Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Seoul, Korea, SmartBox Co., Ltd., is revolutionizing the distribution industry. The company manufactures the “SmartBox,” a high-tech locker that applies IoT technology for unattended parcel delivery. Winner of several domestic and international IT awards, the SmartBox locker is more convenient, independent, and economical compared to the traditional kiosk lockers.
On a Monday morning, as Courtney takes the 7 a.m. commuter train to her job in the city, she settles into her seat with her coffee. She’s always eager for time-saving convenience, so she takes out her smartphone to do some online shopping from a favorite e-commerce site. With a few scrolls and touches, she’s made her choice – a new Bluetooth speaker – and is ready to complete the transaction.
The only issue for her: the tricky challenge of delivery. Given her career commitments, Courtney can’t be at her apartment to sign for the package when it arrives later that week. Unfortunately, the outdated delivery-release notes are an open invitation to criminals looking for easy thefts, and she can’t rely on the cooperation of neighbors to receive her packages. As online and mobile shopping channels continue to gain market share vs. traditional brick-and-mortar stores this challenge will only grow. In fact, more than 1 million parcels are delivered each day – and one-third are not delivered directly to the intended recipients.
But that’s no problem for Courtney, thanks to SmartBox, the world’s first Internet of Things (IoT)-based smart delivery storage locker. When Courtney’s parcel arrives, the delivery-person simply enters Courtney’s mobile phone number and places the package in a secure locker in the apartment building’s lobby. Courtney receives an SMS message notifying her of the delivery. When she returns home, she simply walks to the locker facility, enters the password contained in the SMS message, opens the secure locker, and receives her new Bluetooth speaker.
SmartBox offers significant benefits over traditional kiosk systems through lower costs, greater convenience, lower maintenance, easier management, and complete protection of packages and contents. Using Digi’s wireless XBee modules and gateways, SmartBox can work with either unmanned delivery destinations or traditional lockers. Each SmartBox locker is equipped with an XBee module that provides connectivity and intelligence to permit/forbid access to lockers based on single-use codes. A single Digi XBee gateway carries backhaul traffic to SmartBox’s operations center where lockers can be monitored and maintained centrally. That gateway also sends SMS notifications to package recipients. More than 3,000 SmartBox lockers have been installed in apartments, college dormitories, public offices, office buildings, and subway stations across South Korea and Japan.
In addition, the powerful SmartBox platform can be used in other applications, including its new “DIRECT-IN,” IoT door lock for unattended lodging check-in for direct-to-renter accommodations—such as Airbnb. With DIRECT-IN, guests don’t have to waste time during the check-in process. After completing their reservation, the guest receives a simple SMS message that contains the room and password. The guest arrives at the destination enters the password on the keypad, and gets the room key or enters the room directly.
The Digi-powered SmartBox locker offers a variety of benefits, including:
- Convenience – Recipients no longer need to be at home awaiting a package delivery. Instead, a simple SMS notification lets them know they can retrieve their package from a SmartBox locker at their convenience.
- Security – Packages are stored in secure lockers, safe from would-be thieves. And lockers can be stationed outside of lobbies, so the delivery-person doesn’t need keys, passes, or badges to drop off packages.
- Cost-Effectiveness – Security guards in apartment buildings, offices, and other public spaces spend as much as 30 percent of their time collecting and redistributing packages. SmartBox allows guards to focus on their primary duties for lower labor costs and higher resident satisfaction.
“During the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, leading companies could focus on many different business areas,” said Yeryong Ra, CEO of SmartBox. “Nowadays, however, cooperation between companies specializing in specific markets can lead a global revolution. We expect the Digi-SmartBox initiative will create a remarkable opportunity.”