Crowdfunding is quickly becoming a proving ground for new design concepts in fashion and tech, and luggage has recently been an area of great progress. The industry has been fueled by stricter regulations and smaller overhead bins in the aviation world, coupled with new, mobile technologies and smartphone-enabled consumers. As a result, a new generation of smart luggage is rolling towards the market, flush on a wave of well funded Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns.
So far, the most popular option has come from a company called Bluesmart. In an Indiegogo campaign wrapped up earlier this year, the team of east coast and South American scientists raised over $1.36 million to bring their concept to the market, complete with onboard scale, GPS, a remote lock and a battery for charging mobile devices. With a delivery target of mid 2015, Bluesmart is still taking preorders through their crowdfunding hub.
Still active are two Kickstarter campaigns with similar product features.
Trunkster’s concept uses similar GPS and onboard scale technologies to Bluesmart in a smart-luggage design, only they’ve patented a new access mechanism similar to a countertop bread box. With over a month to go in their crowdfunding campaign, they’ve raised just over $400,000. Delivery on those devices is also slated for the middle of 2015.
Fugu, an Israeli based project, shirks the technical gizmos and instead focuses on an inflatable design to set them apart. In addition to operating both as a carry-on and a checked bag, the expandable form factor allows clothing to be stored as shelves within the body of luggage, replicating the feel of a home shelving system.
Fugu’s campaign wraps up later this week and has already raised just short of $400,000. They also plan to deliver in the middle of next year.
Given the progress on the horizon, it’s also important to remember the nature of these crowdfunding campaigns. While most efforts end up in a deliverable product, it’s not uncommon for significant delays to creep into the manufacturing and shipping timelines. Consumers are therefore encouraged to carefully consider their goals before setting aside the funds and committing to a long term crowdfunding campaign. But for those with some time and a little bit of cash to spare, the next generation of smart luggage looks amazing.
Posted from : http://www.forbes.com/sites/grantmartin/2014/12/09/next-generation-of-smart-luggage-comes-to-consumers-through-crowdfunding/