First Published in The Globe and Mail on August 18, 2020 by Peter Nowak.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had at least one positive effect on Richard Myers’s business. Users of Alternawork, his 25,000-square-foot co-working offices in Oakville, Ont., can now safely receive and send packages without signatures or other human interaction.
The pandemic helped with the signature aspect, with many shipping companies and couriers dropping the requirement in order to maintain physical distancing. But “smart lockers” have also been key in allowing them to deliver and securely store packages until office users are ready to pick them up.
Infrared light sensors in the lockers detect when a package is inserted, at which point a notification is sent by text message or e-mail to alert the recipient that there’s mail waiting for them. It works the same in reverse – users can insert packages and let carriers know they’re ready for pickup.