Call it Travel 2.0, when luggage melds with high technology to morph into a suitcase category called smart bags. What can smart bags do that more sluggish luggage can’t? According to my discoveries at this year’s Travel Goods Showcase in Las Vegas, all sorts of stuff. To wit, you can unlock these smarties remotely, or opt to open the biometric lock with a fingerprint. You can track the bags wherever they go, and however far they may get away from you. You can use them to recharge mobile devices or to get a party started. Indeed, several of the new smart bags feature speakers which transform a suitcase into a boom box. And that's just for starters. As you'll see from the examples below, innovative smart bags are combining brains and beauty in one special package.
The folks who developed The Planet Traveler SpaceCase 1 say it's the most technologically advanced suitcase coming onto the market. Features include a biometric lock, global tracking, a Bluetooth speaker, and lithium power pack. A digital sensor scale sensor is in the wheels, so you don’t actually have to lift the case to weigh it. A downloadable app controls all features, and is designed to serve as a PTA--a personal travel assistant. The Planet Traveler SpaceCase 1 is expected to be on the market by November. The price: $700 for a full-size bag; $600 for the carry-on bag. High tech doesn’t come cheap, particularly in its first incarnation.
|Planet Traveler SpaceCase1|
The Andiamo iQ is also expected to hit the market this fall. Among its many smart features are a USB battery charger; a removable mobile power pack; a remote lock and unlock via the app ; a digital scale; and an anti-theft alert system that alerts you (well, your cell phone) when the bag moves 30 meters away from you; and a digital scale. Available only in carry-on, the iQ will cost $599.
Delsey’s Pluggage won't be ready until next spring. But given that it comes from a French company, you can expect a stylish debut. Delsey has been conducting an on-line survey to determine which smart features its clientele most covet. Among the options-- an inside lighting system, an auto weight scale, fingerprint ID via smartphone, and an inside speaker. The crowdsourced feedback will be considered as the revolutionary bag is designed. The price for the carry-on is expected to be in the range of $600.
|Pluggage from Delsey (prototype)|