Smart Lockers: Streetwise Self-Service Hubs for the On-the-Go Consumer

smart locker

The convenience of online shopping has led to an explosive growth in “on demand” O2O (online-to-offline) delivery services that enable consumers to pick up their orders exactly when and where they need them, for example at or near their workplace rather than at their home.

With an estimated 20 billion parcels delivered via express delivery services in China last year alone, it’s not surprising that smart lockers are becoming an increasingly common sight in the country’s dense urban spaces as companies look for new ways to facilitate package deliveries and collections while minimizing logistics costs.

Among 50 cities recently surveyed by the China Post, 30,000 smart lockers have already been deployed covering 86% of urban residential areas – with tens of thousands more expected to be deployed in the near future. With their smart phone connectivity and compatibility with mobile payment services, many of these lockers are quickly morphing into streetwise self-service hubs that provide additional services such as utility bill payments, laundry deliveries, and local shopping and transportation information for the on-the-go consumer.

ARTiGO A830We developed the VIA ARTiGO A830, which we announced last week, to meet the specific requirements of our smart locker customers in China. At the top of this list was the need to ensure 24/7 operation for the system in the demanding weather conditions that can occur in the country, whether it sweltering heat or freezing cold. To meet this need, we designed the VIA ARTiGO A830 from the ground up to support a wide operating temperature range, as well as surge and lightning protection, and housed it in an ultra-tough enclosure.

Seamless connectivity to a wide variety of peripherals such as touch screens, barcode scanners and readers, and security cameras was another key requirement. To provide as many options as possible, we integrated six USB 2.0 ports, five RS-232 COM ports, and one 3-pole Phoenix RS-485 COM port into the system, as well as HDMI and LVDS ports to enable easy display integration.

artigo-a830-overview2016Outstanding multimedia performance and a familiar user interface were the third major requirement. In addition to powering the system with a high-performance yet low-power 1.0GHz NXP i.MX 6DualLite Cortex-A9 SoC, we created a dedicated Android BSP to facilitate the development of rich multimedia apps and services using touch, voice, and wireless interfaces. Featuring Android 4.4.2, the BSP also comes with the VIA Smart ETK comprising a number of APIs, including Watchdog Timer (WDT) for safeguarding against system crashes, GPIO access, COM port access, RTC for auto-power on, and a sample app.

With its flexible design, the VIA ARTiGO A830 offers ample customization headroom for multiple applications such as smart lockers, smart vending machines, smart information kiosks, and smart signage systems. To learn more about how it can help accelerate the development of your own streetwise IoT deployments, please check out the product page here.

VIA Technologies, Inc.