Kitchen & Cooking

In Sweden, smart home tech unlocks homes for grocery delivery

The front porch is SO last decade.

In-fridge Grocery Delivery Credit: Glue, ICA

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You can buy just about anything online these days—groceries included. Popular services like Instacart and Peapod make it easy to get fresh food delivered to your doorstep, but they usually stop right there. That means you either need to be at home when the food is delivered, or avoid ordering perishables.

But there's an obvious solution: Turn over your keys to a delivery service, and let them put the food right into your fridge.

You might think that sounds risky, but some Swedes are already trying it out thanks to a pilot program launched just last week. Smart home start-up Glue, leading grocery chain ICA and delivery company PostNord are joining forces to make it happen.

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The key—yes, pun intended—is a smart lock from Glue. Like similar locks from August and Kwikset, it allows homeowners to control access to their home, locking and unlocking the door from anywhere using their smartphone. Digital keys can also be shared with family, friends, and trusted companies. In the case of this pilot program, homeowners share a digital key with PostNord, whose employees then bring groceries into their kitchens.

To initiate an “In-Fridge Delivery,” the customer places an order online through ICA’s website and sets a delivery time. They then use the Glue app to allow access to the home during a specific timeframe. PostNord’s delivery person retrieves the digital key through the Glue app to access the home, unpacks the groceries, and stocks the fridge. The app notifies the homeowner that the delivery has been received, and that the delivery person has left.

Glue CEO Carl Johan Grandinson says this partnership takes delivery services to the next level, “unlocking” the force of the on-demand economy. In particular, he hopes it encourages people to think differently when it comes to opening up their homes for services that make everyday life easier.

The three-way partnership between grocer, delivery service, and smart home provider is what makes this pilot program so intriguing. And if the security issues seem tricky, it doesn’t hurt that this is, well... Sweden—a country that enjoys a lower crime rate than many U.S. cities.

But as smart home features gain consumer acceptance, don’t be surprised to see similar services start to pop up in major metropolitan areas of the U.S. In fact, smart lock maker August has already launched a beta program that envisions not just deliveries but also pet care, elder care, housecleaning, and more.

The future is here, and it’s knocking on your front door.

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