City life has a lot going for it, but for most cities, the high density brings with it high traffic. That high traffic is both exacerbated and created in part by the numerous small parcel transport vehicles picking up and delivering throughout the day.
What if package delivery could be crowdsourced?
That’s the question DHL is going to test out shortly. Based on a program created by the students at the University of Potsdam’s HPI School of Design Thinking, it takes advantage of the increasing ubiquity of location aware smartphones to tap people who are already commuting through the routes a package needs to take.
Sweetening the deal, people earn points for each activity, and can redeem them for free transit passes, goods at local stores/cafes, or donations to the organization of their choice. The video the ‘bring.BUDDY’ system, demonstrates how packages get relayed from point to point. Along the way, participant’s phones serve as a confirmation of identity and a record of the package’s progress.
The benefits are clear: Reduced motorized traffic, emissions, and a novel way to connect neighbor to neighbor, and distribution point businesses to customers. What is not clear is how this will play out in the real world. What systems will be put in place if theft were to occur? What happens when someone doesn’t show or is delayed in their part in delivering the package?
Beyond that, there’s the end recipient of the package. How will their trust be gained in something that sounds quite tenuous, adding a question mark to the reliable system they’ve come to trust? Perhaps they could be rewarded for choosing this delivery path versus going through conventional DHL methods?
If DHL proceeds with this, A lot will fall on its marketing to come up with effective messaging to both emphasize the safety of delivery and the ecological/quality of life benefits everybody will experience as a result of bring.BUDDY style delivery.
Readers: What’s your take on this crowdsourced delivery method? How would you optimize it? Would you choose to have your packages delivered by this method? Why or why not?
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations about, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media marketing.
via The Consumerist