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Atara Dzikowski of Samsara Luggage: The Future of Air Travel in The Post Covid World

Prior to the pandemic, international travel experienced vast growth. People could get anywhere in just a matter of hours, which is essentially what caused the coronavirus to spread so quickly. Because travel was a key player in spreading the virus, I expect that precautionary measures will continue to be severe.

As part of our series about “The Future Of Air Travel”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Atara Dzikowski.

Atara Dzikowski is the Co-founder and CEO of Samsara Luggage, a company that combines functional design with innovative technology to develop smart travel products. She started the company in 2017 with the launch of a smart carry-on suitcase and has continued to expand the company’s product line to service the changing travel landscape. Atara has extensive senior level managerial experience in development and public affairs, specializing in the fields of art and design.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

One day my partner and Co-founder of Samsara Luggage, David Dahan, came home frustrated from an arduous business trip filled with all the common annoyances from traveling. He said something that resonated and changed the course of my career path.

“I want my luggage to work for me,” he said.

In that moment we decided to merge my design management experience with his knowledge of technology to develop a suitcase that did just that — work for you.

We developed a suitcase that would make the journey easier, especially for business travelers that spent a good portion of their lives constantly moving from different cities, states, and countries.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

When Samsara was at the ideation stage, we did a call for submissions from designers at varying experience levels. We were reviewing the countless submissions we received and noticed that everyone was creating products that didn’t go far enough in differentiating us in the vast marketplace. All the designs coming in looked like what already existed, and we were looking to stand out.

While working in the art and design world I met a very young design student named Or-David Shachar. He was attending the renowned Royal College of Art in London, studying car design. When I met him, he was selling sketches of vehicles that really captured his artistic talents and unique eye for innovative design.

I contacted him about bringing his skills in designing cars to suitcases. We designed a smart ergonomic suitcase that doubled as an on-the-go workstation with a flat top surface to securely hold laptops. The aluminum exterior looked as sleek as a race car. His vision for the suitcase was forward-thinking and exactly what we wanted our brand to exemplify.

Samsara Luggage is a travel brand that will lead the way into the future of travel.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

It was a steaming hot August day the first time I visited China for business purposes. There was no air conditioning in the board room that my meeting was being held in. After the initial introductions I was offered a hot cup of tea! I politely refused the tea. There were translators in the room that quickly informed me that drinking tea is customary as part of every business meeting. It’s seen as an essential part of closing a successful business deal, something I was completely unaware of.

Moral of the story is before visiting any foreign country, deepen your understanding of a country’s business and social customs.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? Can you share a story about that?

Spend a good amount of time seeing new things that are outside of your professional world. These experiences help you get into the right mindset to inspire you at work. Resting your mind is an essential part of thriving at work.

For me, art and travel help me avoid burn out. Art helps me see things through the eyes of another artist. The creative mind is fascinating and somehow just observing someone else’s masterpiece helps keep me motivated and inspired.

Travel instantly helps me not fear being out of my comfort zone. That’s the space you should always be in to do your job well. Traveling instantly forces us to hear new languages, eat different cuisines and navigate a new frontier. Letting go of fears of the unknown can help you in every element of your life, especially at work.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

It’s important for young girls to see for themselves that the ceiling is truly made of glass. My grandmother was the role model that helped me see this at a very young age. Growing up in Australia, my grandmother was the first woman appointed to a professorial position in her field of bacteriology. It was uncommon back then for a woman to even exist in this field of study, much less hold a superior position. It was also rare for a working woman to work and raise a family of her own. My grandmother showed me that there are no limits and even if you don’t see yourself represented in a particular space, that doesn’t mean the door isn’t open for you to enter.

Can you share with our readers how have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

My son attends a premiere art school that attracts marquee students in music, dance, performing arts, etc. We wanted to ensure that all students with exceptional talent had access to the resources this school provided, regardless of economic background. I helped raise a fund for artists with the talents, but not necessarily the funds to attend this school.

As a company, we honor the importance of young talent to take us into the future. Part of our brand DNA is to bring solutions to the world that makes exploration easier. We are happy to participate in making the world a better place both through our initiatives and our products.

Thank you for that. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the Aviation and Air Travel industries?

We are bringing IoT technology to the travel industry. Emerging technologies are enabling new IoT applications and devices. These innovations along with advances in hardware and software are going to change the nature of travel and birth new connected devices that will transform the entire experience. This essentially means we are stepping into a new age in travel where smart luggage will be getting smarter and becoming the norm.

Cell phones were once relegated to a select few tech junkies or used as a status symbol, but in time they found their way into the mainstream. Apple was the company that made cell phones accessible. We are trying to do the same with smart luggage. As the tech and design features evolve and the needs of travelers’ change, smart luggage becomes more of a travel essential than a luxury item.

Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing these innovations?

Travel should not be a hassle but an effortless experience. We saw that the standard suitcase was more of a nuisance than a product that would work with you while traveling. This inspired us to create a functional suitcase that helped make traveling easier, especially for the business traveler.

Working on-the-go was always difficult. We are now so reliant on our electronics for all aspects of our life, both personal and professional. We need internet, we need to charge, and we need personal space to stay productive while traveling. We designed our suitcase as a portable workstation with desk and charging station. You didn’t have to find a seat next to an available outlet or decide between a seat or the charging station. It’s also more relevant now as you can maintain your distance and avoid high-touchpoint common areas.

Cybersecurity is an ongoing pain point for travelers. Hackers are getting better at finding ways to invade our privacy, targeting vulnerable travelers that are reliant on public WIFI and charging ports. We’re offering travelers a way to create a “travel bubble” where everything they need is provided for them in the one travel essential that is never going away, their suitcase.

How do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?

With technology, you no longer have to be next to your luggage to stay connected with it. Your luggage can never be lost with GPS and Bluetooth technology. It can never be opened or moved without your knowledge. Samsara’s smart suitcases are equipped with special sensors that send alerts to your phone if your suitcase is being opened or moving out of range. We are creating an expanded network between the passenger, their suitcase, and the airport and that is disrupting the current status quo.

In addition, we are equipping travelers with a suitcase that allows them to create their own personal “travel bubble” to remain safe in a post-COVID landscape. People are still taking precautions and testing the waters even as restrictions lesson and borders open. Samsara’s smart carry-on allows travelers to stay distant without compromising convenience. You can stay charged, productive and keep moving just by upgrading your ordinary suitcase to a smart one.

Are there exciting new technologies that are coming out in the next few years that will improve the Air Travel experience? We’d love to learn about what you have heard.

The airline industry has struggled to find an immediate solution to lost luggage. Sometimes the frustration for the traveler is the waiting. GPS tracking is helping travelers gather immediate data on their suitcase’s whereabouts. It’s the “Find My Phone” in travel. Samsara is at the forefront of bringing full IoT technology solutions to the luggage market very soon.

Samsara Luggage plans to continue and dramatically increase its sales in the coming year with the launch of its Next Gen line of luggage.

Our strategic plans are aimed for us to lead the smart luggage market with high-value products offered to our customers, as well as significant value to our investors that advance us towards up-listing in the stock market.

As you know, the Pandemic changed the world as we know it. For the benefit of our readers, can you help spell out a few examples of how the Pandemic has specifically impacted Air Travel?

Prior to the pandemic, international travel experienced vast growth. People could get anywhere in just a matter of hours, which is essentially what caused the coronavirus to spread so quickly. Because travel was a key player in spreading the virus, I expect that precautionary measures will continue to be severe.

First, expect to wear a mask in-flight the foreseeable future. Samsara is including a travel essentials kits with purchase of its suitcase and weekender bags to adapt to the new protocols. These kits include a mask, hand sanitizers, disposable gloves, and alcohol wipes to help travelers remain safe on-the-go.

Next, expect more advances in touchless technology. Travel can get crowded. Expect airports and airlines to make efforts to streamline flights to avoid large amounts of people congregated in the same area for extended periods of time.

Finally, vaccine cards will be a requirement for international travel.

Can you share five examples of how the Air Travel experience might change over the next few years to address the new realities brought by the Pandemic? If you can, please give an example for each.

  1. Easy access to rapid testing in response to the continued need for a negative COVID test for international travelers.
  2. Domestic travel and short-haul trips will reign supreme for a while.
  3. Remote work is here to stay and thus expect workcation and leisure travel to take the lead over business travel.
  4. An expansion of IoT technology to make travel less interactive to maintain a continued level of social distancing.
  5. Tech and biotech solutions to sanitize your personal belongings and the aircraft itself, especially for international travel. We launched a weekender bag treated with Nano technology that prevents bacteria and droplets from developing on the bag. Expect more solutions like this one in the future.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I would spearhead a movement to shift the educational system to be less reliant on lectures and textbooks and more focused on entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity. This approach would guide students towards learning through curiosity. Students have a gut creative instinct that is not fostered through outdated tactics developed hundreds of years ago. I think this change would produce a generation that would think outside the box and fast-track a better way forward in every aspect of our daily lives.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

We love our online community! We’ve got a great blog with up-to-date information about the industry, travel tips and first-hand stories of travel experiences. You can follow us at www.samsaraluggage.com

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.

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