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September 25, 2017
Walmart wants to raise the stakes in the connected economy with a new service that gets delivery drivers to pack your groceries away as well.
Before you get too excited, you can’t sit on the sofa and shout directions, it is for those who aren’t at home. As opposed to leaving your groceries outside for the neighbours to see you alcohol consumption or dirty little secret, the driver will enter the home, put packages inside the front door and groceries away in your refrigerator.
In partnership with smart home company August Home, delivery drivers will be given a code to enter into your smart lock, which will grant one-time access to complete the delivery, assuming no-one answers the doorbell first of course. When the doorbell is rung, customers receive a notification; either you can answer the door IRL or hit a button and the code is sent to the driver.
“What might seem novel today could be the standard tomorrow,” Walmart said on its blog. “This may not be for everyone – and certainly not right away – but we want to offer customers the opportunity to participate in tests today and help us shape what commerce will look like in the future.”
It sounds like an idea which is perfect for some, but in truth there will currently be a very small number who will be ready to even consider the service. It is a massive cultural shift; the idea of having a stranger in the home might make some people nervous when they are there, the thought of an unsupervised person in your home will be way too much. Most people are not that trusting, and it will be a while before they are.
But of course Walmart has an idea here. Once the delivery person rings the door bell and enters the one-time, unique code into your smart lock, you can watch the progress of the delivery on your smartphone through the home security cameras that you have had installed in your home. Sounds sensible right? We see three issues with this idea though.
Firstly, who has a security camera inside their home? Your correspondent isn’t too sure whether he knows anyone paranoid enough to install cameras throughout the inside of their house. There are a few friends and acquaintances who would only use apps like Signal just in case the government wants to keep tabs on a 41 year-old, divorced dentist, but this takes crazy to another level.
Secondly, if a person is likely to be of the mind set believing they need security cameras inside the home, do you honestly think these are going to be the same people who will let a stranger into their home unsupervised? Are initial inclination is no.
Finally, if you do not have the time to sit in the house and unpack a delivery, are you the sort of person who will be able to stop what you are doing and watch this individual, making sure they aren’t putting the tomatoes in the wrong drawer or something more nefarious. Part of the reason for home deliveries is because you want to do something else, but let me pull over on the motorway for 25 minutes while I watch the Walmart delivery person put my ice cream in the freezer.
There are plenty of ideas which are good ones, and plenty of good ones which just come at the wrong time. For example, virtual assistants are catching now, but years ago it was a ridiculous idea. This might be the way the world is going, but this is one idea which is just way too early. Then again, there could be an army of crafty husbands looking to impress their wives from the comfort of their offices; ‘look Honey, I did the shopping and put it away before you got home’.
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