Appliance manufacturer Danby unveiled a smart mailbox at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week that can operate as a securely locked safe to protect delivered packages from theft, according to a TechCrunch report.
The mailbox, called Parcel Guard, has an anti-theft drop-in slot similar to many standard mailboxes, but also has a large door and enough space to store a package. The door can be opened when a delivery person scans the package. It locks automatically after the package is placed inside, the story stated.
The Parcel Guard box also has an alarm, a camera that allows a customer to remotely watch their delivery, and a wireless connection through which the customer is alerted when the delivery has been completed, according to the company website.
A variety of companies have tried to come up with different technology-based solutions to the problem of porch pirates. Amazon has invested in trying to battle the persistent package theft problem through Amazon Key, a program which features an app-controlled smart lock that allows delivery people to enter customer homes to leave package secure inside. Amazon expanded that offering nationwide last spring.
Then, there’s Latch, which uses a different smart door technology to enable in-home deliveries, and has won over partners such as UPS and Jet.com. Another smart lock company, August Home, partnered with Deliv on in-home delivery services.
Yet, companies playing in the last mile delivery market continue to throw different ideas at the wall to see what sticks. Amazon has had delivery personnel take photos of packages that get left on porches, and both Amazon and UPS have programs for delivering customer packages to nearby businesses or smart lockers for customers to pick up later instead of leaving them on a customer’s porch.
None of these prospective solutions has made the package theft problem go away, so there is still room for new ideas for how to solve it. Also, the market is large enough and varied enough that a number of different technologies may be viable to be used by different customers. Those who don’t want anyone at all in their homes while they are away may not use Amazon Key, but may welcome Parcel Guard.