Amazon's Hub delivery lockers go nationwide to solve apartment headache

Amazon is rolling out Hub by Amazon across the US, after its apartment building delivery system began accepting packages in a limited roll-out last year. The computerized lockers are the private version of Amazon Locker, intended to be installed in apartment communities so that deliveries can be secured even when recipients aren't home.

Whereas the Amazon Lockers are only of use to Amazon itself, however, Hub by Amazon is package-agnostic. Boxes and other parcels can be left in the locked cabinets rather than left with a front office or concierge. When recipient gets back home, they punch in their access code and the cabinet opens.

Installations of Hub by Amazon began last year, after the system was announced in July 2017. Today, Amazon claims the system is available for installation across the US. Over 500,000 residents already have access, the retailer says, and that number is apparently growing by thousands every month as more are fitted.

Although having deliveries accepted during the day when residents might be at work or school is one big draw, Amazon says its Hubs are useful for more than just that. Property staff, for example, won't need to sign for packages, be around to hand them over to their recipients, or deliver them to apartment doors. It could also help tidy up front offices or lobbies.

According to Amazon, some of the bigger names in property ownership and management have already signed up. That includes AvalonBay, Fairfield Residential, Pinnacle, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, WinnResidential, and Equity Residential.

The Hubs themselves come in a variety of designs and sizes, to suit different residence properties; each has a number of different compartment sizes to suit all types of package. They're also available in both indoor and outdoor versions. Access is via an integrated display with a keypad for the lock code.

Amazon isn't the only company trying to take control over the last stage of package delivery. BufferBox was acquired by Google and shut down several years ago, but there are other rivals including systems from FedEx and DHL. All promise a more straightforward way to handle deliveries while you're not home, though the way in which they charge the individual user varies. In the case of Amazon's Hubs, the residents themselves aren't charged.