Alaska Airlines tests reusable electronic luggage tags

Alaska Airlines, the carrier that has tested solar-powered passenger ramps and fingerprint identification devices for passengers, is continuing to experiment.

The Seattle-based airline has begun testing an electronic, reusable luggage tag that is linked to a passenger’s Alaska Airlines mobile app.

Here’s how it works: Once you buy a ticket on Alaska and check in using the mobile app, the app asks whether you want to activate your electronic bag tag. When you turn on your electronic tag, the Bluetooth technology in your phone synchs with the tag and displays your flight’s destination on the tag’s tiny screen.

The goal of the tag and previous Alaska experiments is to make air travel more expedient, said Loesje Degroen, Alaska’s customer research and development manager.

Alaska began testing the electronic tag with 60 employees last summer and is now trying the technology with about 50 passengers. Later this year, Degroen said, the carrier plans to expand the test to about 500 passengers.

Some of Alaska’s experiments don’t pan out. Alaska still lets passengers use their fingerprints to access the airline’s five airport lounges, and the solar panels are still powering ramps at airports in San Jose, Palm Springs, Seattle and Portland, Ore.

But a test last summer to let passengers board using only their fingerprints for identification at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport ended without being expanded. Alaska officials would not call the test a failure, saying only that they will think of other ways to use biometrics.


Source: Los Angeles Times, March 27, 2016 -- Hugo Martin

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TAGS:   Luggage Tags, Technology Advances, trends


MasterCard moves forward with wearables

MasterCard has announced a partnership with Coin to bring MasterCard payments to a wide array of fitness bands, smart watches and other wearable devices. This collaboration builds upon the MasterCard's introduction in October of its Commerce for Every Device program, which aims to enable any consumer gadget, accessory or wearable as a payment device.

The first set of companies working with MasterCard and Coin to implement payment technology in their products are: Atlas Wearables, which designs advanced fitness trackers; Moov, "a personal fitness coach on your wrist"; and Omate, maker of fashionable smartwatches.

"The great thing about the MasterCard program is that we are adding payment functionality to items that consumers are already using – fitness bands, jewelry, clothing, watches," said Sherri Haymond, senior vice president of digital payments at MasterCard. "This makes the products more useful for consumers and enhances the value device manufacturers can deliver to their customers. Coin complements that approach and enables us to reach an expanded set of device partners."

Coin will provide hardware and software technology that can be integrated with the MasterCard Digital Enablement Service and embedded into devices, enabling manufacturers to quickly and easily implement payment functionality into their consumer products, the MasterCard announcement said.

Coin's Payment of Things platform serves as a turnkey product for the wearable/IoT industry. "Leveraging Coin's technology, device manufacturers will benefit from significantly reduced costs and time to market," said Kanishk Parashar, CEO and co-founder of Coin. "MasterCard is our essential partner as we team up to enable the wearable domain that is projected to grow to an astounding $53 billion by 2019."

Read article at Mobile Payments Today
Posted January 7, 2016


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TAGS:   trends, Wearables