Best Smart Luggage 2017 – The Suitcase Revolution
Ever since the suitcase was reinvented by Bernard D. Sadow through adding the rolling wheels in 1970, there has been little revolutionary innovation in the sector. Today, leading luggage companies and crowdfunded startups are starting to acknowledge the need for innovation and are all working to create the best smart luggage. And the results are nothing short of overwhelming. Really, you need a one-on-one user experience with one of this globetrotter’s gizmos to appreciate the luxury of owning one.
Essentially, smart luggage involves adding several features to regular luggage bags to make them more intuitive. These include Wi-Fi hotspots, SIM cards, inbuilt batteries and GPS.
Is there a need for smart luggage?
One of the major points in Mr. Sadow’s patent for a rolling luggage system was the fact that people were starting to deal with luggage in an entirely different way. At the time, porters used to handle the luggage and either load or unload at convenient points near the street, which was no longer possible as air terminals grew bigger with time.
Fast forward to today, we have wheeled luggage, but there is still a problem of getting your luggage misplaced by your carrier. Hence, from that viewpoint, there is a great need for smart luggage to help alleviate some of the anxieties associated with having your luggage left behind at your last layover.
How does smart luggage work?
Imagine you have just landed at the airport and you are at the luggage section waiting for your suitcases. After waiting for what would seem like hours, your suitcase does not seem to emerge from the carousel, and you immediately rush to enquire about it to the help desk. While on your way to the help desk to go and vent your frustrations, you instantly get a text or notification from your phone giving the exact location of your smart luggage in the airport.
The logic behind the smart suitcase or smart luggage is that by adding special features like messaging and GPS tracking, bags can connect with your smartphone and send notifications about location and security. For instance, you will get notifications about whether or not they have removed from a plane, their exact location and also when they are opened by someone else without your permission.
The communication is not just limited to the owner of the smart suitcase, as it will also need to communicate with the carrier handling it. With IoT envisioning a new world where everything is connected, we could be seeing a future where the best smart luggage just checks itself into the airport or even a motorised suitcase that follows you around. Keeping that in mind, let us consider some of the top smart luggage products available or scheduled to be available soon in the market.
1. Planet Traveler Space Case 1
Like Bluesmart, the Planet Traveler Space Case 1 also used a crowdfunding platform to generate interest and seek funding. With more than 1,900 backers on Indiegogo, the startup managed to raise slightly over $920,000 to assist in realising the project. Not only is the Space Case 1 being touted as the best smart luggage, but it is also considered by many as the most advanced of all its competitors.
The smart suitcase will have most of the same innovative features like other smart suitcases, including global tracking, inbuilt scale, power bank and mobile application. For authentication, the Space Case 1 uses a unique biometric fingerprint identification system. There is also a microphone, and Bluetooth speaker for hands-free calling, as well as an alarm for preventing unexpected separation.
The most innovative of the Planet Traveler Space Case 1 is that it offers access to a handy personal concierge service through the connected app. The concierge feature offers important details about gate numbers, flight status, and hotel reservations among others. Prices for this smart luggage are from $600 to $800.
2. Bluesmart Smart Luggage
Bluesmart is one of the best smart luggage products in the market and has managed to generate lots of interest. The American startup used Indiegogo’s crowdfunding platform to introduce their smart luggage to the world and ask for funding. They managed to raise over $2 million from over 10,000 funders, which is a great achievement for any start-up company. The Bluesmart smart luggage was launched in December 2015 at an online retail price of $399.99.
Some of the main features include location tracking through GPS and 3G to trace the location of your bag at all times, a battery charger and recharging dock for keeping your phone always charged and a Trip data application to track your movements and give insights regarding your travel habits. There is also an inbuilt scale that tells you the weight of your packed smart suitcase to assist you in avoiding charges for carrying excess weight. The smart suitcase is well built and has compartments for your tablet, laptop or other electronic gadgets for easy access.
3. Trunkster – Smart Luggage Reimagined
Trunkster is likely one of the best smart luggage innovations available, especially because it offers a zipperless entry feature. The very attractive sliding roll-top suitcase door represents a major change to the common luggage design, even since wheels were added. Water resistant and durable, the roll top allows the user to reach their belongings quickly in a single swift motion. Trunkster also says that its new roll-top door system also offers enhanced theft protection as compared to other suitcases that use vulnerable zippers.
Other smart features in this Trunkster smart suitcase is USB charging along with a removable battery, an integrated scale, and accurate tracking with GSM and GPRS technology. You also get a resilient control handle that uses a special full-width design for more cargo space and better balance and control through several grip positions. There are two versions slated to be released, a small carry-on and the larger checked suitcase. For about $650, you can get them both, but expect to shell out an extra $40 for luggage GPS.
4. Delsey Pluggage
Pluggage is one of the most anticipated smart suitcases due to some of the suggested features expected to be included in this product. Currently, the Paris-based company behind this smart luggage, Delsey, is seeking input regarding the best features to include in the smart bags. It is expected that the smart line of Pluggage bags will be available in mid-2016.
Some of the major contenders of features to be included in the Pluggage smart suitcase include fingerprint ID to lock and unlock your bag and also the capability of checking the bag app and confirm that it is still secured safely. Other features include interior lighting to light up the bag and see your contents even in low light conditions, notifications once your bag has been loaded into the plane; and finally an inbuilt speaker. While the official pricing information of Pluggage has not yet been released, it is anticipated to cost between $600 and $700.
5. Andiamo iQ Smart Suitcase
The Andiamo iQ is a smart suitcase launched by Andiamo, to function as an integrated luggage for Wi-Fi connectivity, personal charging and eliminating excess baggage. Besides the inbuilt digital scale that you can use to assess how heavy your luggage is, there is an innovative remote unlock or lock feature that can be accessed from the mobile app.
Users of the Andiamo iQ also get notifications in the form of a text message whenever the suitcase is moving away from you or is coming towards you. Andiamo recently completed its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo and raised over $29,000 from roughly 121 people. It is expected that the iQ smart luggage will start retailing for $600.
6. Coolpeds – Briefcase E-Scooter
Coolpeds might just be the best smart luggage since it combines a bag and a scooter. It is very useful to have an electric scooter, particularly when you are moving through a large air terminal or exploring new areas. The integrated battery is quite powerful and will last for about 6.2 before requiring recharging. The maximum speed of the scooter is 12Mph. If you do not want to use the scooter, you can fold it up, and it does not take up too much space. Also, users can add extra solar panels but this will drive up the price to $700.
7. Visionair Podpal
Visionair has made a very functional smart suitcase called the Podpal. The smart bag has a strange tech amenity; it can store your tablet in either landscape or portrait modes.
Also, there is a useful Bluetooth keyboard included for when you have an extensive layover and need to get work done. It is even possible to use it as an entertainment centre or makeshift desk, coupled with some Bluetooth headphones.
8. Fugu Smart Luggage
The upcoming Fugu line of smart luggage products promises to adapt easily to a wide range of travel needs. In contrast with other suitcases in this compilation, Fugu is ultimately on the low-tech side. That is because it does not have the handy tracking features associated with most smart suitcases. Thus, do not expect too much gadgetry with Fugu.
However, what Fugu lacks with regards to tech features, it makes up significantly in creative innovation. For instance, Fugu’s smart luggage can be inflated using an inbuilt pump so that it converts from a simple carry-on into a full-size suitcase. Also, it has uniquely designed shelves that make it simpler to access and organise your belongings. This smart luggage is available in wide range of colours and is quite affordable compared to its competitors as the most expensive version will cost around $400.
Samsonite and Samsung Collaborate for a Smart Suitcase Lineup
Samsonite, an established luggage maker that has been operating since 1910, is currently involved in a collaborative project with Samsung to create an advanced smart suitcase. According to the CEO of Samsonite, Ramesh Tainwala, the smart bags will have effective tracking technology and will send alerts if they get compromised due to theft.
One interesting feature that Samsonite aims to develop besides the luggage GPS feature is a self-propelled smart luggage. The means that the bag will be programmed to track its user at a short distance of about six inches, thus removing the need of having to push your bag around in the airport. Also, the two companies are working on an intelligent bag that can check itself into airports. They have already partnered with leading airlines like Emirates, KLM Air, France and Lufthansa to fast-track the project.
Alternative: A Luggage GPS Tracker
In addition to smart suitcases, there are several simple suitcase tracking options available to convert regular bags into intelligent devices. Adding a luggage GPS is the perfect solution if you already have a bag you love travelling with and do not want to buy a new one. Here are a few of the leading tracking solutions available today.
For only $69.99, you can get LugLoc luggage GPS tracker for your bag. The tracker can be placed inside any bag, and it is then visible on a map once you ping it using the connected LugLoc app.
It also has Bluetooth capabilities to help you in locating your suitcases on the airport carousel. An embedded triaxial accelerometer turns off the device when you are in motion.
Just like LugLoc, Trakdot is a luggage GPS tracker that you can place in your bag so that you can keep track of your luggage. It uses both accelerometer and GSM technologies for accurate tracking, as well as a mobile application.
Trakdot retails at about $50 along with a yearly service fee of $20. Although this tracker has received very positive consumer reviews, some users faulted it for being hard to use and poor instructions.
Smart suitcase and using luggage GPS are both good options for people who regularly travel. Judging by the success of the crowdfunding campaigns like Bluesmart, many customers are willing to try out an intelligent suitcase.
However, there are those who may find this technology invasive, particularly when you want to go on holiday and go completely off the grid, evading the issue of constant connectivity that is the modern world.
That said, GPS tracking will convince most of the doubters of this technology as it offers a great peace of mind knowing where your luggage is when you are travelling.