Connected Mailboxes: Another Piece of the Logistics Puzzle

Of the 4.8 million dwellings in Sweden, 2.6 million of those are residential apartment buildings. Of those 2.6 million, 1.3 million already have mailboxes – and a vast majority of them are still analogue, meaning they are not connected and instead are locked with a key. So, if we look at the mailbox picture for apartment buildings in Sweden, there are still more than a million who will eventually have a mailbox setup in the lobby of the building, and there are also around 50 thousand new apartments being built annually. This is where Sweden’s Loxess comes in. Their sister company Boxicon makes and distributes locally produced mailbox setups for apartment buildings and Loxess connects them and the entrance door easily while retrofitting existing boxes. This provides controlled digital access for both residents and delivery people in building lobbies, where most mailbox setups are located. This is important in Sweden, where most apartment buildings have an entry code that is used by residents, as well as by delivery people, postal workers, and others, to gain access to the building.

“Giving that entry code to numerous different people who often don’t live in the building reduces security,” explains Anders Årman, Product Specialist, Loxess.  Loxess shares a temporary or one-time access to the building via our API or app and access to the mailboxes. This addresses the convenience in having delivery at home, because residents don’t need to go to a local service point to fetch small packages. This also benefits delivery companies, where every minutes counts, because they no longer have to run up and down stairs to deliver to different apartments, and then photograph the delivery outside the apartment door or get someone to sign.  And because the mailbox is connected deliveries are recorded, as are when the recipient takes possession of the package. The digital record works for both the delivery company and the consumer, simplifying everything and making it safer. Also, the solution is 24/7, so deliveries can be made at any time, making it more convenient for everyone.”

So, why is this an important piece to the logistics puzzle? Like much of the rest of the logistics industry, digitalization of mailboxes is the way forward and while many of us may no longer send letters via snail mail these days, we are still sending and receiving plenty of packages. In China, 2643 parcels are shipped every second, while in Europe, more than 77 million packages are delivered every day. Some of these packages are big and bulky, but the majority are less than 5 kilos. By connecting mailboxes in residential buildings deliveries can be tracked nearly right to your door and you don’t even need to be home to accept that delivery.

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Most deliveries go into smaller mailboxes, such as you would have in an apartment building. The infrastructure is often already there, but most of the 1.3 million mailboxes in apartment buildings aren’t connected, so Loxess is connecting the new Boxicon mailboxes – while also retrofitting most brands’ mailboxes with our unique mailbox lock. So, we can either put in new mailbox setups that are connected or we can retrofit existing ones.

Anders Årman Product Specialist Loxess

IoT & Connectivity

IoT and connectivity are key components for the Loxess solution, which uses Tele2 IoT SIMs and 4G to connect the mailboxes.

“Many buildings don’t have their own internet – it’s individual apartment dwellers who have the internet and installing connectivity for overall use in the building is costly,” says Anders Årman. “For a small apartment building, it’s a big investment to buy a connected entry system – it’s a big undertaking that effects everyone because the installation is very disruptive. With a traditional connected entry system, the installation cost is often around half of the total cost for a connected entry system, but with Loxess this cost is greatly reduced, because we use built-in internet, with Tele2 IoT, and use less hardware: infrastructure such as routers and switches. This lowers the barriers to making a decision to digitalize, making it more accessible and scalable.”

Why Tele2 IoT?

Loxess says that they chose Tele2 IoT for a number of reasons, not least of which the excellent service they received.

“Business Development Manager Linda Ekener Mägi solved our challenges in a good, fast way,” says Anders Årman. “In fact, everyone at Tele2 IoT has been great and very helpful. We were choosing between several different vendors and while price was one factor, it was also the customer service and the friendly way Tele2 IoT helped solved challenges. Exceptional sales and aftersales – it’s been brilliant!”

Loxess uses 2CONTROL (Cisco IoT Control Center) to do basic configurations and they also use roaming in order to have the best available network.

The future of logistics & digitalization

Logistics is an old business with a lot of history, but it’s going through a massive change due to digitalization, connectivity, and IoT. There are going to be a lot of different solutions popping up and not all will make the cut in the end, but it is disrupters like Loxess who are key to driving that digitalization.

“There are a lot of new disruptive delivery solutions out there and when you integrate them you make the last mile smoother and more customer friendly,” says Anders Årman. “So, we can see some of the other disrupters as competitors, but I see them more as owning a different part of the chain. They are two steps away from the building, while we are in the building, so of course we could be a key player for everyone in the chain.

“Some people want their deliveries at home and are willing to pay a bit more for that, while others are fine with fetching packages at a service point, so there is room for a lot of different players. What we offer is more choice, which is important because logistics will be all about options and convenience for the consumer.”

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