For all airline passengers, the online check-in is the most natural thing in the world. We have already forgotten how time consuming the manual check-in actually was. So it was time for a new efficiency step, NXP‘s Erik Harkes thought. Not only at the check-in of the flight, but also when the luggage had to be picked up. He devised a way with which the baggage not only could be checked in and picked up faster, but in doing so also solved another problem on the way: no more lost suitcases.

Erik Harkes is a pioneer with a passion for creating innovative products and services that contribute to better customer experience in air-travel. He is one of the founding fathers of the display-enabled smart card and inventor of the display enabled bag tag.

Harkes, on the NXP-blog:

“Despite the increased digitisation of airlines services, I still find myself forced to wait, boarding card in hand, for a frustrating half an hour in the ‘baggage drop’ queue. Standing in that queue I have thought to myself, “There must be a way to make travel smarter. What if a bag drop was actually a place where you could just drop your bag and be on your way?”

This is when I came up with the idea of the BAGTAG, a device that reduces the baggage drop process to just 8 seconds. Yes, you read that right, 8 seconds.”

The Bag Tag is, according Harkes, the world’s first secure electronic tag and can ultimately replace the traditional paper tag. The device with an e-paper screen can permanently stay on the case and be updated for each trip, depending on destination. The traveler “fills in” the display using his smartphone with Bluetooth or NFC chip. The application is suitable for every airline and the battery has a lifespan of at least five years.

According to statistics some 24 million pieces of luggage get lost every year. With the bagtag this no longer is the case, Harkes thinks. Passengers get push notifications on their smartphone to indicate the exact location of the luggage, for example when it comes out of the plane.

“Since that first idea, borne of a simple travel frustration, it’s been a long journey to the creation of the BAGTAG. But I am pleased to say we are finally due to start production in the third quarter of this year so look out for the BAGTAG at an airport near you.”

NXP is a multinational with its origins at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven.

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.