E-commerce offers consumers a major advantage — it saves shoppers a trip to the store. However, without a means to reduce person-to-person contact and interaction with contaminated surfaces, package deliveries still come with some risks.

That’s where smart package lockers come in. Smart lockers offer a no-contact solution that minimizes recipient, mailroom staff, and courier exposure to pathogens and allows for social distancing, which is critical in today’s challenging environment. 

Refrigerated Package Lockers

Minimal human interaction

A typical package dropoff process might look like this:

  1. Couriers leave a pile of deliveries at a mailroom or front desk.
  2. Mailroom employees pass deliveries through sorting and processing until they’re ready for pickup. 
  3. Recipients wait in a congested pickup line to retrieve their packages, which by this point may have already changed hands several times. 

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become clear that this process isn’t just inefficient — it poses a potential public health risk. When packages are handled by multiple people, they can easily become contaminated from contact with hard surfaces, couriers, mailroom staff, or other recipients. Further, it’s difficult — if not impossible — to maintain social distancing practices with this package delivery strategy. 

Package lockers, on the other hand, allow couriers to deposit packages directly into compartments and recipients to pick up packages without assistance. In other words, with this technology, person-to-person contact and crowded queues are eliminated. Plus, fewer people contact the packages, further reducing the risk of pathogen transmission. 

Separated, safe packages

Lockers keep packages isolated from other items — not stacked on top of each other in a crowded mailroom. Each parcel has its own locker that, after dropoff, is only accessible by the recipient. 

As an additional precaution, administrators can program the locker system to hold deliveries for any given period of time to allow time for pathogens to become inactive. 

How long does coronavirus stay on surfaces? 

A new study from National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA, and Princeton University scientists concluded that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

Simple sterilization

You can easily wipe down package lockers with bleach or other disinfectants to eliminate viruses and bacteria on surfaces. This would be especially beneficial for hospital use, where staff may need to regularly sterilize their personal items and personal protective equipment (PPE). 

Contact-free convenience

Smiota’s system can send out email or text notifications to recipients when their items are ready for pickup. That way, they aren’t waiting on mailroom staff and can choose a pickup time that fits into their busy schedules. Alternatively, administrators can stagger pickup schedules so recipients can easily follow social distancing practices. 

And while users may need to touch the locker doors, they don’t need to touch the kiosk screen to access their items. Recipients can simply scan a QR code at the kiosk using the Smiota app to access the locker. Smiota also was the first in the market to enable contactless pickup via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). The BLE function allows users to unlock doors by pushing a button within the Smiota cell phone app, rather than entering an access code on the touchscreen.

Smiota Package Lockers Pickup

If recipients use their own phones for locker access, they further reduce the risk of contaminating the touchscreen and the need for frequent sanitization. 

The future of package lockers

Contactless delivery is becoming a top priority to protect everyone involved in completing the delivery chain of custody. To help propel the contactless initiative, Smiota is moving towards equipping smart lockers with sterilization tools (ultraviolet LEDs, disinfectants, aerosol sprays on the inside, anti-microbial pants on the outside) to keep disease transmission at bay. 

For more information on how our smart package lockers prevent the spread of disease, contact Smiota today.