We are team "dolce coVIDA-20" and we are tackling the Swiss versus Virus challenge called the 'Chilometrozero Km0' of the 2nd versusVirus hackathon.
Many retailers are now focused on the immediate needs as the coronavirus stresses supply chains through a sudden shifts in consumer behaviour, which is toward online channels, This shift is likely to stick post-pandemic. While many offline and online companies are challenged to survive in the short-term, the crisis also presents opportunity. Companies have to invest ambitiously and timely in their online business in order to likely emerge as market leaders in the new normal.
From the four phases of a corona pandemic, we are entering the last two phases. Namely:
Returning to new normal: The number of cases of getting infected has decreased either through medical progress or as people have the virus and much of the population develops immunity, economic activity starts to resume due to both growing confidence and sheer necessity.
Sorting out new retail dynamics:: As post-pandemic behaviors of both B2C and B2B show a lasting shift, the nature of competition for many companies is also shifted to an entirely new level and dimension.
According to an OECD report, short and medium term responses provided by cities are clustered around six categories:
- social distancing;
- workplace and commuting;
- vulnerable groups;
- local service delivery;
- support to business; and
- communication, awareness raising and digital tools.
For this challenge, we focus on: how to help the high-risk elderly and how to help restarting the local shops economic activity? This question covers the above-listed categories 3.) and 4.). As a European AI e-commerce team, we deep dive in the challenge for more traditional ways of shopping. Because fully digital doesn’t work for those groups, i.e. 3.) and 4.)
What it does
Our solution is a hybrid of an analog mode of telecommunication that is directed to a hotline operator acting like a traffic controller (offline) and an e-commerce platform that partners a local delivery platform (online) connecting a fleet of pick-up and delivery bicycle riders.
This solution combines as many as possible existing ‘building blocks’ in order to realise a quick implementation. We need to be ready before the covid-19 after-waves to ensure ‘safe harbouring’ of risk groups and create a stimulus for the economy in the aftermath of the current situation towards new normal.
We help the retail enterprises identify and remove all obstacles and accelerate an omni-channel layout, as well as put themselves in consumers’ shoes of locals to reflect on and optimise shopping process design and improve the shopping experience of local shops.
How it works
Elderly citizens can order their fresh goods from home, and have their groceries delivered to their doorsteps within hours in partnership with delivery providers near them, in particular, belocalhero.com and Chilometrozero Km0.
For this infrastructure to function properly:
- the elderly are provided with a wireless pendant
- a hotline operator is available 24 hours (could be the local neighbors)
- the telecommunication is equipped with voice biometric recognition for consumer authentication
- the platform partners with local supermarkets and other local shops
- the volunteer platform has to be notified
- the volunteers own a bike for pick-up and delivery
The following is a transcript to the youtube video, which describes the steps of a sample customer journey of an elderly:
- An elderly pushes a button of a wireless pendant (GSM 3G/4G with SIM)
- Upon pushing the button, a hotline operator asks the elderly which service is requested. Choices are:
- Buy groceries or prescription drugs
- Connect to family, relatives, or friends
- Call medical staff such as family doctor
- Emergency call
- The operator gets a pop-up menu, showing the identity, personal details, and purchasing profile
- Authentication is done by voice biometric recognition
- Payment of the call and home deliveries are charged by phone subscription
- The operator receives an order
- The operator relays the order to the nearest and next-available on-queue volunteer home delivery service bike rider
- The rider accepts the order and bikes to the pick-up station of the supermarket
- The rider home delivers the purchased goods to the elderly
- Government subsidies pays in part the costs of the delivery process and platform
Challenges we ran into
The major challenge was about finding a way to reduce the level of complexity in authentication. At the moment, our solution uses voice biometric authentification. In the market, there exists a lot of digital including several multiple factor verification that includes sending/receiving an SMS or a phone call. It is crucial that the solution works for elderly people to make sure there is a 'safe harbouring'. In this case the lockdown can be much less heavy and economic impact will also be much less.
Accomplishments that we are proud of
We have started contacting potential partners. Already, belocalhero and swiss delivery have responded our inquiry and officially agreed to be our partner. In the following weeks, we will be having a meeting with them and discuss about the details of long-term collaboration.
What we learned
Existing ‘building blocks’ require deep and intensive research to identify them, contact the persons associated to these 'building blocks', set an appointment and meet virtually by Zoom, Skype or Teams.
What's next for dolce coVIDA-20
- Find more team members
- Setting up the business case
- Continue contacting local partners in the home delivery service
- Continue contacting local partners in the other branches of retail, telecommunication industry, voice biometric authentication, etc