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MWC: Samsonite wants IoT to track its luggage

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Samsonite announced a collaboration with Vodafone to develop its luggage tracking solution – Track&Go – at this year’s Mobile World Congress.

Missing or permanently lost luggage is the nightmare of every traveller. Samsonite says it has been creating innovative travel solutions for over 100 years and now “wants to help mediate the problem of lost luggage”.

“Therefore our innovation team is closely following all developments on smart luggage and the technologies available in the market,” it said in a statement released during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week.

“An important step in this process is to work with leading technology companies. That’s why Samsonite is very happy to be trialling a new longer battery life, wider range technology called Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) with Vodafone, as an additional option for their Track&Go solution.”

Track&Go is a device that can be put into your travel or business bag, and can easily and privately be tracked by its owner. This technology will allow a new generation of telemetry tags to be built which are less intrusive and more efficient, using less power so can accommodate smaller batteries with a longer life.

The Track&Go solution is based on two principles: proximity alerts and geolocation. Thanks to the proximity alerts integration, users can instantly receive a smartphone notification when their bag gets out of their range. This will enable them to leave luggage in a dedicated compartment, while still enjoying their trip without any stress, for instance when travelling by train.

Accent Systems has built the Bluetooth Low Energy beacon inside the suitcase which use the Ephemeral Identifier (EID) recently released by Google. In a traveling context, this will help users to recover your luggage without taking the risk of being identified by malicious third parties. All that the traveller has to do is register as the owner of the luggage on the Travlr app from Samsonite, allowing it to start sending encrypted and rotating IDs.

This new proof of concept test with NB-IoT will look into the future possibilities of geolocation. It would make it possible to track valuables, anytime, anyplace. In case the bag gets lost, its owner will be able to see its current location and the necessary contact details to get belongings back, if applicable.

“Since technology is changing constantly, Samsonite will continue the research and development of user-centered solutions and new technologies that help the travel industry achieve their goal when it comes to mishandled bags and which will further improve your travel experience,” the company said. “The travel industry is very sensitive to safety and security, therefore our primary intention is to be compliant with all airline regulations in place, while bringing a reliable solution for the consumer.”

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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