Smart Locker Systems – An Introduction.
In today’s hybrid and flexible workplace, making the most of company assets and ensuring costs for facilities management are kept to a minimum is high on the list of CFOs. In this environment, smart locker systems have become an essential tool for any organisation or business that wants to improve organisational efficiency and reduce costs, irrespective of the sector they operate in.
Whether an industrial business with a need for asset management lockers or an office-based business providing safe and secure staff lockers for a hybrid workforce, more and more workplaces are realising the benefits of an intelligent locker system. Smart locker systems provide provide your organisation with capital cost and operational management cost savings from the first day it is installed.
Read on to learn how smart locker systems work and their benefits compared to traditional lockers.
The Concept of Smart Lockers
The concept of a smart locker has been around for a few years now; they are like traditional lockers in that they can be a variety of sizes, shapes and designs depending on the use they are installed for. Where they differ is that the locks are connected to a network and are controlled by locker management software, allowing for streamlined, automated, controlled use and access without keys or codes.
Why Upgrade to Smart Lockers?
Many businesses adopt smart locker systems to improve organisational efficiency. By automation workflows and making their lockers self service, our customers have shown savings of up to 94% saving on management time. Making the system pay for itself within a month of installation
In office and staff locker settings, eLocker enables staff members to store and retrieve personal items quickly and easily, without having to carry physical keys or memorise lengthy key codes.
Whereas in a warehouse setting, our Smart Asset Management Lockers enable employees secure access to company equipment while the management system keeps those responsible for inventory notified and informed of where every asset is and its availability. The locker management software that controls the lockers allows oversight and insight into how assets are used and where potential roadblocks might be.
In today’s Hybrid workplace, the ability of smart locker systems to enable hot lockers (where each locker can be available to multiple staff members depending on working patterns) ensures the most efficient use of space and reduces costs.
Smart Locker Technology
How smart locker systems work in simple terms? They typically comprise a network of connected lockers that can be controlled remotely via locker management software. The system allows authorised users to access the lockers and, in the case of company assets, the item or items inside.
The remote management system also allows administrators to monitor the usage of the smart locker system and track any suspicious activity or be alerted when assets have not been returned on time, as well as gaining valuable insight and analytics around the usage of your locker system over time.
The software makes locker management simple and accountable. The requirement for keys or lock codes is removed. Due to the simplicity and oversight provided in the system, companies with large locker inventories can reduce the manpower required to manage the lockers on a day-to-day basis.
In asset management terms, always knowing who and where an asset is is a huge time saver and reduces the incidences where staff arrive to work, only to find they cannot get hold of the equipment they need and waste time looking for it. The technology used means locating assets is never a problem without the need to account for human memory lapses.
Access to smart lockers by pre-approved personnel can be achieved with existing access tags using 13.56 MHz RFID access badge technology. If an organisation has existing access tags or security cards, the integration of those cards leads to an extremely cost-efficient and non-disruptive installation process, while also creating a fantastic ‘one card policy’
If there is no pre-existing RFID technology available within the organisation or it is a more public installation like remote collection parcel lockers, then lockers can be accessed using a mobile app, or eLocker can provide credentials as necessary. The smart locker technology being cloud-based means the options available are practically unlimited.
Smart Locker System Uses
Smart locker systems are designed to provide secure, convenient, and hassle-free storage and access solutions for businesses and organisations of all sizes across any sector. They can be installed in public places like office buildings, schools, hospitals, warehouses, and factories, to name just a few.
It perhaps goes without saying that smart lockers are required anywhere there is a need for storage and asset management. Smart lockers have a variety of different applications and therefore have the potential to be used in a huge range of both public and private settings.
Private Sector Smart Lockers
While not limited to these, common uses of smart lockers by the private sector include many scenarios where traditional lockers are used.
Having a cloud-based management system means that lockers can be allocated to any staff member when available. Called “hot lockers”, this allows for reduced numbers of lockers to serve the same number of staff, the current trend for flexible and hybrid working means the savings of this system are more prominent than ever.
Asset Management Lockers
Asset management is important in all kinds of settings. Using a smart locker system allows IT departments to manage equipment, always knowing where it is and who collected it. These assets may be tools, equipment, or radio and communication devices in a different setting. Asset tracking means these types of items are always back in their allocated locker, fully charged and ready for the next use.
Public Sector Use Cases
Control and security of assets in the public sector is paramount. These publicly owned assets demand full accountability, and the organisation involved is responsible for ensuring that they provide the highest possible lifetime value while managing them within certain regulatory frameworks. Ensuring regular maintenance and preventing them from becoming lost or otherwise going missing is a top priority. A smart locker system enables full accountability, uses tracking and prevents theft.
In common with all public bodies, the emergency services need to look after and ensure the best possible use of equipment. Radios and digital devices, including body cameras and others, can be accessed via dedicated lockers with charging facilities, ensuring the most efficient use of this equipment over multiple shifts.
As part of an upgrade to their systems, these case studies show how some UK emergency services providers have upgraded their device management processes with smart lockers.
Lockers have always been part of the educational establishment in schools, colleges and universities. The move to more handheld devices issued to students in all education settings means asset management has become more important. Installation of smart locker systems from eLocker has successfully been used in schools to secure devices and reduce losses.
Hospital and Medical Lockers
Additionally, smart lockers can be used in hospitals to store medication or other medical supplies securely. One use case in this setting is to avoid long waits for these supplies occupying multiple staff members for excessively long periods. Using a smart locker system, wards or individual staff members can be notified when items have been dispensed and where they can be collected without waiting or queues.
Parcel Delivery Lockers
The use of smart lockers is not limited to these sectors and industries, with new applications of the technology being realised regularly. There is a trend for public lockers facilitating the growth of click-and-collect shopping in physical retail settings where click-and-collect lockers provide easy access for customer collections, sometimes without actually needing to enter the store.
Internet shoppers are increasingly making use of package delivery lockers. No longer needing to be at home to take deliveries, they can conveniently collect the order from a public parcel delivery locker when it suits them.
Smart Locker Systems vs Traditional Locker Systems
When making changes in the workplace, there are a lot of factors to consider. This is no different when deciding between traditional locker systems and smart locker systems. However, it is not always a case of one or the other, as smart replacement locker locks can be installed in existing mechanical lockers allowing an upgrade without the additional cost of replacing the infrastructure.
Smart locker systems are more secure than traditional lockers that can be broken into more easily and often don’t have features like electronic locking and tracking that smart locker systems do. This means that the contents are more likely to be safe in a smart locker system, especially important when storage of high-value equipment, sensitive information or staff belongings are involved.
Smart locker systems are more convenient. With traditional locker systems, there is a need to remember a combination or have a key to access lockers. Using the aforementioned RFID technology, access is made simpler with integration to existing IDs or tags. Easier for the user and facilities teams who no longer must manage keys, codes and the inevitable ‘lost key’ situations.
With traditional lockers, there is single-use or user allocation for each locker. With smart locker systems, this is not the case. Hot lockers and the flexibility to manage each locker remotely mean that facility management teams can flexibly change the locker provision with a few clicks.
More flexible access options. Smart lockers typically offer a variety of access options, such as mobile or key card access. Having these all connected to the smart locker management software means business owners and employers have greater control over what resources can be accessed, when, and by whom.
Greater efficiency and organisation. A well-organised locker system can help to make your workplace more efficient by reducing clutter and the risk of misplaced resources. If something is not in the locker it is meant to be; then analytics can be utilised to identify who last accessed the locker to more easily locate any missing items. Due to the tracking and accountability provided, the use of smart locker systems appears to make staff more considerate, ensuring equipment used is returned promptly and responsibly.
A good locker system can actually save businesses money by optimising inventory control and resource allocation. The management cost savings alone can make the investment an attractive proposition. eLocker smart locker solutions have saved up to 94% on time and management costs for customers, and the system can be retrofitted to existing locker spaces. Not only vastly improving asset performance and reducing wasted workspace but a more cost-effective, budget-friendly option!
How to Choose the Right Smart Locker System for Your Needs
Smart locker systems can be fully customised to fit into their intended environment. The eLocker system is modular, so lockers can be added or taken away over time, as needed. Additionally, eLocker provides a range of locks that can be retrofitted to existing hardware as part of their smart locker solution.
Whatever the environment or use case, eLocker experts can advise on the required elements, security and technology that will meet the project’s needs. As an industry leader, eLocker has had the privilege of supplying smart locker systems to a varied selection of use cases and clients. The team has practical and creative solutions if you have a special one-off case.
Smart locker systems are becoming more and more popular for a good reason. They provide a convenient, secure way to safely and worry-free store your inventory and belongings. Not only that, they save time and money when compared to alternative solutions. Where the provision of a safe, reliable, manageable and flexible storage solution is required, a smart locker system from eLocker is the only sensible choice.
eLocker is the perfect choice for businesses and individuals who want access to the latest technology and features, offering a wide range of products and services to provide quality solutions to demanding needs.
Contact us today to learn more about our offerings, or book a discovery call to see what our smart locker systems can do for you!
Smart Locker Systems FAQs
Are Smart Lockers Safe?
Yes, smart lockers are safe. Here are the three main reasons why:
- They’re tamper-proof. Smart lockers are designed to thwart would-be thieves and vandals. They’re made of sturdy materials like steel that can’t be easily damaged, and they typically have locks that can only be opened with a key or access code.
- They’re weatherproof. Smart lockers are built to withstand the elements, so you don’t have to worry about your belongings getting wet or ruined by exposure to the elements or high levels of wear and tear. Smart locks are highly durable and are built for their purpose.
- They’re secure. Smart lockers usually have features that make them more secure than traditional storage options, like locking mechanisms that prevent anyone but you (with a valid key card or access fob) from entering. You can be confident leaving your important belongings in smart lockers as all access is tracked and monitored via the central management system.
Are Smart Lockers More Expensive than Traditional Lockers?
This is debatable! The answer to this seems apparent network accessible locks and high-quality new equipment do add costs when compared to traditional lockers, so a simple answer is yes.
Yes, capital costs for smart lockers are generally more expensive than traditional lockers. However, when taking into account whole-of-life costs and reduced management and maintenance costs, it is not quite so clear cut and makes smart lockers a smart investment.
Regardless of the investment, there are a number of benefits that come with switching to smart lockers.
- Enhanced security features
- Access Tracking
- Ease of Use
- Asset Management
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