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By Mo Cheema, Position Imaging
Adobe Digital Economy Index predicts online shopping spending during the 2021 holiday season is poised to break all previous records. According to Adobe’s Holiday Shopping Report 2021, “Record demand for ecommerce expected to drive holiday spending online to $207B.” In addition, the same report cites that “Cyber Weekend is projected to draw in $36B, 17% of the whole season,” and that “Cyber Monday will draw in $11.3B, Black Friday $9.5B, and Thanksgiving $5.4B.”
To say that all this cyber shopping creates an enormous amount of items to be delivered is an extreme understatement. Postal Analytics places the amount of packages the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) expects to deliver at 200 million starting the week of December 10th through Christmas, and CNBC states that UPS expects to ship 750 million packages this holiday season.
To prepare for this massive volume, FedEx said it was hiring 70,000 seasonal employees, and UPS said it would hire 100,000. This type of preparation is within the budget if you have billions of dollars in revenue, but what about those on the receiving end of all these packages? How do large apartment complexes deal with this onslaught of items? How can they protect all these packages from theft? For them, hiring seasonal help to process and secure every package is not in the budget.
Unfortunately, the increase in package delivery heightens the opportunity for theft, and apartment complexes are no exception. According to the researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, thefts equate to 1.7 million packages stolen or lost every day in the U.S. All these thefts have left people on edge, especially in densely populated cities where residents are now pointing their finger in the landlord’s direction for a solution.
A New York Times article titled, My Packages Keep Getting Stolen. What Can I Do? says, “The landlord could argue that they were taken when a tenant buzzed in the wrong visitor; that a tenant mistakenly took the wrong package; or that the delivery was lost in transit and never arrived.” These statements claim the landlord has no responsibility for residents’ packages. This sounds a bit absurd since e-commerce is now such a critical part of our lives.
It seems the landlords whose opinions helped shape this NY Times article, were not aware of recent developments in apartment package delivery systems that combine Artificial Intelligence (AI) and computer vision to provide a complete self-service experience for residents receiving packages. These automated systems don’t require a fork-lift upgrade construction process—but rather offer an elegant shelving system that typically installs in a day.
Apartment Residents On The “Nice” List
Staff members at large apartment complexes are not trained to logistically process and protect hundreds of packages that arrive in the lobby during the holiday season—they need a secure and automated system to govern these items to their final destination.
The Dime is one large apartment complex that has embraced this new package delivery system to help address these concerns. Located in Brooklyn, NY, The Dime boasts breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline and Williamsburg Bridge and offers 177 rental residences in studio, one, two, and three-bedroom layouts. Assuming each of the 177 rentals has at least two individuals, and they are on the Nice List, a conservative estimate is that each individual will receive at least three holiday gifts via mail. That means that there is a potential of 1,062 additional packages being sent to the lobby for processing over the holiday season.
As part of The Dime’s residential amenities program, their package delivery system, called Smart Package Room, eliminates inefficient basic package rooms that require human interaction to retrieve items. Couriers simply scan package labels at the system to automatically assign items and notify residents of arrival. Computer vision technology watches each package until residents scan their QR Codes at the smart kiosk showing package location within the package room. Using laser guidance, the system provides visual and audio prompts to ensure the correct item is picked up.
If landlords want to reduce holiday stress on both the staff and residents, they need to start automating the package delivery and resident reception process. The volume of e-commerce deliveries will not be diminishing anytime soon.
With 68% of the world’s population expected to live in urban areas, according to the United Nations, package delivery management solutions need to be considered seriously at apartment complexes. Why not avoid the holiday horrors and make it more convenient to process e-commerce deliveries—all year long—for everyone involved— including the carriers?
Mo Cheema is the Director of Solutions Design and Implementation at Position Imaging. He is designing omnichannel retail fulfillment solutions using the iPickup platform. He also had a highly influential career at UPS, where he spearheaded several new product and business concepts, developed a strategically aligned product road-map to streamline the global last-mile delivery for drivers, and routinely engaged with the senior-level executives to influence investment decisions.