Delivery drivers are getting more and more access to interior delivery. This week, UPS and smart lock-maker Latch announced that the delivery service is testing a system that allows drivers to access multi-unit dwellings secured by Latch.
The program is initially rolling out in Manhattan and Brooklyn, letting drivers place packages inside multi-family buildings that are usually locked. Drivers aren’t delivering all the way to apartment interiors, instead placing packages in mail rooms and other shared spaces.
The program follows another Latch delivery play started last summer with Walmart Inc., No. 3 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 500. That program allows Walmart-owned Jet.com deliveries to be placed within secured buildings. However, in that program, Jet installed 1,000 Latch devices on New York buildings to allow delivery partners access. UPS is the first national carrier to use existing Latch devices.
Latch devices are internet-connected locks that can be unlocked with keycards, smartphone apps or door codes. The UPS test includes hundreds of non-doorman buildings in New York, and drivers will get a unique credential on their specialized mobile devices. Latch records when that code is used both to alert customers and to keep track of drivers in case of problems. Latch devices have embedded wide-angle cameras to offer another layer of security and monitor deliveries.
Amazon (No. 1) has gone a step further than Latch, allowing users to opt into in-home deliveries through Amazon Key. That system lets Amazon delivery workers to get inside a customer’s home to complete the delivery. Users need a compatible smart lock and camera to keep an eye on drivers.
Walmart also tested in-home grocery delivery in Silicon Valley using August smart locks, with the the goal of keeping perishables cold. Neither proved too enticing to consumers, as a November 2017 Internet Retailer/Toluna survey found that just 22.1% are interested in Walmart’s offering and 16.5% in Amazon Key.
However, consumers could be more attracted to the delivery in urban environments like New York, where package theft is a considerable concern and the intermediary space of a mail room could provide the right balance between package security and home security. The program is contained to New York City for now, but could expand to other regions after this test.