I always used to go to the US to get a glimpse of the future, but these days China serves this purpose just as well – particularly when it comes to the development of automated O2O (online to offline/offline to online) systems and services.
Take these two smart locker systems near to the VIA office in Beijing as an example. The luscious lime Hive Box serves as a secure drop-off and pick-up point for package deliveries that can be operated with a swipe of your smart phone. Instead of having to wait around for the delivery of your order, you can simply go and pick it up at your convenience.
The ostentatious orange LZ517 system takes the concept a step further by allowing you to order and microwave a meal whenever hunger strikes you. Why bother walking five minutes down the block to 7-11 when you can choose from a much wider selection of culinary delights and have your lunch or dinner served to you in seconds?
With its dense urban population and high smart phone adoption rate, China already leads the way in the development and implementation of mobile services and applications such as payments. By connecting all those smart phones to smart systems like the Hive Box and LZ517, it is poised to achieve the same feat in the creation and deployment of highly-sophisticated 020 solutions and business models that will ultimately proliferate throughout the world.