AT&T and TUMI, a company aimed at making life easier for travelers, have announced a service that provides precise locations of luggage and travel bags.
The key to the offering is the TUMI Global Locator. It is a small and light (4.33 inches x 2.55 inches x 0.83 inches and 150 grams) device that is placed in the bag. It uses AT&T’s Internet of Things (IoT) network to report its location. The device, the press release says , provides updates via GPS, GSM, WiFi and Bluetooth. Free mobile reporting applications are available for Android and iOS devices.
The technology was designed and developed by LugTrack. It operates in four modes (travel, sleep, hotel and proximity) and builds a record of where the bag has been. Such a service likely will be welcome: The press release says that 2.16 million bags were “mishandled” globally last year. Helping avert such annoyances is a great way for carriers to endear themselves to their subscribers.
The emergence of the IoT opens a world of such useful niche applications. Many are what network operators and marketers refer to as “sticky” because they likely will please subscribers and therefore be more likely to stick with their network and perhaps spend more money per month.
The establishment of low power and narrowband IoT network overlays means that barriers to entry for such services are lower. Therefore, the opportunities to introduce these consumer- and business-friendly services essentially are limitless. For instance, the same basic network technology can be used to report on whether the temperatures in refrigerated containers on a truck are within pre-established parameters. Likewise, it is possible to use such connectivity – perhaps linked to artificial intelligence platforms – to identify drivers whose patterns suggest they are impaired or drowsy.
It is important for vendors and network service providers to understand that the value of small services can outweigh their cost. An AT&T subscriber finding out that her bag is heading to Hong Kong while she is preparing to fly to Detroit — and providing her with a window in which to do something about it — may be more effective than thousands of dollars in advertising in keeping her happy.
The TUMI Global Locator lists for $200 at TUMI stores at the company’s website.