Have you ever lost your luggage? If so, you know how dreadful of an experience it can be. With all the hair-pulling frustrations and puzzling runarounds airlines put you through, wouldn’t it be easier if your luggage – like any other person – directly contacted you? Well, now it can.
Led in development by Craig Lee, the Director of the AT&T M2M Foundry in Plano, Texas, “Smart Luggage” is an application used to track a customer’s luggage in real time through tracking chips, which are embedded in their bags. The chips are capable of transmitting their locations to travelers and even contacting airlines directly when they get lost. For instance, if a bag doesn’t arrive at an airport baggage claim area, a user could visually map out where it is in the airport; it could also see if the bag is in another city. What’s more, they’re also designed to be compliant with all air carriers and FAA regulations.
Still in its early stages, the novelty app uses a tracking application to provide registration, monitoring, and the ability to control a flashing beacon LED on the luggage. The tracker in the bag could work internationally by connecting to other 3G-compatible networks, according to Deccan Chronicle. While AT&T is testing new innovative approaches, future features in the works currently include alerts when a bag has landed or is outside a set geo-fence, visual indicators sent from a smartphone to signal a bag to “light up,” and deeper assimilation with various international airline and traveler applications.
So, you’re probably wondering why we’re writing about this if it hasn’t even been approved yet—“What’s the point?” This is the point:
CNN reports that U.S. airlines mishandled over 141,000 bags in April— about three bags for every 1,000 passengers. Suffice to say that is a lot of people—enough to get the ball rolling on this much needed application.
And while the technology hasn’t been approved by federal regulators (yet), or technically even used, doesn’t mean we can’t “rate” it based on what we’re hearing so far. Sure, owning luggage that can speak (sort of) to you might seem strange at first, but we see the application becoming a travel essential—a requisite of sorts, like a passport.
A lot of the time, lost or misplaced luggage and bags get returned to their rightful owner. But there are also times when they don’t. These are the times worth speaking of—when important belongings like official documents or significant personal effects become, well, gone. Besides the immeasurable anguish a lost piece of official paper, like a birth certificate, can cause, imagine your great grandmother’s wedding ring…or your own. Material worth aside, a lot of these valuables mean a great deal to the heart.
All that’s left to wonder is: Why wasn’t this thought of years ago?