Luggage Is Getting Smarter

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Luggage Is Getting Smarter

Today’s world is in a state of perpetual motion – and luggage is getting smarter, stronger and lighter, according to Samsonite Europe President, Arne Borrey on a recent trip to South Africa.

According to Borrey, out of the 10 innovations in luggage over the past 15 years, they’ve had nine, resulting in products that are strong and light – just what the consumer wants. Samsonite’s exclusive revolutionary Curv® material is the generation composite made from highly drawn polypropylene rather than the conventional polypropylene and unites the functional versatility of thermoplastics and the impact-resistant performance of a fibre-reinforced composite.

Five times stronger than conventional materials, it delivers a suitcase that is light and durable, has high impact resistance even at low temperature and is less sensitive to scratches and damage.“If you are a long-haul traveller, you want to be really sure about the protection of your goods. Curv®-based products like Samsonite’s Cosmolite collection are perfect for that,” he said.

L-R: Tom O’Flaherty, Anre Borry, Gert Weyers and Rob Kunze

Borrey continues, “You have to understand trends and stay ahead of them – and then you also need to drive the trends. For starters, we need to know how fast a consumer will replace his or her suitcase. Millions of our suitcases were sold during the nineties. Because they are strong and well made, people could still travel with them. The big question is, do they want to?

Innovations soon come to market include:

  • Built-in scales that will tell the traveller how much a suitcase weighs.
  • Capacity meter to indicate whether a half, a third or all of the volume has been utilised.
  • Telemetry tags will help solve the perennial bugbear of lost suitcases.

According to Borrey, in 2015, 23.1 million pieces of baggage were mishandled (either temporarily or permanently lost) worldwide. Earlier this year, Samsonite announced that it was working closely with Vodafone to develop an innovative luggage tracking solution called Track&Go™ based on two principles: proximity alerts and geolocation. A traveller instantly receives a smartphone notification when a bag moves out of range. This is ideal for cruise, bus or train passengers wishing to leave their suitcases in a compartment. If a bag is lost, a traveller will be able to see its current location so that it can be traced.

Borrey said that he is currently travelling with a TUMI luggage locator that will launch later this year, which informs the passenger whether a suitcase has been loaded on to a plane. When the plane takes off, the acceleration turns the device off. On landing, the deceleration reactivates the device. He explains, “You have to give your suitcase a name online. It then sends you a message to say that it has arrived at the destination.” He added that there was a growing stream of innovation in the luggage space including power-assisted wheels similar to those used on bicycles, and they are looking into how to put solar panels or power banks inside business bags without making them too expensive and too heavy.

When it comes to aesthetics, Borrey said Samsonite was going all out to solve the ultimate business traveller challenge – creating a business bag for the growing number of female executives that are travelling between boardrooms. “Even today, we still sell mostly male-oriented business bags. Many women put their computers in their handbags. That makes them awfully heavy and they’re not make for that,” he noted. Meanwhile, Samsonite has just launched a stylish range of women’s business cases – Zalia by Samsonite – and more business cases for women are coming.

Another important new trend is the personalisation of luggage. TUMI shops worldwide – including the one in Johannesburg – allow customers to put their initials or symbols on their luggage and bags. They choose the font and the colour and it is done in store as an incentive to purchase. For more information, visit www.houseofsamsonite.co.za

RELATED ARTICLE: New International SOS System, TravelTracker

Source and photograph: Samsonite. Image: Pixabay

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