Nordic Semiconductor today announces that a smart home delivery box developed by Norwegian startup of the same name, Homeboxx, could become a useful tool in the battle against Covid-19.
Homeboxx employs a Nordic Semiconductor multi-mode NB-IoT/LTE-M nRF9160 System-in-Package (SiP) to allow all successful deliveries to be confirmed via NB-IoT with both the delivery company and consumer.
It also allows deliveries to be made without any need for contact between the consumer and delivery driver, and thus also supports overnight deliveries at a time when the demand for on-line grocery shopping far outstrips supply in most countries due to the social distancing guidance to combat Covid-19.
“We’ve long recognized that the next evolutionary step in on-line shopping required a much smarter ‘last mile’ delivery solution than relying on consumers to be home to receive their goods or taking the risk of leaving items outside where they could be stolen and remain exposed to bad weather,” explains Karl-Einar Jensen, Founder & Board Director of Homeboxx.
“In fact this is hindering the growth of on-line shopping because it forces delivery companies to only deliver during the day at peak traffic periods. And for groceries in particular, if the consumer is not home can result in food being left on doorsteps where it can quickly spoil, especially in countries with extreme temperature climates such as Norway.”
Homeboxx is said to eliminate these problems by providing a thermally isolated (basic battery-powered model) or climatically controlled (advanced mains-powered model) environment to store deliveries that does not rely on consumers being home. This dramatically increases delivery efficiencies so on-line stores can ship to even more consumers during the day, and even more again overnight without having to disturb a sleeping household. In addition, because there is little or no traffic at night, deliveries can be made even more efficiently than during the day.
“We see the Homeboxx as the future of home shopping and shipping because it will not only support deliveries, but also allow consumers to make returns and even post and ship items – as box contents can just as easily be accessed for outgoing as incoming items,” adds Jensen.
In operation, each delivery is assigned a unique code that is then used to both track the item during shipping and to allow the delivery driver to gain access to the Homeboxx. Sensors within the Homeboxx detect the exact date and time its lid was opened, as well as the ambient temperature in the box. This data is then sent to both the delivery company and consumer to confirm successful delivery was made. Additional sensors (accelerometers) are also used to detect and alarm any attempts to move a Homeboxx.
Homeboxx is currently only available in Norway (with plans to roll out in multiple countries over the next 12-18 months) and has undergone an extensive trial among 100 Norwegian households where it proved both completely viable and extremely popular among both delivery companies and consumers.
“For e-commerce, shipping companies, and in particular on-line grocery shopping, this kind of smart home delivery solution could genuinely be a game-changer,” comments Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor Director of Sales & Marketing. “And although it’s an extremely unfortunate cause, Covid-19 is driving an unprecedented increase in home shopping and in particular home deliveries of groceries that is currently out-stripping supply. The only way to meet this supply both now and in the future will be with the use of modern IoT technologies to dramatically increase delivery efficiencies.”