What is smart luggage?

There is some confusion around what smart luggage actually is.

Smart luggage is still really in its infancy. As with any emerging new product, definitions change as the product matures and continues to develop — so while this snapshot will be relevant for smart luggage in 2021, in the future it could change significantly.

In this short post we’ll look at the meaning of smart luggage by looking at the industry standard definition, and then we’ll expand on this and see what is currently considered smart luggage.

IATA international air transport association logo

Smart luggage definition

IATA is the International Air Transport Association — they are the guys and girls that run international aviation and help set the rules regarding air travel.

They give their definition of smart luggage as follows:

Smart luggage is luggage that contains a battery used to power itself or to recharge other devices. The phrase “smart” refers to the additional capabilities that the bag offers as a result of having this power supply.

IATA — Smart Luggage

What is considered smart luggage?

Like any recent tech, progress and development have been quick and the smart bags that will be sold in 2021 are very different to just a few short years ago.

With smart luggage adapting and increasing in complexity over the years, so have the considerations of what smart luggage actually is. PC Mag have a more up-to-date definition than IATA above, defining smart luggage as:

A suitcase that has built-in electronics for one or more purposes. Examples are USB charging ports, a built-in scale or TSA-approved lock, as well as the ability to transmit its location via GPS and cellular.

PC Mag — Smart luggage definition

The difference in wording is subtle, but highlights how more is demanded from luggage manufacturers now before their products can be classed as smart luggage. Basically, it’s no longer enough to simply have a rechargeable battery in a suitcase to charge your gadgets and call it ‘smart luggage’.

Suitcases and travel gear are now only really considered smart if they also have inbuilt features to the bag itself.

These features range from advanced digital locks — activated by fingerprint or smartphone — to sophisticated apps that display the cases exact weight and GPS location.

Here is a more in-depth look at four key features offered in smart luggage in 2021.

Basic Smart Luggage features

  • Digital locks
  • Removable device charging
  • Dedicated gadget storage and quick access
  • GPS tracking tags

While the bar to entry for being considered smart luggage has been raised, it’s not just at the lower end of the market that smart luggage has improved.

Advanced Smart Luggage Features

  • Inbuilt HD Cameras
  • Self-weighing
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Motorised suitcases
  • Self following technology

Top-of-the-range smart luggage has become increasingly sophisticated and innovation has continued rapidly.

More advanced smart suitcases are closer to a robot than to a traditional suitcase. There are inbuilt HD cameras allowing facial recognition for unlocking: motors for self propulsion, and a wealth of artificial intelligence for object detection.

So, even if you’re not following the developments of smart luggage — smart luggage might end up following you!