UPS launches pilot to deliver packages inside apartment buildings

UPS has begun a pilot with 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.

Latch’s smart access devices enable UPS drivers to 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 U.S. together with smartaccesspioneer Latch.

“The use of smart access devices on doors of apartment and condominium buildings is a big step forward for the package delivery business,” Jerome Roberts, UPS vice president of global product innovation. “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.”

Latch’s smart access system 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 website.

The potential market for smart access devices used in this way is enormous and growing. There are currently about 20 million multi-family residential units in the United States, 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, Latch CEO. “Enabling deliveries with UPS is one of the most significant parts of that evolution.”UPS has been innovating the package delivery industry since 1907 when the company started as a bicycle messenger service. Today, Internet of Things technology like smart locks play a pivotal role in UPS operations. The company is investing aggressively in technologies like these to strengthen the UPS Global Smart Logistics Network and generate customer solutions.