess the bag weight and USB and Bluetooth functionality.
USB charging
A different take on mechanical features is with Trunkster, which has no zippers at all. Moreover, the user can access their belongings through a sliding roll-top door. This feature works even when the suitcase is standing upright.
USB functionality allows luggage to charge devices. Another example of this feature is found with cases produced by Raden. These cases come equipped with a 7,800mAh battery, and two 2.1A USB ports. In addition, Raden bags come with location sensors that link to smartphone app, signaling to the owner when their bag comes around on the carousel.
Remote locking
Luggage where the user controls the locking mechanism remotely is a popular choice. An example is from Bluemsart, which was one of the first companies to enter the smart luggage field. The luggage features a companion iOS or Android app that allows the case owner to control the lock and its proximity option, such as automatically unlocking when the user and their smartphone come within range.
For those for whom smart luggage is too expensive, a smart lock is a lower cost solution. An example is the eGeeTouch, which can be locked and unlocked using a smartphone. This avoids the risk of forgetting the lock combination.
Ergonomic design
In terms of improving bag carrying and pulling, TraxPack make a range of cases that come with a track system that makes it easy for a person to drag the case up and down stairs. These cases are also electronically smart too, coming with an in-built GPS system. Also coming up with a portability option is Néit, which manufactures a suitcase made from a polycarbonate and aircraft-grade aluminum shell and which folds flat for easy storage when it is empty.
Despite these innovations designed to make business travel easier, caution is required when selecting which type of device to go for in relation to airline safety regulations.
This month several U.S. airlines have announced new restrictions on “smart bags” and the IATA looks set to impose a global ban on bags where batteries cannot be removed. See Digital Journal’s “Major airlines set to ban smart luggage” for more news on this topic.