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Mobile Telepresence Adds Fuel To Race For Same-Day Delivery
September 19, 2012 | Telepresence Options
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Consumeron, a startup billing itself as a "personal assistance on demand" delivery service, announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued patent number 8,244,594, covering its method for the remote acquisition and delivery of goods. A key claim is the inclusion of real-time video inspection, in which mobile delivery agents use point-of-view video streaming devices to transmit images and video to a customer, allowing for "remote inspection of goods."
Consumeron's system connects consumers with a network of hyperconnected "grabbers" (in essence, roving personal assistants) in a given city. Using an internet-connected device, customers can select a nearby grabber to deliver goods and complete tasks, with deliveries targeted within 50 minutes. Using telepresence over 4G networks and GPS, users will be able to see what the grabber sees in real time, communicate directly, and see his or her location.
Inventor and CEO Mark B. Barron filed the patent application in August 2009, after conceptualizing it years prior while gathering materials at Home Depot for his property management firm. "It hit me that my time could be better spent," Barron explained. "All this time wasted on menial tasks makes society less productive, when so many who people need jobs could do these things instead. It would be a win-win."
According to the patent, the user, once registered, requests what they want and from where they want it. That request is routed to either the nearest available agent or a customer-selected one, after viewing their availability and locations on a map. The agent then proceeds to the requested location, with GPS tracking and providing navigational information to the delivery agent. At the destination, the real-time video streaming device can allow for remote inspection of goods by the customer. Once approved by the customer, the agent acquires and delivers the goods, with the customer again provided location data and estimated time of arrival. The system is optimized to calculate the most efficient use of agents based on the remote location and delivery site; users can also establish working relationships with favorite agents and select them based on areas of expertise.
"We're so advanced in some areas but backwards in others. Today, when you need something, you have to go get it yourself. The most important part of delivery - the last mile - hasn't really evolved at all," said Barron, referring to the final leg in delivering goods to a consumer. "To be able to get anything you need when you need it is just common sense."
Both large companies and startups alike have rushed into the same-day delivery space. Amazon.com, eBay, and Google either are or are widely believed to be building same-day delivery systems. Startups like TaskRabbit, Zaarly, Exec, Postmates, and Done all connect consumers with de-facto personal assistants, who complete tasks and run errands same-day. UK's Shutl even received backing from UPS recently, hinting that big logistics companies are carefully watching how the same-day race unfolds.
Recent technological breakthroughs in wireless communication, mobile telepresence, and head-mounted computing make such a system feasible, and could provide the means through which a consumer can remotely see what their grabber sees. With barcode-scanning and visual search technology, a grabber's head-mounted camera can also be used to instantaneously provide product information. For example, a barcode scanned at a store with the camera could display nutrition facts and more for the user.
According to Barron, recent startups in the last mile space can only achieve limited success without the power of live mobile telepresence, the core of Consumeron's intellectual property. "Shoppers don't always know exactly what they want, and you can't search a store's shelves online," says Barron. "Consumeron could open up a world of options, and finally bridge the worlds of online shopping and brick-and-mortar retail."
Consumeron, LLC, founded in 2009, is a division of the CapitalCrew Organization. Its Public Transportation Safety International, established in 1993, designed and distributes the S-1 GARD Dangerzone Deflector for transit buses and the MDZ Shield for school buses, both of which are installed on fleets in major cities worldwide. Its real estate venture Regent 1 Properties has holdings in Bel-Air, Beverly Hills and other prominent areas in Southern California. For more information, visit www.consumeron.com or contact Will Riley at email@example.com.
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