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UPS Will Soon Deliver Packages Inside NYC Buildings

UPS is test driving a pilot program with Latch smart access devices to allow in-building deliveries to multi-unit homes in New York City, and the idea could serve to reduce package theft as e-commerce continues to expand.

The service is meant to provide increased security and convenience for residents who are not at home to receive packages. Latch’s smart access devices enables UPS drivers to provide more reliable customer service and complete more deliveries on the first attempt.

UPS said it started preliminary tests in Manhattan earlier this year and has now expanded to Brooklyn. Eventually, UPS could offer the service in markets throughout the U.S. in conjunction with 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, said. “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 calls a UPS driver to take packages to a Latch-enabled building and they’ll receive a unique credential on a handheld UPS Delivery Information Acquisition Device (DIAD). When 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.

Latch’s smart access system lets residents and others to 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 authorized users can monitor from the Latch mobile app.

UPS said there is much potential for smart access devices used in this way. There are about 20 million multi-family residential units in the United States, with roughly 350,000 added each year via new construction, Latch noted.

“We believe that smart access can fundamentally change the way people live in urban environments,” Latch CEO Luke Schoenfelder said. “Enabling deliveries with UPS is one of the most significant parts of that evolution.”

A 2016 study by August Home Inc., a provider of smart locks and smart home access products and services, found that nearly 11 million U.S. homeowners had a package stolen in the past year. The study noted that U.S. homeowners 53 percent of U.S. homeowners had packages stolen tha had been left on the doorstep.

The majority of packages were stolen during the day when homeowners were out. At the time, 69 percent of package theft victims said they would rather let a delivery person into their home via an app rather than being forced to have a package left outside, and 28 percent commented that it would be ideal if delivery services could leave packages directly inside their home.

With the explosion e-commerce and Amazon’s expansive influence in the last couple of years, those numbers are clearly skewed.

Amazon has since developed services that allow for in-home and in-car deliveries for Prime member with the proper technology. Jet.com, an e-commerce focused subsidiary of Walmart, also has a pilot program with Latch for delivery in the New York area.

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. Related UPS Access Point locations are convenient retailers such as neighborhood grocery stores, dry cleaners and The UPS Store locations that serve as alternative delivery points for consumers who cannot be home to receive packages.

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