The story of travelling with intelligence
If there is something that has become more and more common among us, it is enjoying the pleasure of travelling. Exponential technological progress has helped to create the necessary conditions so that taking an airplane flight is no longer something exclusive to the wealthier classes, nor is it as bureaucratic a process as it was in previous decades.
Today, booking a ticket is as easy as logging on to the Web, browsing through the available options and paying with a simple credit card. And at that very moment is when the anxiety begins, since we have to have everything ready for when that date arrives, and one of the most stressful yet exciting things to do is to pack our luggage.
If we travel to another country or continent, we want to carry dozens of objects, and we cannot always because of the rules that limit luggage weight. Not to mention if we have to travel to the opposite hemisphere and we end up carrying clothes for all the climatic adversities that may arise.
To cope with this process, which is not easy at all, technology once again offers its services to make things easier for us. This is how smart luggage was born. Its birth dates back to about a decade ago. The company Bluesmart was born in Argentina through a successful Crowdfunding campaign, which achieved record pre-sales, receiving orders from more than 100 countries when the idea was still conceptual, and a working prototype had not been manufactured.
The need to create the first smart luggage arose after one of the founders of Bluesmart suffered firsthand the traumatic process of losing a suitcase during one of his trips. At that moment, he was certain that it was necessary to insert technology into what until now, had been a silly box and, together with two friends, projected a dream.
So it was that after several prototypes, they managed to successfully launch the Bluesmart One model, which included things such as a laptop and cell phone charger, GPS tracking, a digital scale with access from an app, Bluetooth, and USB connectors, and very useful functionality. Practice that allowed us to lock and unlock the opening of the suitcase from the app, and even an automatic lock that was executed when the luggage was out of the range of our Bluetooth.
However, Bluesmart’s dream would not last long since it coincided with the time when some electronic devices began to have extreme overheating problems, and reports of smartphones whose batteries caught fire did not take long to arrive. Given these events, an emergency regulation was created that affected commercial flights and dictated that all electronic devices travelling on the plane should have a removable battery.
Unfortunately, Bluesmart had been conceived with an integrated lithium battery, which caused it to be banned. This reason led the company to close its doors since it could not deal with the constant returns from its customers and, at the same time, invest in generating new prototypes with removable batteries. Today the Bluesmart is considered a cult suitcase since it was not only the first but also included so many features that it marked the roadmap for all those companies that ventured later. For this reason, the most nostalgic and technology enthusiasts continue to search for it on sites like eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY).
Bluesmart’s short but successful path opened the doors to a new market and laid the foundations for other adventurers to take over and continue innovating. So today, we can find models from big brands such as Samsonite, Travelers, Victorinox or the multifaceted Xiaomi that add more and more technology not only in the electronic part but also in construction by using materials such as carbon, aluminum and magnesium, among others, and 360º turning wheels with suspension included.
Special mention deserves the company OVIS, which decided to go a little further, adding artificial intelligence algorithms to its suitcases, so that they are capable of autonomously pursuing their owner and not only avoiding objects in their path but also recognizing each one of them.
The truth is that the current market is vast, and it all started just a few years ago with the help of a start-up born exclusively to cover a specific need. Companies have understood the essential importance of luggage for travellers, and little by little, they are adding more functionalities that increasingly increase that symbiosis that exists between a suitcase and its owner.
Light, indestructible, rechargeable, traceable and now also autonomous, smart suitcases evolve with the limits of the imagination. Perhaps one day, they will be able to notify us when we are forgetting an important object or even generate a report of its content to speed up the inspection process at airports.
The truth is that technology once again infiltrates an area in which it seemed that everything had already been invented and opens up endless possibilities so that carrying a suitcase stops being merely a weight to carry.