AT&T tracking device would help you find your luggage

AT&T researchers showded off a 3G luggage-tracking device that highlights the company's push into machine-to-machine communication

AT&T's luggage tracking app

AT&T's luggage tracking app

AT&T researchers have developed a "smart luggage" tracker that would help travelers find their bags, showing off the device during an event that also highlighted the company's push into the Internet of Things.

The tracking device, which fits inside or is attached to luggage, pinpoints the location of a bag in real time. Users could track the movement of their luggage through software on a mobile device, said David Marten, principal hardware designer at the company's machine-to-machine foundry, during the AT&T Innovation Showcase Friday in New York.

For example, if a bag doesn't arrive at an airport baggage claim area, a user could map out where it is in the airport. It could also tell if the bag is in another city.

The application could also send text messages at specific intervals for when a bag lands and the tracking device could also light up a bag at lost-and-found or on a carousel. The tracker in the bag could work internationally by connecting to other 3G-compatible networks.

The tracker is a prototype that Marten said illustrates how AT&T's network could be used in devices. It's part of a larger move to boost the company's presence in the Internet of Things space, where data-collecting sensors and instruments are connected.

"When it will be a marketable device, we don't know yet," Marten said.

AT&T also showed off a number of projects where connected devices automate mundane tasks. For example, after a car pulls into a driveway, a sensor device automatically sends instructions to switch on air conditioning, shut off the security system or switch on lights. The services are being researched for integration into AT&T's Digital Life home automation and security system.

AT&T wants to be a broker for sensor devices to exchange information over its wired and wireless networks, said Marian Croak, senior vice president of applications and services infrastructure at the company.

The demonstrations were part of what the company calls rapid prototyping, where ideas are tested and deployed in quick time, Croak said. As more sensor and wearable devices connect to the Internet, the company is building out network capacity, virtualizing networks and adding Wi-Fi networks and small cells to handle the increased communication.

AT&T is also making changes at the data-center level, switching from proprietary hardware to commodity hardware so software-defined networks are easier to deploy, Croak said.

There is sensitivity to latency for specific applications like voice and video, but the improvements will progressively become visible to customers, Croak said. For example, companies will be able to assign levels of bandwidth to specific applications or departments.

"It's not only that the applications will become faster, but applications can be customized to your liking," Croak said.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags consumer electronicsat&t

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?