by Brianna Crandall — August 29, 2017 — Here is a premier amenity facilities managers (FMs) will probably hear more and more about, particularly in apartment communities, but also in university dorms and in corporate/commercial facilities — refrigerated lockers. With the popularity of online ordering, any types of parcel lockers have become more in demand, especially where there is no concierge service. Going a step further, several companies are introducing computerized or “smart” lockers — this TechCrunch article about Amazon’s launch of “The Hub” also lists a few other companies with similar innovations.
Taking the competition up yet another notch, the company described below has developed smart refrigerated lockers for cold deliveries (see also this Multi-Housing News article describing a similar innovation that is located outdoors, for apartments or other facilities with little lobby space).
LIVEbe, a premier apartment developer and operator dedicated to delivering distinct apartment homes within connected communities, has announced the addition of refrigerated lockers to its 2Hopkins apartment community in Downtown Baltimore. LIVEbe is the multifamily division of real estate and investment company Berman Enterprises.
The luxury high-rise, featuring 183 apartment homes, is the first apartment community in the United States to implement the Smiota Pick-up or Drop-off (PoD) refrigerated lockers, says the company. Produced by Smiota Inc., the PoD lockers serve as a premier service amenity, allowing residents to utilize food delivery services and have round-the-clock access to their shipments via smartphone.
Elaine De Lude, vice president of LIVEbe, remarked:
There has been an uptick in demand for food-delivery services, and we’ve closely observed the trends of companies such as Blue Apron, HelloFresh and Instacart. 2Hopkins is using an innovative solution to conquer a real challenge, and we believe this is a state-of-the-art amenity that will provide a true benefit to our residents.
Eight refrigerated and 62 dry package lockers from Smiota, all controlled by Smiota’s Locker Operating System and an intuitive unified interface, were installed at 2Hopkins in early August. The refrigerated lockers are designed to accept fresh produce without insulated packaging, offer chill to frozen temperatures and customizable colors that can match the interior design of any community.
With 2Hopkins situated in the heart of downtown, residents do not have seamless access to nearby grocery stores, and many choose a vehicle-free lifestyle. The refrigerated lockers eliminate many of these challenges. Another common obstacle with food-delivery services is wavering product and courier availability, which makes it difficult to produce accurate delivery-time windows. With refrigerated lockers, residents don’t have to be home for delivery drivers to secure and safely store food that needs to be refrigerated.
Waheed Rasheed, cofounder and chief marketing officer for Smiota, pointed out:
There is a much bigger time window for delivery since the resident can order online and the couriers can deliver fresh produce, milk and eggs directly into [a] refrigerated Smiota PoD. Residents get the convenience of not waiting at home for the delivery, and couriers save time by aggregating all orders and delivering once. The lockers also provide an ecofriendly method of storage, as Styrofoam and dry-ice packaging aren’t needed to keep the goods fresh, thus reducing waste.
With e-commerce projected to surge 125 percent in the next five years and surpass $4 trillion in annual revenue by 2020, on-demand food delivery will play a big role in the ever-growing trend, notes the company. By 2020, more than 50 billion packages will be delivered annually, and apartment communities will account for a hefty portion of that total.
The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) recently revealed that package management solutions are the No. 1 sought-after amenity beyond location.
Jennifer Rucker, vice president of operations for LIVEbe, commented:
We’re super excited because this really fits the level of service we’re aiming to provide our residents. It also breaks the mold of multifamily developments where many insist things can only be done a certain way.
2Hopkins already is among the most amenity-rich communities in the area, according to LIVEbe. The community features views of the city from the floor-to-ceiling windows, a 21st-floor resident lounge and fitness center, yoga studio, state-of-the-art bike storage and repair area, pet spa with large and small dog areas, and community host/concierge, along with garage parking and resident-curated events. The penthouse level features remote-controlled blinds and special corridor designer finishes.