By Ruth Reader / www.fastcompany.com / January 22nd, 2019
It’s so annoying to miss a package delivery just because you weren’t home. It’s even more inconvenient when you have to trek to a warehouse facility to pick it up. Fortunately, relief is coming for residents in 12 U.S. cities, who will soon have the opportunity have their packages waiting for them inside when they get home.
In 2017, UPS first announced a pilot with smart-lock company Latch that would give the parcel service entry to apartment buildings and condominiums where it is installed in order to drop off packages. Latch also comes equipped with a wide-angle lens camera and records the entry, so as to create a digital audit. UPS’s smart-lock program started in New York and San Francisco and is now expanding to Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Miami, and Seattle in the next six months.
Latch previously only sold its smart lock as part of a full building system, but as of this expansion, they can be purchased for a single entryway.
The UPS service is similar to Amazon Key, which uses a smart lock and allows delivery workers to enter locked homes and leave packages. The UPS Latch program appears to be more focused on urban areas, while Amazon’s initial product was more tailored to homes and therefore more suburban and rural regions. However, earlier this month, Amazon launched Key for Business, which puts its smart-lock-enabled delivery at business offices and in apartment buildings—pitting the two products more firmly against each other.
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