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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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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

Use the page links below to continue reading about Tan’s visions.

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entries via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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