Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

UPS and Latch pilot smart locks in New York

Steve Rogerson
July 24, 2018

UPS has begun a pilot using Latch smart access devices to enable in-building deliveries to multi-unit homes in New York City, providing increased security and convenience for residents who are not at home to receive packages.
The smart access devices let UPS drivers provide more reliable customer service and complete more deliveries on the first attempt. UPS began preliminary tests in Manhattan earlier this year and has now expanded to Brooklyn. Eventually, UPS may offer the service in markets throughout the USA.
“The use of smart access devices on doors of apartment and condominium buildings is a big step forward for the package delivery business,” said Jerome Roberts, UPS vice president. “It can be difficult to securely deliver packages in high-density, multi-family urban residences, especially when people are not at home. Smart access devices give us a keyless way to deliver packages to buildings and leave packages safely in lobbies or building package rooms. For our customers, it gives them peace of mind that their package will be waiting for them when they get home.”
The system works like this: A UPS driver taking packages to a Latch-enabled building receives a unique credential on a handheld UPS Diad delivery information acquisition device. The credential works only for a specific building receiving deliveries. Any time a driver uses a credential to enter a building, Latch records the entry digitally to create an audit trail that identifies the user and the time of access, establishing a secure record of the transaction.
This lets residents and others use smartphones to unlock doors throughout a building, including at the main entrance. An embedded wide-angle camera within each device captures a visual record of every interaction by a non-resident that authorised users can monitor from the Latch mobile app. UPS, however, is using Latch systems only to enter buildings, not individual apartments. Residents can use Latch to enter the building and to manage guest access. To manage deliveries, they use the UPS My Choice mobile app or web site.
The potential market for smart access devices used in this way is growing. There are about 20 million multi-family residential units in the USA, with about 350,000 added each year via new construction, Latch says.
“We believe that smart access can fundamentally change the way people live in urban environments,” said Luke Schoenfelder, CEO of New York-based Latch. “Enabling deliveries with UPS is one of the most significant parts of that evolution.”
Other UPS innovations that provide delivery options for consumers to manage their deliveries include the free UPS My Choice service, which gives consumers more control over their residential deliveries. UPS Access Point locations are a related offering. These are retailers such as neighbourhood grocery stores, dry cleaners and UPS store locations, which serve as alternative delivery points for consumers who cannot be home to receive packages.
UPS has been innovating the package delivery industry since 1907 when the company started as a bicycle messenger service. Today, IoT technology such as smart locks plays a pivotal role in UPS operations. The company is investing in technologies such as these to strengthen its global smart logistics network.
Headquartered in Atlanta, UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide.
Latch was founded by a team of former Apple employees and has raised more than $26m in private funding from investors and real estate companies.