Monday, 30 November 2015

Stolen Parcels, tossed deliveries, missed home deliveries - what have we learnt in a year?

Its that time of the year again where mainstream media report about all the missed home deliveries, parcel's stolen from front porches, and tossed deliveries, because well its Christmas time! And at Christmas time, we are all ordering stuff online and we want stuff delivered to our home -so yes we can all relate to these stories. And there is plenty of footage out there on the Internet of "postal workers caught on camera tossing packages" to craft stories in the mainstream press. We want stuff delivered securely to our home - its not a hard concept.

We wrote about this phenomenon on December 3rd last year in our blog post "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year for Porch Parcel Snatchers". and we thought we would revisit it again today - a year later to see if we've learnt anything or done anything to address the problem. The problem is -our letterboxes our too small and/or not secure to accept parcel deliveries to our home when we are not there.

So what has all this got to do with digital keys? In our aforementioned blog post last year we discussed how digital keys can be easily and automatically distributed to parcel delivery people to open locked boxes, locked tins, locked doors, and locked windows in people's homes to safely effect the delivery of a parcel to the home/yard when we are not there.

So what have we learnt about the problem since last year, and what have we done to address it? The answer is nothing! Well we have done nothing to address it, but  we have learnt some very important lessons about the problem. We have learnt that the United States Post Office(USPO) continual turning of their back on this problem, and not addressing it, has contributed to another $5.1 billion dollar loss in 2015 - see here Hey that's actually an improvement on 2014, they lost $5.3 billion in 2014. The USPO certainly learned something since 2012, when they lost 15.9 billion in the year. Taxpayers shouldn't be too disappointed right?!

We've also just learnt that Australia Post posted a $222 million dollar loss as they're not making an effort to address the problem either.

Although we're not addressing the problem, in 2015 we have got better at "capturing" the problem. As prices for web-cams, wi-fi camera's, and CCTV have come down, and as devices like Ring (which have in-built camera's and data backup systems) have become more readily available, we've become good at catching more and more postal workers tossing packages, leaving 'missed delivery notes' and others stealing packages from front porches.

I like to throw it, throw it!

So lets just do some math to see if we can help USPO solve the problem in readiness for next year. According to the US Census Bureau there are approximately 117,500,000 households in the USA. The cost to install a digital key/smart lock on window/door/box/tin is approximately $150-$250. So lets say you have to pay someone say $50 to install it, or you want to put it on a box in your yard, then lets round the cost to say an even $200 per household to solve the problem.

So that's 117,500,000 households x $200 per household gives us a cost of $23.5 billion. That's a pretty big expense for the USPO at the moment right? Lets say that the USPO decided to be lock manufacturers themselves, and make the smartlocks themselves, and use their current staff to install the smartlocks, (and not mark them up) then they could probably get the costs down for smartlocks/digital keys installed on households to around $100 per household. Ok, so that gives a cost now of 117M households X $100 per household leaves them with a cost of $11.75 billion. That will still hit the 2016 USPO bottom line hard next year. So lets throw some more numbers into the mix. FedEx, UPS seem to be doing much better than USPO - in fact they are making good profits. According to wikinvest UPS made a gross profit of $58.2 billion in the last year. and FedEx had a gross profit of $36.6 billion.   So lets imagine if USPO rolled out smartlocks/digital keys in all US households, and  it can guarantee a safe, secure delivery, then they might start to bring customers back from FedEx and UPS, and who knows they might be able to turn the $11.75 billion smartlock rollout costs into a profit the following year.

Sure this is a fairly simplified analysis, and there are plenty of other factors at play for USPO e.g see here. But the point is, accepting a secure delivery to your home is a big problem for modern society. There is a solution and it is called smartlocks/digital keys. As a society we've come together to solve big problems in the home before, such as; removing rubbish from the home (wheely bin rollout/garbage trucks) getting electricity to the home (electric poles and wires rollouts); taking sewerage from the home (pipes rollout), getting people from homes to other places (roads, cars, railways rollout); getting telephones to peoples homes (telephone wires, and poles rollout) getting Broadband to people's homes (cable rollouts).

Are we going to do anything about it in 2016, or simply just put up with it more?

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