KPN unveils tracking technology for air luggage

Dutch telecoms incumbent KPN is teaming up with Fast Track Company and Air France/KLM/Delta Airlines on the development of new M2M tracking services designed to ensure air passengers do not lose their luggage.

In a statement, the operator said it was collaborating with its partners on two innovations for easier tracking and tracing of luggage.

eTrack, the first of those innovations, is described as a compact device that will track the location of a suitcase or travel bag using GPS and cellular technology.

Using an eTrack app, which has been designed to meet international guidelines for the use of GSM and radio signals on board planes, passengers can track the luggage accurately, says KPN (The Hague, Netherlands).

The operator says eTrack can also be used to prevent theft by connecting the luggage piece to the owner’s smartphone via Bluetooth.

As soon as the owner moves a certain distance away from the luggage, an alarm will sound on the smartphone.

eTag, the second of the two innovations, is an electronic luggage tag featuring e-ink displays that can be used in conjunction with the right barcode and flight information during online check-in.

The technology allows passengers to arrange their own luggage tags as well as their boarding passes – speeding up the check-in process and reducing waiting time at the airport terminal.

Passengers can inscribe eTag with eTrack, and the flight information can be stored on a built-in RFID chip.

The companies say they plan to commercialize the services this autumn, while Samsonite has indicated it will integrate eTag and eTrack technology in a limited-edition suitcase it is due to release.