Luggage company TUMI has teamed up with US telco AT&T to launch a wireless device – the TUMI Global Locator – to help travellers keep track of their belongings.
The TUMI Global Locator makes use of GPS, GSM, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals to track the location of the bag or suitcase in which it’s been placed. Weighing at 150 grams and somewhat smaller (although a little fatter) than an iPhone 7, the device sends real-time data to a smartphone app available for Android and iOS devices.
The hardware was designed and developed for TUMI by LugTrack, a New Jersey-based intelligent tracking specialist.
Lost luggage woes
Last year, more than 21.6 million bags were mishandled globally, according to a report by air travel technology specialist Sita and industry magazine Air Transport World. That’s 5.7 bags per 1,000 passengers.
Although airports and airline companies are investing in technology to tackle this problem, TUMI claims it has come up with a product that puts the power into the hands of customers, who can start tracking the second a journey begins.
That said, there’s a big difference between being able to pinpoint the location of your luggage and actually get your hands on it. In other words, there’s a good chance that customers using TUMI Global Locator will still face long queues at lost luggage desks if their bags go astray. And when they get to the front, it remains to be seen how customer service staff will respond to being told their bag is actually in Lisbon, if their systems are saying it’s in Luanda.
And if, by chance, their luggage has arrived at the correct location, tight airport security typically means they won’t be able to carry it away until it’s been loaded on to the carousel by behind-the-scenes baggage handlers.
What’s interesting about TUMI Global Locator is its four different modes, which rely on sensor technologies including an accelerometer. These modes are travel, sleep, hotel and proximity.
In ‘travel’ mode, the bag’s location is tracked every 20 to 30 minutes, building a history of where it’s been. To adhere to FAA requirements, however, the device is in ‘sleep’ mode during flights. Once the plane lands, it automatically wakes up and sends a notification to inform the user of its location. The ‘hotel’ mode enables the user to ensure that the bag stays in one location when they’re away from their room, while the ‘proximity’ mode uses Bluetooth technology to let travellers tether their bag to a mobile phone, ensuring the two don’t get separated and sending an alert if they do.