Forget Amazon’s much-vaunted testing of drone deliveries to your home. South African startup WumDrop has launched a new precision service that delivers parcels to GPS coordinates taken from a customer’s phone, rather than a physical address.
The Deliver2Me service, which relies on old-fashioned trucks and bikes to drop off packages rather than drones, is launching with the backing of a local retail group but has been on trial since November.
Founder Simon Hartley says during the testing phase, the firm boasted “100 percent accuracy” for delivery, beating traditionally-addressed deliveries over the same space of time.
Delivery to GPS coordinates has long been mooted as a solution to a global problem that impedes the growth of e-commerce in many developing countries. Lots of people in many nations don’t have formal addresses.
Unless you’re the victim of unfortunate circumstances or have made a specific life choice, chances are that if you’re reading this, you probably know where you live. And that’s important, because without an address you probably can’t get a job, a bank account, apply for credit — and you probably can’t buy much online if no one can deliver it to you.
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UN organisation the Universal Postal Union reckons there are four billion people who don’t have a proper address, while the International Telecommunications Union estimated that 3.2 billion people were online in some form by the end of 2015.
“Even in South Africa, which has arguably the best road and address infrastructure in Africa, address data has an unacceptably high rate of inaccuracy,” Hartley says.
As in many African countries, there are large areas of South Africa which simply don’t have formal street names and numbers. This inhibits the deployment of emergency services, and postal services, even in the relatively wealthy middle classes, are still sub-par and not reliable or accurate enough for many.
Link to the rest at ZDNet and thanks to Felix for the tip.