According to a survey conducted by Xfinity Home (Comcast’s security platform), 30% of all Americans say they’ve experienced package theft at least once in their life. That’s one in three people who have been victims of a theft-related crime. This problem—while still rampant—is now being addressed by multiple institutions. While people aren’t going to stop shopping online and having packages delivered to their address, one of the main solutions comes in the form of a “Smart Package Room.”

But what exactly constitutes a smart package room? Read on. 

Packages Galore

With over 51% of shopping occurring online, the global package shipping volume has increased by 48% in the last two years alone. This, of course, is due to the power of e-commerce. This rapid growth is showing no signs of decreasing. 

The reality is that with Amazon dominating the e-commerce market and the wide array of companies that exist solely on the internet, we’ve all become accustomed to the convenience of online shopping. It’s expected that this year alone, around 200 billion packages are going to be delivered here in the U.S. 

And, with the average apartment community receiving 149 packages per week (according to NMHC and Kinglsey Associate’s 2018 Package Delivery Survey), this onslaught of deliveries becomes an absolute nightmare for property managers. The point being: the e-commerce boom sent packages flying, but it didn’t give us the time to create a proper apartment package delivery system infrastructure to manage the spike in deliveries. 

Why A Smart Package Room? The Twofold Answer 

The reason that property managers and residents are investing in smart package rooms is twofold: 

  • Curb porch piracy—Unfortunately, people have been stealing things throughout the history of our existence. Never has it been easier to steal a “mystery box” in hopes that it results in something of value. These packages, as you’re well aware, are quite literally placed in front of our door dropped at our doorstep during the day—where they will remain until collected. Thus, a smart package room is dedicated to keeping the packages safe prior to the resident receiving them (we’ll delve more into this below). 
  • Optimize the mailroom—With the sheer volume of packages being delivered on a daily basis, property managers and management staff alike tend to spend hours handling mail during their work hours of operation. Many of these buildings weren’t designed with the boom of e-commerce in mind, and it’s likely that most mid- to large-sized apartment complexes could benefit immensely from a dedicated team for mailroom management. And guess what? A smart package room takes the place of one. 

A smart package room is a safeguard against theft, ensuring secure package delivery with a system that optimizes the delivery process as a whole. But how exactly? And what exactly defines a “smart package room?” Isn’t that just a mailroom? Doesn’t a mailroom hold mail and packages safely too? Keep reading to find out. 

The Smart Package Room 

A smart package room is exactly as it sounds—a room dedicated specifically to package deliveries, with intelligent hardware to do the job. But what hardware exactly?

With the rise of e-commerce and the dynamic situation orbiting package delivery, one of the answers to the mounting concerns has come in the form of smart package lockers. In 2017, multiple companies began to create smart locker systems with the aims of providing a solution to the aforementioned problem. 

  • The methodology – The methodology behind these locker systems is relatively simple. Indoor lockers are installed in an apartment complex, office building, university, or anywhere in need of one, and all packages are delivered to it. The package is then placed in a specific locker which is programmed to open with a code that only the resident will receive. The resident, after receiving a notification that a package has been delivered, will then head over to the smart package room, use their code, and retrieve their package.

The level of intelligence and the various features offered by a smart package room depends on the company selling the hardware. For instance, here at Parcel Pending, our smart lockers have integrated infrared scanners, built-in cameras, barcode-enabled sensors, and it’s all streamlined into our app. Additionally, different lockers will serve different purposes. 

As people began witnessing this meteoric shift towards online shopping, parcel companies went into hyperdrive in an attempt to establish a foothold in the market. And what happened? In 2018, America witnessed a nationwide smart locker integration. From universities, multifamily apartment complexes, to your average homeowner, many have integrated an iteration of a smart package room. 

This relatively new technology is completely reshaping the way we account for our packages. 

And, it’s even being pushed in directions outside of just “package delivery.” For instance, last year Home Depot announced its smart locker rollout. But they’re not using them for items delivered to the store, they’re using them to optimize their retail system. Home Depot spokeswoman Lana Johnston had this to say about the matter:

“Customer expectations with shopping are changing, and they want as many options as you can possibly give them. The lockers allow us to simplify that process (on retail and in-store pickups) by providing customers with the convenience of self-service and time savings.”

Experts forecast that by 2021 we’ll have witnessed a nationwide smart locker rollout. We’re in the midst of it currently, but in a couple of years the technology is expected to establish its dominance. 

Mitigating Failed Deliveries 

Another factor that’s a driving force behind smart locker systems are failed deliveries. It’s estimated that failed deliveries cost U.S. retailers—on average—over $200,000 per year. While one of the ways shippers are combating this phenomenon is through intelligent communication–wherein they provide real-time updates to the person being delivered to–it’s not a foolproof model. 

Thus, smart package rooms pave the way for total control. Shippers can rest assured that the package is going directly into a smart locker, rather than having to leave the package on a doorstep or somewhere else in the building. It’s in a secure location. This means that smart lockers benefit shippers as well, further incentivizing their mass integration. 

What Are Some Attributes of Rising Smart Package Room Technologies? 

Some of you may be unfamiliar with the functionality of smart locker systems. The technology infused in the hardware continues to improve and, at this point in the market, these systems are becoming more and more fluid. For instance, here at Parcel Pending, amongst the various lockers we sell, the technologies implemented in our smart apartment solutions are:

  • Security-driven – Our lockers come with a built-in camera that captures each delivery and pickup. This means that the smart package room has total visibility on the traffic coming in and out of the room, even if there isn’t an employee physically present.
  • Intelligent – By utilizing infrared scanners, each locker can detect the items inside, meaning there’s no question as to the whereabouts of a given package. 
  • Speed – By integrating barcode technology, we’re able to ensure speedy package delivery. It’s scanned in. It’s scanned out. 
  • Courier flexibility – The locker system accepts any and all courier services, meaning that there’s never going to be a shipper that can’t deliver packages to the smart package room. 
  • App integration – All processes are streamlined in a single mobile app application for easy package tracking, allowing the residents or persons receiving to have full visibility on the entire process. 
  • Versatility – You might think, but packages come in all shapes and sizes. So do our lockers. By having multiple different unit sizes, they can accept a wide array of different packages. 
  • Customization – These smart package rooms don’t need to detract from the rest of the building. We offer customized lockers to match the aesthetic or color palette of a given space.
  • Temperature control – For perishable goods, lockers now have temperature-controlled units that can safely store groceries, pharmaceuticals, and sensitive items. 
  • Weatherproof – If you don’t want the lockers installed inside, there are weatherproof outdoor parcel lockers as well units that can live outdoors. This is particularly convenient for the single-family home, as a dedicated unit can exist solely outdoors. 

Why You Should Consider a Smart Package Room

What makes smart package rooms enticing—and what’s directly contributing to the rise in smart locker systems—is the management and security benefits they provide. Property managers no longer need to issue keys to a mailroom, track down packages, or worry about theft. Multifamily apartment residents will greatly appreciate the extra amenities and simplified experience of picking up their packages. And when you have happy residents, they are more likely to stay as residents. Additionally, the automated nature of the apartment automation of a smart locker system allows landlords to view the trail of who accessed what locker and at what time. Should there be any wrongdoings or mistakes, all the data to solve the problem is readily accessible. 

Finally, it cuts down wasted time that management staff would be spending on the nuances of package delivery. While ensuring that residents receive their packages from all couriers is certainly important, overall, there are a ton of other building management duties that are of higher priority. 

Therefore, if you’ve noticed a rise in packages delivered porch theft, and the amount of time spent on these problems, reach out to us today to discuss integrating your very own smart package room. Reduce time, provide security, and optimize the flow of your building. 

 

Sources:

USA Today. Were your Amazon packages stolen? Porch pirates run rampant this holiday season. Elizabeth Weise. December 13th, 2018. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2018/12/14/porch-pirates-package-theft-climb-more-americans-shop-online/2218910002/

Statista. 87 Billion Parcels Were Shipped in 2018. Katharina Buchholz. October 10th, 2019. 

https://www.statista.com/chart/10922/parcel-shipping-volume-and-parcel-spend-in-selected-countries/

USA Today. Home Depot joins Walmart, others in in installing lockers in stores for online orders. David Pan. June 17th, 2019. 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2018/06/27/home-depot-install-store-lockers/732580002/

Transport Topics. Perspective: To Compete, Shippers Must Invest in Smart Technologies. April 15th, 2019. 

https://www.ttnews.com/articles/opinion-compete-shippers-must-invest-smart-technologies