U.S. retail giant Walmart’s latest blockchain-related patent application describes a “secure” delivery management system, according to a filing published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) July 5.
The newly published application, entitled "Delivery Reservation Apparatus and Method," outlines a blockchain-based management system for delivery lockers that can keep delivered items safe until their purchasers are able to sign for and collect them.
A “blockchain reservation” system is proposed for “some embodiments” of a system to track which lockers are free, and which are occupied:
"Each space on the docking station has a corresponding capacity unit for each location on the docking station. The transactions for the capacity units are tracked in a ledger, with available capacity units indicating an open location on the docking station or contracted out capacity units indicating that either the location has a locker secured thereto or that the location is reserved for a future delivery."
According to the patent, “each docking station can be a node within a blockchain network,” further making frequent references to a “public ledger” which would act as an open record of available and reserved units within the system.
Earlier this spring, Cointelegraph reported on a patent application from Walmart for a “smart package” blockchain-powered tool that would track a range of data –– including package contents, environmental conditions, location, and other details.
The retail giant has been proactively developing a gamut of blockchain solutions for its business, recently partnering with IBM to create a blockchain system for tracking food globally through its supply chain.
In April, Walmart announced that it was ready to use blockchain for its live food business, and the company has further filed blockchain patents for medical records –– awarded this June –– a blockchain-based customer resale marketplace, and a crypto-powered energy consumptionmanagement system.