Monday, 3 February 2014

Solving the online delivery "last mile problem" with Digital Keys

Part of the "headlines we would like to see in 2014" series.

A customer opening a shared parcel delivery locker inside a red telephone booth with his digital key (he's standing on a pull out step ladder)


An Australian company, LEAPIN Digital Keys, has breathed new life into London’s iconic red telephone booths which have been slowly disappearing in the mobile phone age, converting them into shared parcel delivery lockers controlled by Digital Keys.

In one of many different sized compartment lockers at their local red booth, customers who order products online will find their parcel securely locked away, ready for them to access anytime within 48 hours of delivery, using their unique Digital Key (they receive their Digital Key and locker number texted/emailed to them when their parcel is delivered to the booth, and they have 48 hours to collect it).

After a customer retrieves their parcel, the Digital Key will no longer work, and the locker will once again be made available for the next delivery for the next customer.

LEAPIN Managing Director, Steve Dunn, said he drew inspiration for the project from the frustration of having items stolen from his doorstep, when he couldn’t be home 9-5 to meet the parcel delivery guy.

LEAPIN won backing from the local phone company that owns the telephone boxes, and the local post service.

“This is a win-win-win situation” said Mr Dunn, “not only does this make it easier for the customer buying goods online, but it also solves the ‘last mile’ delivery problem which has plagued the postal service for many years, and at the same time it means the iconic telephone boxes can stay on our streets”, said Mr Dunn.

He said they intend to install the 24 hour access shared parcel delivery boxes in other locations such as convenience stores, shopping centres, carparks, gas stations, and even at bus stops.

“The plan is to install in ten other locations in the City of London, then see how successful the project is”, said John Smith, a spokesperson for British Telephone, which own over 15,000 of the iconic red boxes still scattered across the UK.

Smartphone use has been causing the closure and removal of many of the red telephone booths which have been a staple on London's streets since the 1920’s.

“Now the root cause of the disappearance of the booths, will save them from distinction, and put them to good use again. Thank goodness for smartphones with digital keys”, said  Mr Smith.

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