Thursday, April 24, 2014

My Parcel Box Drops Fees From Home Locker

Had an email from Cillian Stockdale to say that his "My Parcel Box" no longer charges monthly fees. This is a large mailbox with an electronic combination lock, allowing secure delivery of parcels. The unit is similar to the Pakman Parcel Delivery Box (which has a mechanical combination lock). With these units you provide the combination when ordering goods on-line, so the delivery person can put the item in the box (they then scan a code on the unit to record delivery).

My Parcel Box's unit is known as "The Vault" and is 550 x 400 x 600 mm, compared to 525 x 420 x 905 mm for the Pakman Parcel Delivery Box. The Vault is $270, with free delivery, which is considerably cheaper than the Packman, but does not include an ordinary letterbox in the unit (the units are so large you might not want to site them where your letterbox is anyway). The Vault has an electronic combination lock which allows for multiple combinations, whereas the Pakman has a mechanical lock with one code. The Vault appears to only come in one colour (Hammertone grey), whereas the Pakman comes in white, beige and grey. The Pakman has a slot for inserting courier envelopes, without the need to use the combination lock, it is not clear from the description if the The Vault has this feature.

Both the Vault and Pakman are said to be large enough to hold cases of wine. However, they do not appear to be insulated and so placing a case of wine in them on a hot day may not be a good idea.It would be unfortunate if, like the former NSW Premier, you were to have a vintage bottle of wine delivered to your home and then forget about it. ;-)

Back in 2000 I speculated we were likely to see such delivery boxes for goods, on homes and at shopping centres:
... I have seen boxes built into the outside of apartments which were said to be used for milk. The milkman put the milk in and closed the door to keep it fresh. A still current example of this is large mailboxes at farm gates.
The high technology version of this would have an electronic lock on the box and an Internet connection. When ordering goods the client would supply an entry code for delivery. The delivery person would use this code to open the box and put the goods in. The entry code would only work once and the lock would record time of delivery (to deter pilfering). The box could advise the client (and suppler) of delivery via the Internet. Optional solid state temperature control would keep perishable items cool, or warm the box in cold climates to prevent freezing.
For those who have "made it" the box would be built into their house or the foyer of their apartment building. For the upwardly mobile, or just mobile, the boxes could be rented at a local shopping center. Different size boxes could be allocated as required, with a limited number for perishable items.
This might sound a bit far fetched, but I would be surprised if someone isn't already offering it.
Australia Post already uses special purpose premises with dynamically allocated post office boxes for large packages. My post office box used to be at a post office, with staff member on duty to hand over large items. The post office has moved away and there are just the boxes and no regular staff. When there is a large item to collect I find a numbered key in my normal box. That key opens one of a bank of bigger boxes. After collection I drop the key in a slot for reuse. The same system could be used for goods deliveries, using physical keys, or electronic codes. ...

From "re: Can UPS deliver the tickets?", Tom Worthington,  Link Mailing List, Fri, 28 Jan 2000 09:18:42 +1100

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