SafeDrop – Part 2: Function and Benefits

SafeDrop is a secure box for receiving a physical package delivery, without the need of recipient to be present. If you recall, it was my team’s project at the AT&T Developer Summit Hackathon earlier this month.

SafeDrop is implemented with Intel Edison board at its core, coordinating various peripheral devices to produce a secure receiving product, and it won second place in the “Best Use of Intel Edison” at the hackathon.

SafeDrop box with scanner

SafeDrop box with scanner

Components built in the SafeDrop

Components built in the SafeDrop

While many companies have focused on the online security of eCommerce, the current package delivery at the last mile is still very much insecure. ECommerce is ubiquitous, and somehow people need to receive the physical goods.

The delivery company would tell you the order will be delivered on a particular day. You can wait at home all day to receive the package, or let the package sit in front of your house and risk someone stealing it.

Every year there are reports of package theft during holiday season, but more importantly, the inconvenience of staying home to accept goods and the lack of peace of mind, really annoys many people.

With SafeDrop, your package is delivered, securely!

How SafeDrop works:

1. When a recipient is notified a package delivery with a tracking number, he puts that tracking number in a mobile app, which essentially registers it to SafeDrop box that it is expecting a package with that tracking number.

2. When delivery person arrives, he just scans the tracking number barcode on the SafeDrop box, and that barcode is the unique key to open the SafeDrop. Once the tracking number is verified, the SafeDrop will open.

Delivery person scans the package in front of SafeDrop

Delivery person scans the package in front of SafeDrop

3. When the SafeDrop is opened, a video is recorded for the entire duration when the door is open, as a security measure. If the SafeDrop is not closed, a loud buzz sound continues until it is closed properly.

Inside of SafeDrop: Intel Edison board, sensor, buzzer, LED, servo, and webcam

Inside of SafeDrop: Intel Edison board, sensor, buzzer, LED, servo, and webcam

4. Once the package is within SafeDrop, a notification is sent to recipient’s mobile app, indicating the expected package has been delivered. Also shows a link to the video recorded.

In the future, SafeDrop could be integrated with USPS, UPS and FedEx, to verify the package tracking number for the SafeDrop automatically. When delivery person scans tracking number on SafeDrop, it automatically update status to “delivered” into that tracking record in delivery company’s database too. That way, the entire delivery process is automated in a secure fashion.

This SafeDrop design highlights three advantages:

1. Tracking number barcode as the key to the SafeDrop.
That barcode is tracked during the entire delivery, and it is with the package always, and it is fitting to use that as “key” to open its destination. We do not introduce any “new” or “additional” thing for the process.

2. Accurate delivery, which eliminates human mistakes.
Human error sometimes causes deliveries to the wrong address. With SafeDrop integrated into the shipping system, the focus is on a package (with tracking number as package ID) going to a target (SafeDrop ID associated with an address).

In a sense, the package (package ID) has its intended target (SafeDrop ID). The package can only be deposited into one and only one SafeDrop, which eliminates the wrong delivery issue.

3. Non-disputable delivery.
This dispute could happen: delivery company says a package has been delivered, but the recipient says that it has not arrived. The possible reasons: a) delivery person didn’t really deliver it; b) delivery person dropped it to a wrong address; c) a thief came by and took it; d) the recipient got it but was making a false claim.

SafeDrop makes things clear! If it is really delivered to SafeDrop, it is being recorded, and delivery company has done its job. If it is in the SafeDrop, the recipient has it. Really there is no dispute.

I will be showing SafeDrop at Modern Supply Chain Experience in San Jose, January 26 and 27 in the Maker Zone in the Solutions Showcase. If you’re attending the show, come by and check out SafeDrop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *