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UPS expands keyless entry to apartment buildings in L.A. and 9 other cities

In this Tuesday, May 9, 2017, photo, a UPS driver takes his truck on a delivery route, in New York.
A UPS driver takes his truck on a delivery route in in 2017.
(Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)

United Parcel Service Inc. is expanding a keyless-entry system for package deliveries at apartment buildings, rolling it out to Los Angeles and nine other cities after testing it in San Francisco and New York.

The efficiency gains from not having to resend packages or fumble with a ring full of keys prompted UPS to extend the service to additional cities where high-rise residential towers are common. The system, with which drivers can enter buildings but not individual apartments, will be available in mid-2019, UPS said Tuesday.

“The residents are securely receiving packages, so customer experience is up,” said Derek Banta, UPS’ director of new product development concepts. “The service providers like having access and not having to bother other residents to get into buildings.”

UPS is using a remote-access lock made by New York-based Latch, in which a code is sent to a pre-credentialed UPS driver’s handheld computer, allowing entry into a high-rise building.

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Only buildings that have installed a Latch system will be open to UPS drivers in this way.

UPS partnered with Latch because of technology that enables the system to work even without an internet connection, Banta said. “That comfort level with their technology stack is what really got us excited,” he said.

The expansion furthers efforts by couriers to develop automation and technology as customers demand swift, secure home delivery of e-commerce wares. Amazon.com Inc. introduced a smart lock in 2017 that can let its delivery people into a customer’s home to leave a package. And Amazon acquired smart-doorbell start-up Ring for about $1 billion last year, boosting its presence in homes.

There are 20 million multifamily units in the United States, and about 350,000 added each year, according to Latch. The company also offers a product that gives residents the ability to allow couriers to gain entry into their homes with a door code.

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