UPS to launch smart devices for entry into apartment buildings in Atlanta

UPS plans to begin using Latch smart access devices in Atlanta and nine other cities later this year, expanding the technology that allows drivers to enter apartment buildings to make deliveries.

Sandy Springs-based UPS started using the Latch devices in New York City and San Francisco last year.

The devices can grant UPS drivers access to multi-unit buildings, but not to individual units. UPS said the technology makes it more convenient for residents to get deliveries when they aren't home -- and crucially, it also allows UPS to complete more deliveries on a first attempt to cut costs.

"Smart access devices enable our drivers to enter buildings without keys and leave packages safely in lobbies or building package rooms," said UPS vice president of global product innovation Jerome Roberts in a written statement.  "For UPS, this innovation adds efficiency," he added.

The company is expanding the use of Latch devices in mid-2019 to Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Miami and Seattle.

Buildings that qualify based on factors such as size and location can be registered with Latch, and the devices would need to be installed. Latch technology can also allow residents to enter the building and manage guest access.

UPS drivers would use their handheld DIAD devices to unlock doors to enter buildings. Latch records each entry while a camera also records the interaction.

Other companies like Amazon have deployed technology like Amazon Key with wi-fi connected locks and in-car deliveries, as the growth in deliveries drives consumers' desire to seek a balance between convenience versus security and privacy.