Attending our first event in a World post Covid-19
Smart lockers are trending in three major market segments.
Besides logistics, that is well known for its’ implementation of smart lockers for last-mile deliveries, retail and facilities are heavy adopters of this solution. While in retail, the click & collect system is going to be implemented by over 90% US retailers in 2021, in facilities such as offices, residential buildings and co-working spaces.
Smart lockers are rapidly replacing existing mail-rooms. Besides that, smart lockers are becoming an important part of any smart city.
If we take a look at the industry geographically, we notice that Asia is leading the way with, by far, most smart lockers placed and most use-cases fulfilled. It’s followed by the United States and Europe, where the solution is mainly making presence in buildings (heavier in US) and logistics. Not a week goes by, when one of the national post-offices (or couriers) in Europe wouldn’t announce an establishment of a new locker network. Times are changing, and at a fast pace.
The Middle East region, with the lead of Emirates, is not as heavily involved in smart lockers yet. Surprisingly, some sectors, such as retail and facilities, are very strong and growing rapidly in the Emirates. Besides that, cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi are becoming an example of what a smart city should be. At Bloq.it we started paying more attention to the region after we started receiving demand not just from the final clients in the Middle East, but their resellers and distributors. These are the companies that are supposed to know the area the most.
Two weeks ago (late May, 2021), we decided to attend ‘Middle East Design and Hospitality Week’ in Dubai.
The event hosted many companies from all around the World and gave them an opportunity to present themselves to the different industries and markets present in the event. The trade show was covering topics such as hospitality, leisure, office equipment, outdoor design and several other areas. It was a great opportunity to meet global companies and potentially local distributors, especially as some of the segments do, or could, cross paths with smart locker technology.
The business orientation of Dubai was impressive. We took a chance to meet with already established distributors in the area who were able to notice the shift towards contactless picks-ups and deliveries of packages. The trend was clear, as it’s predicted to grow almost 10% annually for the next 5 years.
What can happen from now till the year 2025
E-commerce, just as much as everywhere, is rapidly growing. It’s also impressive to learn about the effort that the Emirates government, along with both of the biggest cities, is putting into the green solutions and making cities compliant with new and necessary sustainable trends. This makes the UAE much more appealing for companies to enter the region.
After talking to the many resellers and office equipment distributors in that particular trade show, it became clear that buildings in Dubai are already preparing to innovate also in terms of receiving packages. Mailrooms are already planned to be replaced by smart lockers which should present convenience on both sides – couriers and logistic companies on one side and the receiving part on another.
After staying in Dubai for 5 days and talking to experts from logistics and real estate, the end result is as expected: there is no such thing as smart buildings without smart lockers and this is clearly what Emirates are all about. Being innovative, being first and being smart.
Despite smart lockers not being a hot trend as in other parts of the World, the UAE region is getting ready to explode in this direction.