UPS is testing an Amazon Key-style delivery program in New York

UPS has been quietly testing a  program that lets the shipping service deliver packages inside multi-unit homes while occupants are out. The service utilizes smart locks created by Latch, a New York-based smart lock startup that teamed with Jet late last year.

The move is clearly an attempt for UPS to stay keep up to speed with Amazon, which began utilizing this sort of in-home delivery last year via Key (which has since expanded to cars), a program that utilizes Kwisket locks and its own Cloud Cam.

Here’s how the UPS system works, according to the company,

A UPS driver taking packages to a Latch-enabled building receives a unique credential on a handheld UPS DIAD (Delivery Information Acquisition Device). The credential works only for a specific building receiving deliveries. Any time a driver uses a credential to enter a building, Latch records the entry digitally to create an audit trail that identifies the user and the time of access, establishing a secure record of the transaction.  Latch’s smart access system lets residents and others use smartphones to unlock doors throughout a building, including at the main entrance. An embedded wide-angle camera within each device captures a visual record of every interaction by a non-resident that authorized users can monitor from the Latch mobile app.

UPS is quick to note that the service only works with the building, rather than individual apartment units. The pilot system certainly makes sense for New York City, where multi-unit homes are far and way the majority. As someone who gets delivery attempt slips on a regular basis in the front of my building, I’m all in favor of this program — especially one that doesn’t give access to my actual apartment. 

The pilot started in Manhattan earlier this year and is starting to roll out into Brooklyn. Latch won’t share exact numbers with regard to units that currently have access to the technology, but a rep tells me, “Hundreds of non-doorman buildings in the New York area are able to receive smart deliveries using the Latch system.”