Finnish postal operator Posti is strengthening its parcel locker network with the launch of new outdoor lockers developed in cooperation with Finnish technology partners that will be able to withstand Finland’s demanding weather conditions.
The post is currently investing more than €100m (US$121m) in strengthening its parcel and e-commerce operations and increasing parcel locker capacity is one of the most important development areas. Posti currently has 2,200 parcel locker locations containing more than 130,000 individual lockers and plans to increase this by 10-15 parcel lockers per week over the coming years.
“Finns really like parcel lockers, and they are popular places to receive parcels. The new outdoor parcel lockers are ready for use to 24/7 and a natural continuation to Posti’s unique parcel locker success story. The parcel lockers are to be placed in connection with our retail partners and other public places along the different shopping routes,” said Heiko Laubach, who is responsible for Posti’s service point network.
The new outdoor parcel locker model has been developed together with Finnish technology partners Punta Oy, Kaltiot, Solmu Technologies, elfGROUP, Verkota, iProtoXi and ID-Systems IDS. The University of Oulu and VTT have also been involved in the development work. The new outdoor lockers will use advanced wireless communication and connection technologies (BLE and LTE-M) developed for the Internet of Things (IoT), which will allow the lockers to be opened using the OmaPosti application in the future. In the initial phase, the lockers are opened with a PIN code.
“The parcel lockers are quick to set up, as the required energy is obtained from the batteries and there is no need for separate mains connection or telecommunication cabling. The parcel locker communicates in real time with Posti’s back-end systems,” explained Jari Paasikivi, who is responsible for the technical solution.
According to Posti, Finland’s weather conditions are demanding, and the functionality of ready-made outdoor parcel locker models is uncertain. Therefore, the starting point of Posti’s outdoor parcel locker solution has been to ensure its the suitability for the Finnish climate by several test periods.
“We have, for example, performed several months of outdoor testing in the winter, as well as various low-temperature tests in laboratory. The result is a Finnish, technologically advanced outdoor parcel locker and the necessary technical components with the necessary applications,” Paasikivi continued.
The first outdoor parcel locker will begin operation during the summer in Vantaa. With the continuously growing e-commerce trend, Posti will need more than 200,000 lockers in the next few years, and a significant portion of the new lockers will be located outdoors.