/ 11 June 2023

ENGINEERS from the Technological Institute of the Philippines aim to break into the electronic parcel locker market with the DALA Smart Lockbox, a new system designed to optimize and economize last mile logistics for the e-commerce industry.

The project was developed in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology upon the endorsement of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development.

The DOST allotted roughly P5 million for the project under its Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy program. Electrical equipment company ITRACK Solutions, Inc. later joined as a partner.

DALA Smart Lockbox offers an alternative drop-off and collection point for retailers and customers to facilitate safe, secure and seamless delivery of items purchased online. It comes with storage units of different sizes powered by a software program accessible to its users.

A team of engineers and faculty researchers from the TIP Manila Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering departments collaborated on the project under the leadership of assistant professor Jennalyn Mindoro.

Mindoro conceived of a smart parcel locker during her Tech101 training in 2018 at the UPSCALE Innovation Hub at the University of the Philippines-Diliman. The development of the project began in 2021.

At the soft launch of the DALA Smart Lockbox held last May 31, 2023, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Leah J. Buendia said they found merit in its intention to solve logistical problems for online shopping stakeholders.

“With the booming e-commerce sector in the country, introducing a system that can adapt and customize with the Philippines’ payment ecosystem looks like a promising and strategic business model,” Buendia said.

The DALA technology can also be used to protect important documents from unfortunate events and situations, DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit said.

“The time lost in getting all these parcels somewhere by going through treacherous traffic is quality time lost for our family. Although lockers are not common to our country, we believe that this (technology) is coming in at a good time,” Paringit said.

“As we start integrating and implementing this innovation in the real world, we have high hopes and expectations that DALA will be at the forefront of every individual’s online shopping experience,” he added.

TIP Manila Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Rosalinda Valdepeñas was impressed by the functionality of the DALA Smart Lockbox system.

“The DALA project stands as a testament to our unwavering commitment to harnessing the potential of science and technology for the betterment of society,” Dr. Marianne Yumul, dean of TIP’s College of Engineering and Architecture said.

Mindoro said they are preparing the smart lockbox system for field testing by connecting the DALA application programming interface to an e-commerce platform. They will then enter into a licensing agreement with their industry partner.

Discussions are also ongoing with a Philippine-based digital logistics service innovation company regarding API integration. Once completed, the team shall begin the installation of the DALA Smart Lockbox system in public spaces such as malls.