Smart-lock maker Latch announced a partnership with the nation’s largest package delivery service, UPS, that will allow delivery drivers to deliver packages inside apartment buildings. So far this is just a beta test in Manhattan and Brooklyn, but they expect to roll it out in other markets soon.
I caught up with the Latch CEO and co-founder Luke Schoenfelder to ask him a little more about this potential industry-changing partnership. My first question had to do with how residents and landlords will be informed of the delivery. To this, he said, “to manage deliveries and to track when and if a delivery was made, residents will continue to use the UPS My Choice mobile app or website. Additionally, landlords and residents can track all non-resident interactions – including an image – with Latch-enabled entryways via the Latch app.”
This represents a win for both companies in my mind. It solidifies Latch as one of the main ways for landlords to create worry-free package deliveries and onboard residents into UPS’s My Choice program, which, by the way, has a host of paid upgrades.
Next, I wanted to know if this technology, the handheld UPS device (the same one you have likely butchered your signature on) to open the locks, is available on current devices or if new hardware needed to be purchased. Apparently, Latch could integrate these devices. “Authorized delivery personnel can use any Latch device installed on the front door of a participating building,” Luke said. He also mentioned a program that many of our NYC-based readers might be interested in: “The installation of the most common device for the front door, the Latch R, is currently being subsidized in NYC Walmart’s Jet.com. Property owners and managers can find out if they qualify for this free device at www.latch.com/partners.”
Besides being a great way for landlords to solve the issue of how to get packages delivered (and possibly reduce the need for many doormen), this partnership could have repercussions for the e-commerce landscape as well. Right now, it seems like everyone is fighting for their lives against the internet giant Amazon, who by some measures controls fifty percent of all online purchases. Latch will now be able to compete with the new Amazon Key system that was released a few weeks ago to allow for in-home delivery. It also allows other companies, most notably Walmart, to offer the same kind of delivery service that we have come to expect in the Amazon Era.
Competition between the major internet and retail companies is heating up, and innovations like Latch’s UPS integration will mean that consumers, whether they live in a house or an apartment, will likely be the winners.