(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/Caymia)
Approximately 80 percent of homes and businesses connect using Openreach’s wholesale network, owned by BT, which means there’s a good chance if you’re living in the UK you’ve had the notoriously slow experience of calling out an engineer when something goes wrong.
BT wants to speed up engineer callouts and new deployments by reducing the distance they have to commute for equipment. Following the recent acquisition of Pelipod, a connected parcel delivery solution business, BT is using the company’s technology for underground digital lockers.
The lockers will be placed in 500 ‘strategic sites’ across the UK to prevent engineers having to make their way to main warehouses and other stock locations which could be much further away. Over time, BT is hoping to expand the lockers to “a few thousand Pelipods across the country.”
Rollout of the connected lockers will begin in the midlands and is part of a plan to increase efficiency using the IoT. Each locker will be physically secured using industrial strength cables or bolts, and digitally secured with unique codes temporarily issued when required to authorised engineers or staff.
Nicholas Hale, MD of BT Wholesale and Ventures, said:
“We currently provide supply chain services to BT Group businesses and a number of external customers. Pelipod will boost our existing supply chain offerings and provide us with a competitive edge through an innovative technology which takes advantage of the Internet of Things.”
The move also supports BT’s continuing efforts to improve customer service. By spending less time on the road traveling to forward stock locations, engineers will be able to pick up equipment more easily and spend additional time working on the network and delivering broadband and phone services to customers.”
Earlier this week, telecoms regulator Ofcom decided to split Openreach from BT over fears it prioritised its owner’s network over rivals. Following this decision, it’s unclear whether BT will keep the pods for work on its own network, or license them for Openreach to use for all providers.
Should more operators be using digital lockers for equipment? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.