How to Design a Smart Locker Solution

A guide to designing a strategy that ensures the successful implementation of Smart Lockers into a business. This eBook shares the experience we have developed over years of successfully delivering Smart Lockers for customers in almost every industry.

A guide to designing a strategy that ensures the successful implementation of Smart Lockers into a business. This eBook shares the experience we have developed over years of successfully delivering Smart Lockers for customers in almost every industry.


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A step-by-step guide <strong>to</strong> designing a <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong><br />

solution that maximises the benefit <strong>to</strong> your business


Introduction<br />

What are you planning <strong>to</strong> use your <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> for?<br />

What type of <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> should you choose?<br />

Where should you install your <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>?<br />

<strong>How</strong> <strong>to</strong> integrate your <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong><br />

<strong>How</strong> <strong>to</strong> mitigate problems when integrating <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>s<br />

Beyond Integration - Built On Now Application<br />

Decision Time<br />

4<br />

7<br />

9<br />

13<br />

15<br />

19<br />

22<br />

24<br />

A guide <strong>to</strong> designing a strategy that ensures<br />

the successful implementation<br />

of <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>s in<strong>to</strong> a business.<br />

This eBook shares the experience we<br />

have developed over years of successfully<br />

delivering <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>s for cus<strong>to</strong>mers<br />

in almost every industry.<br />

This is a must read for anyone wanting<br />

<strong>to</strong> make sure they get the best return on<br />

investment for their commitment and their<br />

<strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> solution delivers results.<br />



For the investment of time and money you are going <strong>to</strong> get your business <strong>to</strong> make in implementing<br />

a <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> solution, it’s important <strong>to</strong> make sure it’s going <strong>to</strong> deliver the results you commit <strong>to</strong>.<br />

<strong>Design</strong>ing <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>s for your business seems like a simple task, but <strong>to</strong> create a solution which<br />

maximises its Return on Investment (which we covered in our first ebook in this series ‘<strong>How</strong> <strong>to</strong> Build<br />

a Business Case for <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>s’) and is adopted and used by both your support teams and employees<br />

can be complex <strong>to</strong> get right.<br />

The successful delivery of <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>s in<strong>to</strong> your business will bring significant benefits, but at Velocity<br />

we also use the “R = Q x A” model <strong>to</strong> make sure these benefits are realised. Even if you have the best<br />

solution in the world, if no-one uses it, you won’t deliver the results you wanted.<br />

In talking <strong>to</strong> countless cus<strong>to</strong>mers, we’ve found that the way you design and implement <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>s<br />

really can be the difference between a solution which will make a Return on Investment of a few months<br />

or a solution that fails <strong>to</strong> get used and never makes the return that was promised at the outset.<br />

To make sure you achieve the former not the latter, we have compiled a guide of the <strong>to</strong>p most do’s<br />

and don’ts in how <strong>to</strong> design a winning <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> solution. We’ve learnt what works and what<br />

<strong>to</strong> avoid through years of successfully delivering <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>s for cus<strong>to</strong>mers in almost every industry.<br />

This guide covers four main questions which you need <strong>to</strong> think through when designing<br />

a <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> solution:<br />

What are you planning <strong>to</strong> use your <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> for?<br />


For example<br />

Bad Adoption<br />

1<br />

Results<br />

= 10 x 1 10<br />

= Quality x<br />

Bad <strong>Solution</strong><br />

= 2 x 5 100<br />

Adoption<br />

Great <strong>Solution</strong> and Adoption<br />

= 10 x 10<br />

What type of <strong>Smart</strong> device should you choose?<br />

Where <strong>to</strong> install your <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>?<br />

<strong>How</strong> <strong>to</strong> integrate your <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>?<br />

Each of these areas contain further elements worth considering, with their own specific pitfalls.<br />

So let’s explore each one in turn.<br />


What are you planning <strong>to</strong> use your<br />

<strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> for?<br />

First things first: you need <strong>to</strong> have worked out what items you want <strong>to</strong> use your <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> for and what<br />

are the “use cases” or ways in which you plan <strong>to</strong> use the locker? Some examples for these are listed below.<br />


IT equipment examples<br />

Keyboard<br />

Mouse<br />

Lap<strong>to</strong>p<br />

Tablet / Mobile<br />

HDMI cable<br />

LED projec<strong>to</strong>r<br />

Non IT equipment examples<br />

COVID<br />

testing kit<br />

Face mask<br />

Room keys<br />

Handheld RFID<br />

scanner<br />

High visibility<br />

jacket<br />

Medicine<br />


What type of <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> should<br />

you choose?<br />


24/7<br />

availability<br />

Break/Fix<br />

Borrow/loan<br />

equipment<br />

Employee<br />

purchase<br />

Equipment<br />

rollouts<br />

First things first: you need <strong>to</strong> have worked out what items you want <strong>to</strong> use your <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> for and what<br />

are the “use cases” or ways in which you plan <strong>to</strong> use the locker? Some examples for these are listed in<br />

the table on the next page.<br />

Parcel<br />

delivery<br />

Self service<br />

collect/return<br />

New starters Leavers Equipment<br />

return<br />


The types of items and the use cases you select will influence what type of device you choose,<br />

where you put them and how they will need <strong>to</strong> be used.<br />

Choosing the correct type of device at the outset is a fundamental decision that must be correct.<br />

The difference between the two is the degree of configurability each provides.<br />


Feature <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> Vending Machine<br />

Description<br />

A <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> with variable<br />

number of doors which open<br />

upon verification method<br />

A Vending Machine with Spiral<br />

Vending mo<strong>to</strong>rs<br />

Verification method Barcode RFID reader or barcode<br />

Configurable?<br />

Typical number<br />

of items s<strong>to</strong>red<br />

Can they be “daisy chained”<br />

(linked <strong>to</strong>gether)<br />

Pro’s<br />

Con’s<br />

Yes – provided the item will fit in<br />

the locker cell, a different items<br />

can be s<strong>to</strong>cked every time<br />

To ensure items are dispensed<br />

successfully every time the<br />

machine is configured for each<br />

item type<br />

Changing like for like items<br />

is possible, but may require<br />

physical configuration changes<br />

of the VM for new items<br />

4–36 per locker 60–300 per vending machine<br />

Yes<br />

Easy <strong>to</strong> configure<br />

Very flexible <strong>to</strong> changing items/<br />

use cases<br />

Low Meantime between failure<br />

MTBF (less moving parts)<br />

More user cases<br />

Items can be taken and returned<br />

Low volume of items s<strong>to</strong>red<br />

Less time between res<strong>to</strong>cking<br />

Yes<br />

High volume of items s<strong>to</strong>red<br />

Long time between res<strong>to</strong>cking<br />

Higher MTBF (due <strong>to</strong> more<br />

moving parts)<br />

Less Use Cases<br />

Items can only be taken,<br />

not returned<br />

While a <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> can be dynamically reconfigured via the cloud (dependent on the door sizes) <strong>to</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ck<br />

a variety of items, a Vending Machine cannot be reconfigured so easily. Before you commit, you should<br />

validate the items and use cases you want and check that your chosen device type can deliver those<br />

use cases.<br />

EXAMPLE:<br />

Configuration<br />

To realise the potential improvements and deliver the required ROI, your device needs <strong>to</strong> be<br />

s<strong>to</strong>cked with the correct items in the desired qualities. This requires a calculation that will need<br />

<strong>to</strong> be based on predefined use-cases and supported with real-life data.<br />

What monetary value are the items you are s<strong>to</strong>cking? <strong>How</strong> many items?<br />

<strong>How</strong> many refill trips per month works out <strong>to</strong> be the most economical?<br />

It may be more economical <strong>to</strong> have a higher number of available lockers at a given site, than <strong>to</strong> pay for<br />

a single locker <strong>to</strong> be repeatedly filled every month with several visits. What is more, this data will be key<br />

for the calculation of accurate ROI projections.<br />


Shipping & Support<br />

Global shipping, support & logistics all contribute <strong>to</strong> the “non-functional” aspects of your<br />

solution selection, but they are often overlooked, which can be a fundamental error. While<br />

many <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> providers may offer the hardware <strong>to</strong> cus<strong>to</strong>mers, there are few that can<br />

provide a full support and logistics capability on a global basis.<br />


Where <strong>to</strong> install your <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>?<br />

Place<br />

There are several considerations when choosing the right location for a <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>,<br />

the most important being the level of footfall or access that any site offers.<br />

Cus<strong>to</strong>ms requirements<br />

Clear and transparent reporting<br />

of the progress taking place<br />

Incountry Device Certification<br />

requirements for your chosen<br />

countries<br />

Installation and commissioning<br />

once in place<br />

End-<strong>to</strong>-end collection and<br />

‘white glove’ delivery <strong>to</strong> your<br />

precise desired location<br />

Ideal locker locations<br />

High Footfall<br />

Easy Access<br />

24/7 Access<br />

Easy Visibility - Surveillance<br />

Reception Areas<br />

Cafeteria / Kitchen Areas<br />

High volume sites e.g. Main / HQ<br />

Expensive <strong>to</strong> serve, remote sites<br />

Bad locker locations<br />

Secure locations<br />

“The IT guys’ corner”<br />

Basements<br />

Back office corners<br />

Places without power<br />

Locations with powerful internet signal<br />

This is an important aspect of any solution that could prove very expensive if overlooked<br />

in initial calculations.<br />

The ideal are locations with high footfall, access and visibility, such as a reception area, or cafeteria,<br />

as opposed <strong>to</strong> a basement or jani<strong>to</strong>rial area that might seem hidden or inaccessible. There is also<br />

the essential prerequisite of powerful, secure and reliable internet access.<br />


Security<br />

The security of the items within the locker and the avoidance of theft or vandalism is of course<br />

is of course important, but so is the safety and sense of personal security of staff who are<br />

retrieving items. Is the location staffed 24/7? Is it well lit? Is it in a location that is easy <strong>to</strong> access<br />

without necessitating long walks or commutes? You will only achieve a high level of uptake<br />

from staff if the location is easy <strong>to</strong> reach and safe and secure.<br />

Space<br />

A common mistake is <strong>to</strong> find the perfect location for a <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>, but <strong>to</strong> fail <strong>to</strong> consider how<br />

the locker might arrive in that place. <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>s are large and bulky items that can weigh<br />

as much as 250kg. When choosing a location, a site survey should be undertaken, as well as a<br />

risk and method statement. This can identify the methods <strong>to</strong> get the locker in, the height and<br />

width of the access, the load-bearing strength of the floor, and the methods required <strong>to</strong> gain<br />

access, e.g. stair climbers, trolleys, blankets or skids <strong>to</strong> protect polished floors, and the safety<br />

equipment needed for the job. This can avoid the nightmare of a locker travelling thousands<br />

of kilometres <strong>to</strong> a destination, only <strong>to</strong> become stuck in a stairwell!<br />

More about this is covered in our eBook ‘<strong>How</strong> <strong>to</strong> successfully implement <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>s<br />

in<strong>to</strong> your business’.<br />

<strong>How</strong> <strong>to</strong> integrate your <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong><br />

This is the area with the highest risk for error, misunderstanding or major overspend due <strong>to</strong> a lack of scope,<br />

a lack of planning, or assumptions about the scale and complexity of the task.<br />

To get the best out of your <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> solution, it’s essential <strong>to</strong> understand the benefits of integration.<br />

It’s also important <strong>to</strong> know that despite what some <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> manufacturers claim, not all integration<br />

options deliver the same benefits.<br />

Why is integration so great?<br />

Most <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>s will have a a cloud or internet-based management application which will provide<br />

you with a console <strong>to</strong> do the basic task for managing your smart devices:<br />

1. Adding or removing <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>s from your account<br />

2. Adding or removing user permissions who can use the <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>s<br />

3. Adding or removing items which can be placed in<strong>to</strong> your <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>s<br />

4. Reporting on usage and s<strong>to</strong>ck levels<br />

5. Device moni<strong>to</strong>ring and alerting<br />

6. Some may have the ability <strong>to</strong> hold approval (either max. number of items or max. value of items<br />

per month)<br />


As good as this sounds (and will be sold<br />

by the locker manufacturer), this isn’t the<br />

<strong>to</strong>ol your support teams use <strong>to</strong> perform<br />

their day <strong>to</strong> day tasks, namely your IT<br />

Service Management (ITSM) platform.<br />

Without ITSM integration the standalone<br />

challenge of this console will create serious<br />

operational headaches as they have <strong>to</strong> use<br />

the <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> portal in parallel <strong>to</strong> your<br />

ITSM platform.<br />

Standalone Challenge<br />

Your support teams will have <strong>to</strong> “swivel chair” and<br />

copy each request from your ITSM platform<br />

<strong>to</strong> your <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> App, manually raising<br />

every ticket<br />

Requests can only be raised by your support<br />

teams when they receive them<br />

All your user data (user names, email addresses<br />

and security badge numbers) has <strong>to</strong> be copied in<strong>to</strong><br />

the <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> console and then kept in synch<br />

with numerous updates<br />

All your <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> transaction data is s<strong>to</strong>red<br />

in the <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> console<br />

All of your catalogue information on what items<br />

can be s<strong>to</strong>cked and are loaded in<strong>to</strong> the lockers<br />

has <strong>to</strong> be maintained<br />

Any reporting out of the <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> console has<br />

<strong>to</strong> be manually exported and then combined with<br />

your usual IT Service Reporting<br />

Operational Headache<br />

Your <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> solution now creates MORE<br />

work, rather than saving time. You end up with<br />

unhappy support teams who refuse <strong>to</strong> use<br />

the solution<br />

You can only offer a reactive 9–5 <strong>Smart</strong><br />

<strong>Locker</strong> service<br />

You have a security and GDPR problem – how<br />

secure is this <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> console anyway?<br />

Where is the data s<strong>to</strong>red? Do you want all your<br />

important company information hosted on some<br />

third platform?<br />

You have <strong>to</strong> manage and maintain your catalogue<br />

of items in two places – yet more work<br />

You cannot get a real-time combined view of use,<br />

spend or savings linked <strong>to</strong> your existing service<br />

reporting<br />

You have <strong>to</strong> keep checking the <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong><br />

console for alerts<br />

You have <strong>to</strong> check the console for alerts and<br />

<strong>to</strong> check s<strong>to</strong>ck levels. Before you know it, your<br />

support teams forget, the solution runs out of<br />

items and your business loses faith in the service<br />


<strong>How</strong> <strong>to</strong> mitigate problems when<br />

integrating <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong>s<br />

All of these problems can be mitigated by integrating the <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> console with your ITSM platform.<br />

<strong>How</strong>ever, while the most popular ITSM platform is ServiceNow, there are still different levels of integration<br />

that affect the quality of your solution.<br />

<strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> manufacturers will often try <strong>to</strong> sell their cus<strong>to</strong>mers their own solution on the premise that<br />

it “Has an ‘Application Programming Interface’ (‘API’) <strong>to</strong> connect <strong>to</strong> ServiceNow” for example, but as we<br />

will discuss, there is ‘integration’ and then there is “Built On” App integration.<br />

Integration is generally through an API, which is the software equivalent of Google Translate –<br />

a software connec<strong>to</strong>r which does a couple of things:<br />

Pre-maps fields from one<br />

application <strong>to</strong> the equivalent<br />

field in the next application<br />

Performs a translation or calculation <strong>to</strong> one set<br />

of variables <strong>to</strong> make them understandable <strong>to</strong><br />

(or perform an instruction in) the next application<br />


You can either have a general API (a “port” which enables the application <strong>to</strong> talk “<strong>to</strong> the outside world/<br />

internet”) or a specific API pre-mapped from one application <strong>to</strong> another application it commonly is<br />

asked <strong>to</strong> conec<strong>to</strong>r <strong>to</strong> (i.e. a “ServiceNow API” would have the commonly used ServiceNow fields already<br />

mapped). This will enable one application <strong>to</strong> either pass information <strong>to</strong>, or “call” information from the other<br />

application the API is connected <strong>to</strong>.<br />

If you find a <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> manufacturer who says that they have an API, or even better a ServiceNow<br />

API, challenge over, job done right? Unfortunately it gets a bit more complicated...<br />

Even with an fully functioning API, you (or your ServiceNow development team, or a third party ServiceNow<br />

consultancy) are going <strong>to</strong> now have <strong>to</strong> do the hard job of integrating the way the locker works with your<br />

existing workflows, data models, asset databases, approval models, request forms, agent dashboards…<br />

the list is extensive <strong>to</strong> get the solution <strong>to</strong> work in the au<strong>to</strong>mated, self-serve approach which delivers the<br />

massive ROI which your business will need.<br />

The price of all this bespoke development work? Typically a project of this nature will take over four months<br />

of time and cost a minimum £250,000 ($350,000) <strong>to</strong> implement.<br />

But this isn’t the biggest issue with an API<br />

based connec<strong>to</strong>r; the biggest issue, as your<br />

ServiceNow team will tell you, is a dreaded<br />

concept called “technical debt” – the idea that<br />

a design choice you make <strong>to</strong>day keeps costing<br />

your business time and money in the future.<br />

The technical debt issue with an API is that if either application on each side of the API has any upgrades<br />

installed, the application on the other side of the API has <strong>to</strong> be retested <strong>to</strong> check that the API still works.<br />

This sounds simple, but with ServiceNow installations often becoming complex, and ServiceNow requiring<br />

each cus<strong>to</strong>mer <strong>to</strong> stay with one version of the current release (of which there are two a year), you can<br />

suddenly find yourself facing four or more costly API and application testing mini-projects per year.<br />

Suddenly you’ve added another £50,000 ($65,000) per year just <strong>to</strong> keep everything working. This is on-<strong>to</strong>p<br />

of any additional ServiceNow licences which you might require as you extend your database tables (which<br />

ServiceNow tends <strong>to</strong> charge hefty sums for).<br />

Now this whole <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> solution begins <strong>to</strong> sound really complex doesn’t it? Failing ROI without<br />

integration or high levels of bespoke development, additional licences, technical debt and mounting<br />

cost <strong>to</strong> maintain. If only there was another way?<br />


Beyond integration – Built On Now<br />

Application<br />

This technical debt and ROI value challenge is the reason why Velocity <strong>Smart</strong> Technology embarked on<br />

the ambitious goal <strong>to</strong> become the world’s first and only <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> solution not <strong>to</strong> be built on a separate<br />

cloud-based console. Our application is “Built On Now”. This means that our application is one that is built,<br />

natively, on the ServiceNow platform. In other words, it’s an application that has the primary business logic,<br />

user experience, and end cus<strong>to</strong>mer value all driven/experienced/designed on ServiceNow.<br />

In simple terms; The Velocity <strong>Smart</strong> Collect TM App which is written in ServiceNow, is certified by ServiceNow<br />

themselves <strong>to</strong> the standard they certify their own products and installs from the ServiceNow App s<strong>to</strong>re.<br />

This means that the Velocity <strong>Smart</strong> Collect TM App installs in a matter of hours and is fully<br />

configured for your specific business needs in a matter of a few weeks. Being a Built On<br />

ServiceNow application, as you would expect, the App uses all your support portals,<br />

existing approvals, workflow, asset management rules, CMDb and reporting.<br />

Remember the R = Q x A concept we talked about? Well as Velocity <strong>Smart</strong> Collect TM is just another<br />

ServiceNow App, all your employees and support staff already have have access and know how <strong>to</strong> use<br />

the App — so you don’t need expensive training and communications. This drives the easiest Adoption<br />

possible, which, when combined with the best solution, will maximise your results.<br />


100 Velocity <strong>Smart</strong><br />

Collect Results<br />

= 10 The best X<br />

locker solution<br />

10 The easiest<br />

adoption and use<br />

Better than that, the App is certified <strong>to</strong> work with each new ServiceNow version, so you can say goodbye<br />

<strong>to</strong> costly API testing and technical debt issues.<br />


Decision Time<br />

Velocity <strong>Smart</strong> technology can transform your IT support with the world’s first and only ServiceNow<br />

certified <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> and <strong>Smart</strong> Vending solution. The Velocity <strong>Smart</strong> Collect TM App means no new<br />

applications <strong>to</strong> install, which saves time for your support teams and users, offering the lowest <strong>to</strong>tal cost<br />

of ownership by proven, demonstrable savings in support effort and asset procurement costs.<br />

Can the capability of your<br />

prospective <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong><br />

manufacturer cover all of<br />

your use cases and deliver<br />

the au<strong>to</strong>mation savings<br />

you are looking for?<br />








Hopefully with this ebook we have helped guide you through the design challenges of creating<br />

a <strong>Smart</strong> <strong>Locker</strong> solution for your business which really delivers on the investment you have made.<br />


uilding<br />

Velocity <strong>Smart</strong> Technology<br />

16 Red Lion Square, WC1R 4QH<br />

envelope<br />

phone<br />

e: info@velocity-smart.com<br />

t: +44 (0)20 3608 2768

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