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NY deliveries go high-tech

Residential buildings in New York tap tech to deal with the onslaught of packages, so that its residents can track their deliveries.

New York

PACKAGE deliveries are overtaking New York City and the way many residential buildings have responded to the influx is to go high-tech.

UPS reported an almost 29 per cent increase in average daily package volume in the United States from 2008 to 2018 - and they've got the brown boxes to prove it.

But for many New Yorkers, coming home to find deliveries stacked in the vestibule, hidden behind the building's garbage cans, or worst of all, left outside a locked door, is a thing of the past.

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Instead, locker systems with real-time notifications, lobby screens showing "package" emojis for each apartment and front door systems that allow residents to let delivery people into their homes remotely are helping New Yorkers take back their hallways - and get their stuff on time.

Georgianna Oliver, the chief executive and founder of Package Concierge, a self-serve locker solution designed to automate the delivery of packages, said the biggest issue her customer base of apartment buildings in New York City faced was space constraints. "There's nowhere for all the packages," she said. In most cases, a hallway is the chosen spot for the locker system.

The average 200-unit building receives 70 packages a day and it can take 12 to 20 hours for residents to pick them up, Ms Oliver said. "Next thing you know, there's a hundred unclaimed boxes. It's definitely about managing the package flow," she said. "We have a formula for how we determine a building's needs - 100 units requires a 30-40 locker system; that takes up 7 to 8 feet of hallway space."

So far, Package Concierge has made it to 137 buildings in the New York metropolitan area, with 25 of them in New York City, including Riverbank, a luxury apartment building in Hell's Kitchen. The lockers at Riverbank are neutral and streamlined, but the colour and size of the lockers can be made to match the look of each individual lobby. "Everything we do is customised as far as size and colour," said Ms Oliver. "The wraps can be flamingos or Tiffany boxes," she said, describing some of the more fanciful overlays that buildings have chosen for their lockers.

Residents seem happy with the addition. "They love it because they don't have a security issue and they know where their package is," she said. "We take a photo of every transaction. They're impressed with the technology."

Ms Oliver said that in buildings with lockers, about 80 per cent of residents opted to use the system. If residents choose not to sign up, they receive a registration reminder, but they can have packages shipped elsewhere (such as their office).

In buildings with a human concierge, the lockers have provided relief from the onslaught. "The concierge had to spend so much time on packages they didn't have time to do their real job," she said.

Smaller buildings around town have also implemented new systems to deal with package deliverysuch as Latch, which is a full-building access system that allows users to manage and open doors with a smartphone or a door code. NYTIMES