VARIOCUBE opens DigitalerMarktplatz.com: Groceries, medicines and parcel delivery centrally to the doorstep - Economics and Agriculture Provincial Councillor launch pilot project
(St. Florian, Linz, 09. 04. 2020) The current efforts to maintain as little contact as possible with other fellow human beings have been enriched by a solution variant. As part of a project of the Food Cluster Upper Austria, their project partners are providing the market community of St. Florian near Linz with an innovative way to receive goods of all kinds, from food to medicines to the usual parcel delivery, without personal contact.
The advantages are obvious: besides the reduction of personal contact when grocery shopping, you get your goods neatly picked into the locker reserved for you. You open the locker with your smartphone or with a combination of numbers. This also saves you having to touch the shopping trolleys. Payment is made by bank transfer without having to handle cash or touch the keyboard of a terminal.
The fact that two regional councillors, Markus Achleitner and Max Hiegelsberger, both responsible for economic affairs and agriculture, did not miss the opportunity to be present at the installation of this innovative food supply option for the people of Florian underlines the importance of this pilot project.
The DigitalerMarktplatz.com transfer station is located at the operations centre of the St. Florian Red Cross/Voluntary Fire Brigade in Stiftstraße. This area is home to a number of multi-storey residential buildings, some of which have older residents. "The contactless delivery of groceries directly to the door of the flat is a service that St. Florian offers its citizens. Local businesses in particular, but also the agricultural sector, are encouraged to take advantage of this pioneering project and supply St. Florian," says Deputy Mayor Bernd Schützeneder. He was also the initiator of this installation after his efforts to supply St. Florian with products from local suppliers became public via social media. Robert Zeitlinger, Mayor of St. Florian, is pleased to underline the role of his municipality as an innovation driver: "It is important to be open to new solutions in times like these. This marketplace is a modern local supplier and will remain an attractive solution for delivery even after the crisis. I am particularly pleased that St. Florian is the first municipality in Austria to be able to offer its municipal citizens this digital marketplace with contactless delivery of goods."
Hannes Pöcklhofer, who is responsible for the conception of the food cluster project Einkauf Smart 4.0, and the St. Florian entrepreneur Willy Lehmann as coordinator of the food cluster project brought the municipality together with the project partners. Within a few days, the location was fixed, the necessary infrastructure with electricity connection and foundation was created and the Variocube transfer station was set up.
The sponsors Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberösterreich and the telecommunications provider Hutchison Drei Austria were won for the Digital Marketplace. Both companies have a strong regional connection with their products and services and have already made a major contribution to the success of this project in the past. Variocube relies on Drei's innovative infrastructure for the vending machines, which are connected to the VC Cloud Service via mobile communications (IoT). Raiffeisen, together with KMU Beteiligungs AG, is a founding member of Variocube and had already made a valuable contribution to parcel logistics two years ago with the installation of the parcel stations in Lichtenberg and Gramastetten.
Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberösterreich supports the project primarily because it links digital services with regional offers. Of course, the actual added value is evident in the current situation.
"Variocube has been one of our IoT customers since January 2019. In addition to stable and secure data transmission, the company also relies on the management and monitoring capabilities that we provide with the help of our IOT platform, the Cisco Jasper Control Center. This allows Variocube to keep an eye on its SIM cards used throughout Austria and the associated data consumption. The efficient operation, the proactive notification in case of extraordinary behaviour of the lockers and the continuously available cost control for data transmission, help our customer to concentrate on his core business. We are very pleased to be a partner in this innovative project," says Elisabeth Rettl, Head of Business Customers at Drei Austria.
Purchasing Smart 4.0 - a project of the Upper Austrian Food Cluster
The partners of the food cluster project Einkauf Smart 4.0 are the Linz housing association WAG, the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration with Hannes Pöcklhofer Projektentwicklung-, Event-, Marketing- und Gemeindeberatung from Pichling and Willy Lehmann from the brand agency of the same name or the real estate agency from St. Florian. A congenial implementation partner for DigitalerMarktplatz.com was found in the Linz-based company Variocube.
Heidrun Hochreiter, head of the Upper Austrian Food Cluster, points out the enormous importance of promoting innovative business projects on the part of the state: "It shows vision when we provide the impetus for future-oriented solutions with our projects. Partners who would probably never have come together in this way develop creative ideas that can be implemented quickly and practically, as in the current crisis.
"Installing the food supply in the vicinity of multi-storey residential buildings has several advantages in the Lebensmittelcluster OÖ project. In addition to the current Corona-related points, however, it is the economic aspects in the long term," explains Hannes Pöcklhofer. The implementation of this innovative shopping concept close to the residential unit - the motto is not only to bring the post office but also the daily shopping conveniently to the residential unit - is intended to increase the quality of life of elderly and impaired people on the one hand, and on the other hand to enable them to live as long and autonomously as possible in their own homes. This leads to a reduction in individual transport, not only for the customer but also for the delivery service. The effects will be investigated within the framework of the project in the direction of security of supply - here contactless shopping has currently become sadly topical -, mobility of persons and goods and impacts on the quality of life of older people.
Franz Spindler, Managing Director of Variocube, is already successfully using his locker system. There are installations, for example, in the DC Tower in Vienna for the office environment there or in Plus City. "The parcel lockers are allocated dynamically for each consignment and released after collection. The customer is informed of the delivery by e-mail or SMS. They receive a pick-up code with which they can remove their parcel from the locker at any time completely independent of the delivery," Spindler explains the simple handling.
Carina Steidl from WAG, as a project partner, points out that the experiences from this project represent another important building block for the sustainable development of WAG's existing and future housing stock and districts. Participation in the development of innovative concepts with partners, as well as securing usage rights for our tenants, is part of WAG's new strategic orientation. "For the residents of WAG flats, in addition to an increase in the quality of life and the implementation of smart living elements, there is also a significant sustainability effect in terms of the environment due to the elimination of many individual supply trips," says Steidl.
Willy Lehmann points out that "the Austrian food trade is extremely concentrated. Three retail chains determine over 90 percent of the Austrian shopping list. On the internet, however, there is a multitude of ordering options that go beyond the classic retail assortment. bauernladen.at, for example, is a platform where 900 Austrian food producers offer 7,000 products and can use this station. And the local suppliers, like here in St. Florian, get an additional sales place - 24 hours, 7 days a week."
Dieter Scharitzer from the University of Economics accompanies the project on a scientific level. "In addition to the scientifically sound processing, this pilot installation succeeds in incorporating practical experience in a timely manner. The speed and flexibility to obtain valid data for the project during this crisis while at the same time benefiting the population is another asset for this successful project," Scharitzer, who was born in Linz, is convinced.