The US-based retail giant Walmart has been quite an active player when it comes to blockchain technology implementation. The company has in the past filed a couple of related patents to improve their operations. The latest patent is related to a blockchain-based package delivery system, which is expected to be more secure and efficient.
The patent labeled 'Delivery Reservation Apparatus and Method' describes a way of managing package reservations in the context of the customer not being available to actually receive it. A blockchain-based system will be used to track storage locations in the docking stations. Each location in the docking station has a capacity unit corresponding to the space available. This will track the availability of lockers and their status, whether occupied, available or reserved. Each node in the blockchain will represent a docking station and act as an open record for the number of lockers available and the status of the same. This might imply that the docking stations aren’t owned by Walmart alone.
While online retail stores offer convenience to customers since the products are delivered to their doorstep rather than the customer having to pick it up from the store, it could pose certain problems as well. With packages that require the customer to sign while receiving it, scheduling a time when both the courier as well as the customer is available can rather be difficult. The package might get replaced by the courier, or in case the customer is unavailable to receive it, the package could be left in an unsecured location where it could undergo damage or risk theft. The latest patent filing by Walmart also highlights these issues.
Some of the previous blockchain-based patents by Walmart include - a blockchain-based medical records system, a cryptocurrency-powered energy consumption management system, a blockchain-based fresh and live food business and a blockchain-based payments information system.