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07 Sep 2015

Bag Tracking - improving the traveller experience one tag at a time

By Darrin Grafton, Serko CEO.

From a vision back in 2009, to a patent in 2013 and reality in 2015, Serko has now released our very very cool Bag Tracking technology, which makes travelling for business that little bit better.

With travel, experience is everything. What business travellers look for in new technology is the ‘wow factor’, the buzz, the smile when they find something that just works. And that’s what our new bag tracking solution does.

As business people, we typically travel with one or maybe two bags. Sometimes we check them in, sometimes we carry them on. Either way, knowing that your bag is on the plane and knowing when it’s going to appear on the carousel is a real benefit. And for the odd times when you’ve got multiple bags, being alerted when you’ve left one behind is gold.

This process started out as real world SNAFU for me. I arrived in Sydney and collected my bag from the carousel – with the same green ribbon wound around the handle and an Air NZ baggage tag that I’ve used for years. I then headed to my hotel ahead of an important meeting to discover that someone else had packed an identical black bag with a green ribbon tied around the handle….. I panicked, rang Air New Zealand and discovered that the lady who had my bag had just arrived back at the airport in search of her belongings. So in 2009 I set about building a patent around bag detection, monitoring and notification, as I never ever wanted to experience that feeling of panic again.

Jump forward 6 years. Now imagine walking onto your flight and your mobile phone buzzes to tell you your bag is on board. Imagine standing back in the baggage claim hall waiting for your mobile to tell you that it’s ready to be collected. Imagine your mobile telling you that you’ve left your bag behind. Well, that’s what we’ve done with Serko Mobile. And it’s way cooler than I could ever have imagined.

I spent last week in Sydney meeting with some of our partners and prospects. The reactions were brilliant. Some of the prospects we talked to wanted to know how quickly they could move to Serko as they thought it was that cool. Some people think it’s a gimmick which is fine by me, as cool gimmicks are still cool and it only takes one mistake and this gimmick will save you a heap of time and remove any hassle.

My litmus test for tech is whether people want to show their family and friends, and there’s no doubt that this tech passes with flying colours. Even my kids want to show their friends when they come over, so it must be cool, right? In fact it’s turned into a 21st century version of hide and seek. When you get this reaction to tech you know you’ve solved a real problem that people will use and value for a long time to come – regardless of how ‘smart’ luggage gets!

Bag tags will be available to order online shortly, or if you’re lucky your Travel Agency will give you a couple of tags for your luggage. If you are anything like me and you simply can’t wait, then you can always come in and see the technology working here at Serko and if you ask nicely we might even give you one to take away.

The Bag Tracking technology is available on iOS and will become available later on Android. It will be available to download from App Store in late September in an upcoming release of Serko Mobile.

You do not require a premium Serko Mobile subscription for access to Bag Tracker but you will need to have a Serko account to use it. So if you don't have one then switch to the technology that is changing the way you experience travel... This is just one part of an ongoing journey where Serko is bringing the future of travel to you. Destination = SERKO.

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