More Than Cool Gadgets

More Than Cool Gadgets


The following suitcase

And everywhere the user went, the bag was sure to follow.

Luggage that follows you isn’t just sci-fi. Real life luggage has gone techno with Hop, a suitcase that stays at your heel. It uses three receivers that identify and triangulate signals from the user’s smartphone, a micro-controller and a caterpillar tread powered by compressed air to steer the bag in a constant distance from the smartphone.

If the signal is lost the user is alerted by the phone and the suitcase locks itself. If you’re not ready to take your eyes off your bag, triangulated signal tech could be modified to track baggage from point A to point B. It could even be used for internal office deliveries.

The-Following-Suitcase-Cool Gadgets

Our Expert Says

My first reaction is that it’s just another gimmick and that it will not have a market, but the usefulness grows on you the longer you consider the potential users of the product. To work in our market it must be a quality product, preferably associated with a quality brand, because it will not be for the mass market.

It will be a niche product for someone with a back problem, a person in a wheelchair or just that yuppie or distinguished lady that chooses to remain ladylike even when travelling. Price will not be the issue and the distributor/manufacturer would have to make their profits on the profit margin and not on the numbers sold. It should be in upmarket boutique type stores or travel shops.

Do not even try to stock the product in every kind of store.

The origami scooter

Give walking tours new reach

Fold up bicycles are nothing new, but they still require human power (and sweat) to get to where you want to go. But now an eco-friendly Hungarian automotive firm, Antro, has taken the fold-up bike to its next logical step and created a lightweight electric scooter that can be collapsed and carried like a rolling suitcase with an extendable handle and caster wheels.

The Moveo weighs 25kg, can travel up to 45km/h, and the battery charge is able to take it 35km. If you’re in the business of giving walking tours, this could be an ideal alternative for the mobility impaired tourist, or getting in that extra bit of sight-seeing.

Origami-Scooter-Cool Gadgets

Our Expert Says

Our cities are becoming more business travel friendly with various modes of public transport such as Gautrain, ReaVaya and even tuk-tuk services.  The one shortcoming is that these feeder systems do not always take you all the way from A to B and make you dependent on tight logistical planning.

This product offering is not unique and similar lightweight scooters are available, but maybe not as eco-friendly, aesthetically designed and easily transportable when not in use. It’s an attractive design and seemingly a practical solution for young professionals who need to move quickly around the city and between suburbs.

I can see a market for this as our cities become more gridlocked because of private transport. This will be a pricey niche product for the young professional who hates traffic delays and is a mover and a shaker.

Click, pack, relax

Storing your stuff has never been this easy.

Here’s how storage usually works. Find a storage facility that’s secure and affordable, and usually too big and expensive for a few boxes. Buy a load of boxes and packaging material, stuff boxes ‘til they’re too heavy to move, bribe a friend to help you carry them, and then do multiple loads unless you hire a vehicle to haul it — awesome weekend.

But here’s an idea from Chicago that is shaking things up. With Storage by the Box, you register online and receive boxes and material for free. You then print a unique label and tracking number, the packed box is picked up by FedEx and stored in a climate controlled, secure warehouse. And here’s the kicker, you never have to leave the house and you only pay for space used, saving you up to 60% on storage costs.

Storage-by-the-Box-Innovative Business Ideas

Our Expert Says

This is a solution that is already in use in South Africa for the office document warehousing and archiving market. It’s an excellent idea to also roll it out to the domestic market and to items other than documents in the commercial market. It will in the long run be much cheaper than renting a self-storage unit, because you only pay for the space and time used.

The convenience factor of not having to cart around your own stuff also makes it very attractive. It’s an excellent business opportunity for local entrepreneurs either providing the physical storage space, the transport or to be the broker who facilitates logistics.

It should be noted that removal companies do provide storage facilities on the same basis, but not necessarily in such small quantities and also not retrievable on a piecemeal basis.

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Tracy Lee Nicol
Tracy-Lee Nicol is an experienced business writer and magazine editor. She was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rhodes university in 2010, and in the time since has honed her business acumen and writing skills profiling some of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, franchisees and franchisors.Find her on Google+.