Innovative idea leads to ‘smart’ lockers for dorm residents

  • Published
  • By Samuel King Jr.

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- An innovative idea became a reality late last year, when Eglin’s non-student dorm residents gained access to new smart lockers for their package deliveries.

Dorm residents, who are signed up for a locker, can now access their safe and secure package via a phone app or email/text code that unlocks the door to their item.  All packages, outside of the Postal Service, such as Amazon, FEDex and UPS can be delivered to the lockers.

The idea arose directly from dorm residents themselves in 2019, who shared concerns about delivered packages being stolen or out in the unpredictable Florida weather.

Brainstorming sessions between the Eglin Innovation Office and the 96th Civil Engineer Group began soon after.  The newly formed working group focused on best practices and the most innovative approaches and solutions to solve the issue for the Airmen.

The task was much larger than just dropping in a set of school-style lockers along a wall of the Eglin dormitories.  Logistics, infrastructure and communication systems were involved to make it a reality.

At first, there were some hurdles, but we have a great support team here at Eglin, so CE made things happen,” said Danny Saunders, 96th CEG.  “A little blood, sweat and a lot of patience.”

Eventually the lockers were set under a well-lit pavilion with sidewalks leading to it.  Wireless connectivity was added to enable the ‘smart’ features.

The smart locker system arrived in September 2023 and began receiving packages that November.

“These innovators’ journey was marked by their unwavering determination and perseverance in the face of numerous challenges and setbacks,” said Yvonne Comesario, Eglin Innovation Office. “Grassroot efforts such as this creates a supportive military community viable to the quality-of-life to our Airmen.”