[dropcap size=big]L[/dropcap]ast year, more than 21 million bags were lost (if temporarily) by airlines globally. However, companies such as Tumi, which has launched its new luggage tracker, are working hard to design technology to reduce this problem.
For someone at the start of a holiday, discovering that their suitcase has not made it will not only be stressful but hugely inconvenient. They may have to wait days to be reunited with it, will have to go shopping for swim wear and toiletries, and then have the hassle of reclaiming these costs.
However, for a pricey US$200, you will now be able to buy Tumi’s Global Locator luggage tracker that will give you updates on the whereabouts of your bag after you have checked it in. It will not prevent airport ground handlers putting it on the wrong plane, but if it’s sitting on the tarmac or been picked up by the wrong person in Arrivals, you will have a better chance of getting it back quickly.
How does the Tumi luggage tracker work?
After packing it in your case, a built-in accelerometer means the device can operate in four modes: Travel, Sleep, Hotel and Proximity.
Travel mode automatically pinpoints your bag’s location every 20-30 minutes and builds a history of where it has been. In accordance with Federal Aviation Authority regulations, the Global Locator powers-down at take off to remain idle during the flight. Upon landing, the device wakes up and sends a notification to your smartphone.
Sleep mode is for during flight or at a time of your choosing. The luggage tracker will wake up on landing or after a short duration if not in flight.
Hotel mode allows you to set the place you are staying as a “Home Base”, so that if someone steals your case from your room (although this is very unlikely) you will be able to see where it is being taken.
Using Bluetooth technology, proximity mode lets you virtually tether your case to your smartphone. This could be handy if you are a backpacker in a hostel, someone travelling on a crowded train or asleep in an airport terminal because if someone picks it up, you will get an alert.
Tumi says that all personal information stored on the luggage tracker is “fully protected by the highest state-of-the-art layers of firewalls, specific authorization protocols and encryption”. Apart from the fact it’s quite expensive, you also have to pay for an annual service plan with AT&T, but for frequent flyers (based in the US-only right now) it could be worth it.
Joe Mosele, vice-president of business development for Internet of Things Solutions at telecoms company AT&T, says: “As the Internet of Things grows, consumers and businesses have a desire to remain connected in a bigger way than ever before, regardless of whether they are at home or on the go. By providing connectivity for the Tumi Global Locator, AT&T lets travellers around the world remain tapped into a more connected life.”