Who makes smart luggage?
Smart luggage looks cool — where do I buy it from?
It’s a valid question and not as simple as you might first think. While undoubtably the luggage you should be buying for now and the future, buying smart luggage isn’t without issue.
Smart luggage has had several incidents of brands over promising and under delivering — and some outright scams facilitated by online crowdfunding platforms!
To be sure you’re getting a great deal, make sure you buy from a reputable seller. Here’s an overview of some key players in the smart luggage arena, and they fall into two categories:
Brands you may not have heard of previously who have entered the luggage market solely with smart luggage offerings.
Think: Young, tech-focused and instagrammable!
The old timers
More ‘traditional’ brands you may be familiar with.
These are older brands such as Samsonite, or Delsey who have made luggage for decades — or even centuries in some instances! — and are now shifting towards smart luggage.
New smart luggage brands for 2021
With smart luggage only being a 21st century invention, most of these brands will be less than a decade old.
That doesn’t mean that they don’t offer great products, though. The following brands are new upstarts that combine sleek minimalist looks with modern tech, giving luggage a well-deserved makeover.
There are several advantages from buying from a modern “smart luggage only” brand:
- Their products are designed as integrated smart luggage from the beginning, and are not traditional suitcases with minor adaptations
- They have a fresh and modern take on luggage, often providing great value as they sell direct to consumers without physical stores
- Frequently started as crowdfunding campaigns: these new smart luggage brands have a history of listening to what their customers want, and developing new smart cases and features in accordance with user feedback
Here’s 4 smart luggage brands to watch in 2021
Founded in 2015, Horizn Studios is a Berlin-based smart luggage company. While starting as an online only retailer, Horizn Studios offer great products but also the security of trading as a bricks and mortar retailer.
They offer four tiers of product:
- Essential — their sleek cases without smart features
- Smart — Horizn’s “default” range of smart luggage
- Horizn ID — completely customisable smart luggage
- Special editions and pro smart cases in collaboration with brands such as BMW and NASA
As a dedicated smart luggage company, the majority (75%+) of Horizn’s luggage is smart luggage. Dedicated device storage options and removable batteries feature in their standard range.
As of 2020, they have physical stores in Berlin and London, and display their products in Harrods.
So if you are a fan of the latest smart luggage but also like getting hands-on with products before committing to buying them, Horizn Studios provide.
Another company founded in 2015 — this time in New York — Away is a luggage company aiming to do things differently.
Their aim was to sell “first-class luggage at a coach price” by cutting out the middleman and marketing directly to consumers.Away Travel — The Verge
Branding themselves as more than just a luggage company, Away offer a range of accessories to go with their smart luggage. The instagram-obsessed company has embraced technology from the beginning — with influencer led marketing and remote working the norm.
The luggage they offer is sleek and customisable, albeit entry level in terms of smart features. They have a range of cases with dedicated storage for laptops, and their cases have the option to come as smart luggage with rechargeable batteries — or as a less expensive option without the batteries.
ForwardX — OVIS
Arguably the most “Smart” of any smart luggage company on this list, OVIS currently only offer one product, in a range of colours.
As an offshoot from an AI company known as ForwardX OVIS go a step beyond traditional smart luggage, offering a case that is autonomous and self powered.
Founded in 2016 by Nicolas Chee, ForwardX Robotics is a company with huge technological prowess — now powering most of the autonomous robots in JD.com’s warehouses among other major logistics companies.
OVIS was founded through venture capital and crowdfunding website Indiegogo and is famous as the suitcase that follows you. With the company at the forefront of tech innovation — and the first generation case OVIS already surpassing rivals with its smart features — it will be interesting to see the innovation their second generation products will bring.
Plevo are another company with crowdfunded beginnings — debuting on Kickstarter in 2018. The American-based company have since expanded, now selling directly from their website and offering additional ranges of products such as smart duffle bags and smart backpacks.
Self branded as “The World’s Most Innovative Smart Luggage” Plevo currently have a “series-1” branded line of 3 smart baggage cases — and all are exceptionally smart!
With fingerprint unlocking, GPS tracking and self weighing features all as standard, this brand is a great compromise between top of the range autonomous luggage and more basic smart luggage with “just” dedicated device storages and rechargeable batteries.
3 traditional luggage brands offering smart luggage
With the rise of smart luggage — the industry was worth $630 million in 2016 and forecast to grow very rapidly — it is unsurprising to now see established luggage brands moving to the sector.
While arriving slightly late to the smart luggage party — there are advantages from buying from one of these larger travel brands.
They have a vast amount of experience in getting the basics right. While they may not be as technologically advanced, yet, the major brands have decades of experience manufacturing cases and know what works in regard to sturdy handles, secure wheels, and lightweight but strong cases.
In addition, you get the security of having a bricks and mortar presence, and longstanding history — it’s unlikely Delsey will go disappear and not be able to issue you replacement wheels in 2 years, it’s been around since 1946!
Here’re three brands with a wealth of experience that are beginning to grow their presence in the smart luggage sector.
Samsonite need no introduction, the USA-based brand started in 1910!
Now the largest luggage manufacturer on the planet, it has begun to start introducing smart suitcases into its vast range.
Their initial offering, the Samsonite Pixon ticks several boxes and shows that the traditional brands can also compete in the tech stakes.
This luggage is arguable more smart than some newer brands, and includes one of the most useful features — inbuilt luggage scales.
So far, Samsonite have taken a more incremental step towards smart luggage, adding features like dedicated spaces for battery packs and USB cabling, but leaving the customer to provide their rechargeable battery pack of choice.
Their PRODIGY suitcase range expands on the original Pixon line, with additional features like spaces for GPS tracking tags and this time an inbuilt battery. Samsonite is certainly a traditional manufacturer to watch for the development of smart bags in 2021.
Famous for providing cases to airline staff — Travelpro boast over 90 Airlines and frequent travellers use their cases.
This staple of the aviation industry — originally started by a 747 pilot — now offer smart options to their luggage. Like other established brands, TravelPro have eased themselves into the smart luggage industry. Instead of starting out with fully smart bags with integrated tech, they have been opting to more traditional bags but with pouches, inbuilt wires and storage for your tech. The bags can then be furthered with a range of smart accessories, like GPS luggage tags and smart luggage weighing straps.
- Travelpro bolstered their prowess in the smart luggage market by acquiring Bluesmart in 2018— a leading smart luggage upstart with $2 million in crowdfunding.
- Bluesmart had a wealth of smart luggage technology and patents, with their downfall really only being a result of TSA travel restrictions impacting their latest project at the wrong time.
- Now TravelPro have obtained the tech Bluesmart were developing — including inbuilt GPS tracking, anti-theft alarms and digital locks — TravelPro look set to expand on their smart luggage lines in 2021.
French luggage and travel accessory company Delsey are arguably one of the world’s most famous. Founded in 1946, and still based out of Paris, Delsey now are the second largest luggage manufacturer in the world and sell their bags across six continents!
Delsey took an interesting route into launching their first smart luggage in 2018 — they asked the internet!
Something a bit unusual for a mass brand, the resulting Delsey Pluggage was entirely developed from traveller feedback.
This meant that while Delsey were quite late to joining to the smart luggage market, they managed to produce a great first offering full of useable tech features. Alongside fingerprint scanning locks, international tracking, inbuilt scales, and a battery for device charging Delsey also produced a mobile app.
This app allowed for another innovative feature demanded by business travellers — baggage alert tracking. Not only does the suitcase alert you if it gets out of range, but it also alerts you when it has arrived at the baggage carousel ready to be collected.
2018’s Delsey Pluggage cases are no longer on sale, but a new smart case release in 2021 is hotly awaited!