The age of the connected bag is here : The internet used to be all about us. Companies building websites for their customers; friends gossiping over email; music fans posting to messageboards. Sure, there were servers and cables and routers in the middle, but at either end of the interaction was a person.
How things have changed.
Increasingly, humans share cyberspace with internet-connected devices: the world is becoming the web. Laced with sensors and tiny computers, everything from weather stations to running shoes chatter away to each other without us noticing – that is, until their algorithms deem it necessary to bring something to our attention.
The “internet of things”, as this new paradigm is known, is beginning to transform travel. Exhibit A: the Bagmotic concept from luxury Italian leather brand Piquadro. This innovative set of bags – which comprises a laptop rucksack from the Black Square line, plus a computer backpack and a trolley from the Coleos ranges – has been designed with connectivity firmly in mind. In the most immediate sense, they can keep your phone charged: simply drop the handset into a special pocket and it will start juicing-up wirelessly from a powerpack concealed within. And if your phone doesn’t support wireless charging? No bother – there’s a USB socket as a fallback.
So far so helpful, but what makes these bags “smart” is their ability to communicate with you. So, that internal battery – it’s no good if it’s empty, which is why the bag will send you information about its charging level and warn you when it’s low. What’s more, there’s the tracker in the battery pack, with an impressive range of 30 metres. If you leave your bag behind, or – worse – someone steals it, you’ll get an alert. All of these notifications are funnelled through Piquadro’s proprietary app, Connequ, which can sit on a smartwatch or smartphone and acts as the hub for the whole ecosystem.
It is a great example of the internet of things done well. There’s always a tendency when new technology emerges for manufacturers to hyper-apply it – just because you can use it in a product, doesn’t mean you should. You can now buy toothbrushes, say, that come with their own app – but do you really need a log of how many times you have brushed your teeth? It’s hard to see the use-case. The Bagmotic line, however, is a response to two very real travel woes: missing luggage and dead phones. It also, crucially, doesn’t let its high-tech functions compromise its style: no point having a bag you can’t lose if you don’t want to be seen with it in the first place. The laptop backpack, for instance, is an elegant creation defined by sleek lines and the unmistakable finish of full-grain cowhide.
And take a glance at the Coleos computer backpack: you would never guess its final, highly-evolved secret. It contains LEDs that can be activated via the app to function as a tail light for cyclists. These are integrated into the design so discreetly as to be invisible when switched off. After all, wearables have to be wearable, right?
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