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Title:
METHOD FOR MANAGING A SAFE UNIT AND SAFE UNIT MANAGED BY SAID METHOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/203443
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a method for managing the temporary assignment of a safe by a safe unit to a user by means of a management system. Hereby, the method means an effective way of managing such safe unit, in which the staff costs are reduced and queueing is avoided. In a second aspect, the invention relates to a safe unit, provided with means for carrying out above-said method.

Inventors:
MORTELMANS, Koen (Liersebaan 74, 2240 Zandhoven, 2240, BE)
VAN HYFTE, Jef (Pauwelslei 113, 2930 Brasschaat, 2930, BE)
Application Number:
IB2017/053058
Publication Date:
November 30, 2017
Filing Date:
May 24, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MOBILE LOCKER NV (Liersebaan 74, 2240 Zandhoven, 2240, BE)
International Classes:
G07C9/00; G07F17/12
Domestic Patent References:
WO2014022795A12014-02-06
Foreign References:
US20150356801A12015-12-10
US20160133075A12016-05-12
US20140114875A12014-04-24
DE102011009898A12012-08-02
EP2880584A12015-06-10
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRANTSANDPATENTS BVBA (Pauline Van Pottelsberghelaan 24, 9051 Ghent, 9051, BE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Method for managing the temporary assignment of a safe to a user, in which the safe is part of a safe unit comprising several safes, in which the safe unit is provided with a unit management system that is coupled to a data system comprising user information, in which the user information comprises information about the degree of occupation and/or the use of the safes in the related safe unit, and in which each safe of the system is accessible via a door that is provided with an electronic door lock that prevents access to the internal room of the safe in closed condition, in which the method comprises the following steps:

receiving a request to use a safe by a user for an indicated period, in which the request by the user is communicated to the unit management system of the safe unit;

- carrying out a transaction or payment linked to the request to use the safe;

- generating a personal token;

identifying and selecting an available safe in the safe unit and linking the token to the electronic door lock of the selected safe, in which the location and/or identification data of the safe are communicated to the user;

- automatically opening the door lock after presenting the token by the user and validating the token by the management system;

locking the safe by the user after taking the safe into use,

in which the data system with the user information relating to the safes is updated both when paying the transaction 9, presenting and validating 14 the token and requesting the period for using 6 the safe, and characterized in that the unit management system is comprised in a central management system.

2. Method of previous claim 1, characterized in that said user information is synchronized several times between that unit management system and that central management system.

3. Method of the previous claim 2, characterized in that the unit management system manages the temporary assignment of a safe to a user, independent of the central management system, between each two successive synchronisations.

4. Method of any one of the previous claim 1 to 3, characterized in that the central management system comprises one or several unit management systems, in which each unit management system corresponds to a safe unit comprising one or several safes.

5. Method of any one of the previous claims, characterized in that the method also comprises a step for re-opening the safe by the user, in which the personal token is validated and the user can choose whether to continue renting the safe or to stop renting it.

6. Method of any one of the previous claims, characterized in that the request to use the safe comprises restrictions related to a type of safe of the safe unit. 7. Method of any one of the previous claims, characterized in that the request is received via an electronic network.

8. Method of any one of the previous claims, characterised in that the safe unit comprises a mobile or fixed safe unit.

9. Method of any of the preceding claims characterized in that the payment or transaction is made via cash or a cashless payment system.

10. Method of any of the preceding claims characterized in that the payment or transaction must be successful before the safe is assigned.

11. Method of any one of the previous claims, characterized in that an error message is shown if the token is not found in the unit management system. 12. Method of any one of the previous claims, characterized in that the token comprises an RFID-based system, a NFC-based system, a QR code and/or a whether or not portable code.

13. Method of any one of the previous claims, characterized in that the renting of the safe is linked to a renting contract, comprising a financial engagement for make the payment.

14. Method of any one of the previous claims, characterized in that the token provides single or multiple access to the safe.

15. Method of any one of the previous claims, characterized in that the door is automatically opened after validating the token.

16. Method of any one of the previous claims, characterised in that the central management system determines a position of a safe unit.

17. Method of any one of the previous claims, characterized in that the central management system comprises means for monitoring and checking peripherals.

18. Method of any one of the previous claims, characterised in that the safe unit is provided with means for providing a battery pack.

19. Method of any one of the previous claims, characterized in that the user can request a status of a safe at any time at any position via the central management system.

20. Safe unit, comprising one or more safes, in which

- said safe comprises a housing defining an internal room that is accessible via an access opening, in which the safe comprises a door that can be configured between a closed and an open position, in which the door prevents access to the internal room in the closed position and provides access in the open position, in which the safe further comprises a door lock, in which each door lock can be configured to lock said door in closed condition and comprises an electronic door lock;

the safe unit is linked to a unit management system that comprises a payment system;

the unit management system is linked to a data system;

- the unit management system is comprised in a central management system,

characterized in that the unit management system and the central management system are provided with means for carrying out the method of claim 1 to 19.

21. Safe unit of the previous claim 20, characterized in that the safe unit is provided with means for functioning independently of the electricity grid.

22. Safe unit of any one of the previous claims 20 and 21, characterised in that the safe unit is provided with means for providing a wireless network.

23. Safe unit of any one of the previous claims 20 to 22, characterized in that the means of the unit management unit comprise a multilingual user interface.

24. Safe unit of any one of the previous claims 20 and 23, characterised in that the safe unit comprises a dispenser provided with means for generating and delivering tokens.

25. Safe unit of the previous claim 24, characterized in that the safe unit is provided with a scan system for scanning the tokens.

26. Safe unit of any one of the previous claims 20 to 25, characterized in that the means of the unit management unit and the central management system are provided with one or more firewalls.

Description:
METHOD FOR MANAGING A SAFE UNIT AND SAFE UNIT MANAGED BY SAID

METHOD

TECHNICAL DOMAIN

The invention relates to a method for managing the temporary assignment of a safe to a user by means of a management system. The invention also relates to a safe unit provided with means for carrying out said method. STATE OF THE ART

Temporary installed safe systems are used at a variety of places (on the beach, in skiing areas, in the city, on festivals, in railway stations or airports, in amusement parks, on fairs, in concert halls, etc.). Hereby, the safes offer the possibility to safely store personal possessions, so that users can enjoy their activities in a carefree way. Although in these various places, it is not always possible to provide access to the electricity grid, common electronic mobile safe systems often depend on the electricity grid, which is a clear disadvantage. When renting safes, staff is permanently deployed for putting away and taking out the possessions and for paying the rent of the safe, entailing an extra operational cost. As a result, safes often are not cost-effective on smaller events, which is a further problem for the current safe units. For reducing the cost, often, a minimum of staff is deployed, resulting in practice into often long queues (both for handing in and for picking up possessions), discouraging the use of a safe. Moreover, it is often difficult to estimate how much or what kind of safes users will wish, resulting in an ineffective use.

EP 2 880 584 describes a method for obtaining access to a safe via a mobile device, such as a smart phone. The method comprises receiving a password to obtain access to a safe, sending the password to a computer linked to the safe, in which the safe is opened and sending confirmation messages that the safe has been opened. This document does however not describe the management of safe systems. Such management of such safes is however necessary for meeting the requirements of the end users.

The present invention aims to find a solution for at least some of the above-mentioned problems. There is a need for an improved management system for mobile safe units, in which the offered safe units are better adjusted to the requirements of the end users and in which long queues are avoided.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a method for managing the temporary assignment of a safe by a safe unit to a user by means of a management system according to claim 1.

Hereby, the method means an effective way of managing such safe unit, in which the staff costs are reduced and queueing is avoided.

In a second aspect, the invention relates to a safe unit according to claim 18, provided with means for carrying out above-said method.

DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES Figure 1 shows a flow-chart of an embodiment of the method according to the present invention, in which process steps for requesting and renting a safe are illustrated.

In Figure 2, an overview is shown of the interactions between the user and the different management systems when re-opening a safe.

Figure 3 shows an overview of an embodiment of different process steps that are followed when returning a safe.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The invention relates to a method for managing the temporary assignment of a safe to a user by means of a management system. The invention also relates to a safe unit provided with means for carrying out said method.

Unless otherwise specified, all terms used in the description of the invention, including technical and scientific terms, shall have the meaning as they are generally understood by the worker in the technical field of the invention. For a better understanding of the description of the invention, the following terms are explained specifically.

The term "mobile safe" refers to mobile safes that are easy to install and replace on various locations. These mobile safes can be provided with a coupled transport vehicle, but they can also be replaced through an external means of transport, such as a (light) truck. Such mobile safes can be of various forms and assemblies, comprising non- limiting examples such as wall- or cube-like formations. The term "off-grid safe unit" refers to a safe unit that functions autonomously and does not have to be coupled to an electricity grid in operational condition. In particular cases, the safe unit can be coupled to the electricity grid, but this is thus not necessary.

The term "(end) user" refers to an individual wanting to reserve or rent a safe unit.

The term "partner" refers to a possible potential client. Such partner can consult the turnover of mobile safe units in a clear report in order to estimate which safe unit provided with particular types of safes best meets the needs/requirements. The term "client" refers to an individual that is responsible for the daily management of a safe unit.

The term "administrator" relates to an individual coordinating the management system linked to an (optionally mobile) safe unit. Such administrator can e.g. be a company that has bought/rents a mobile safe unit and further rents this safe unit at various events.

The term "super-administrator" relates to an individual managing the complete management system. Hereby, the super-administrator remotely controls the whole operation of each of the mobile safe units comprised in the management system.

The term "algorithm" refers to a finite series of instructions leading to intended goal from a particular starting condition. Algorithms can be unrelated to computer programs, although computers are often used for carrying out algorithms.

The term "firewall" refers to a system that can protect the means of a network or computer against external abuse. The protected network is often an intranet or an internal network and this is^ protected against the internet. The undesired traffic comprises attacks from hackers and computer crackers, break-ins and/or breakouts of computer viruses, spyware, spam and so-called attacks of "denial of service" (attempts to make a computer, computer network or service no longer available for a particular user).

The term "token" relates to a means of access that a user can use to obtain access to a safe comprised in a safe unit.

In a first aspect, the invention relates to a method for managing the temporary assignment of a safe to a user. The safe is part of a safe unit comprising several safes, in which the safe unit is provided with a unit management system linked to a data system comprising user information. This user information comprises information about the degree of occupation and/or the use of the safes in the related safe unit. Each safe of the system is accessible via a door, provided with an electric door lock that, in closed condition, prevents the access to an internal room of the safe. The method comprises the following steps:

receiving a request to use a safe by a user for an indicated period, in which the request by the user is communicated to the unit management system of the safe unit;

- carrying out a transaction or payment linked to the request to use the safe; generating a personal token;

identifying and selecting an available safe in the safe unit and linking the token to the electronic door lock of the selected safe, in which the location and/or identification data of the safe are communicated to the user;

- automatically opening the door lock after presenting the token by the user and validating the token by the management system, in which access is granted to the safe to a user;

locking the safe by the user after taking the safe into use,

characterized in that the data system with the user information relating to the safes is updated both when paying the transaction, presenting and validating the token and requesting the period for using the safe. Hereby, as a result of the smart management of the safe unit, the renting is optimized and queueing is avoided. Furthermore, the number of actions that must be carried out by the user to rent a safe, are reduced to a minimum. This unit management system comprises real-time data of the safe unit. These data comprise a status of safes that are free or in use, a remaining time of the rent of a safe, etc. Said period comprises a time for starting the rent and a period. Said time can be in the present (the user wants to rent a safe at the moment of payment), the close (the user wants to rent a safe within a few hours, days or weeks) or far future (the user wants to rent the safe within a couple of months or years).

The unit management system ensures the control and management of the different safes in a safe unit. Preferably, the unit management system indicates whether or not a safe is still open, or has been closed without effective use.

According to an embodiment, the unit management system is comprised in a central management system. Such central management system can comprise several unit management systems, in which a super-administrator of several safe units can get an overview of each unit by means of the central management system (possibly also a graphical representation of the positioning of the different units, preferably by means of a positioning by means of a GPS system). Reservations of safes are also registered in the central management system. Preferably, the central management system registers changes (such as changes of a status of a safe) in the unit management system. Such central management system is (via a personalized log-in for a super- administrator of safe units) also useful for the on-line and in real-time follow-up of the degree of occupation of different safe units, possibly provided at another position of one and the same event. In this way, one can intervene in time when particular safe units are almost fully-reserved, while other safe units still have a high availability. The central management system ensures the remote management of the safe units, e.g. by means of a cloud-based system. Such central system can be useful for solving problems (possibly via a VPN connection), for the maintenance of the safe units, for data collection (big data), for following-up payments and reservations, etc. Moreover, also software updates for the unit management system can be installed remotely and the central management system can preferably also make an automatic set-up of the type of and the number of safes in a unit. Preferably, the number of safes that is managed by a management system is not limited. In another embodiment, the central management system manages between 2 and 1000 safes, divided over different safe units.

According to another or alternative embodiment of the method, the central management system manages one or several aspects of the operation of one or several safe units, which safe units are preferably installed at various locations. More preferably, the central management system can be consulted centrally, and/or the central management system can be operated centrally. Preferably, each safe unit can be configured remotely, and each of its safes can be opened remotely, by means of the central management system. Each unit management system is preferably comprised in the central management system, because it communicates with the central management system, and interacts with it. However preferably, each of the safe units is provided with its own unit management system, and each unit management system manages exactly one safe unit.

Thanks to the data collection, the choice of the types of safes comprised in the safe unit can be adapted to previous reservations of end users. In this way, the type, the number, etc. of safes comprised in the safe unit can be adjusted to the (expected) request of the end users. In this way, it can be avoided that all safes are reserved and possible end users must take care of their possessions by themselves. Furthermore, the collected data can be used for statistical analyses (related to the rent of safes, the profile of the users, etc.).

According a further or alternative embodiment of the method, said user information is synchronised several times between that unit management system and that central management system. Preferably, said synchronisation takes place via a fixed or mobile data communication network. Preferably, that data communication network relates to a mobile internet network. However, each other appropriate data communication network, as known from the state of the art, can be used.

According to a further or alternative embodiment of the method, the unit management system manages the temporary assignment of a safe to a user, independent of the central management system, between each two successive synchronisations. Preferably, the unit management system is thus comprised in the central management system, but the unit management system can still manage the corresponding safe unit independently, between each two successive synchronisations. This is particularly advantageous at moments at which above-said data communication network fails, which is for example often the case for mobile internet networks during peak moments in festival environments. It is then crucial that the festival visitors still have access to the entrance of their safe. At a later moment, when the data communication network has been restored, the following synchronisation is carried out. The central management system has then access to the updated statuses of the safes. These last data are taken into account for the management of reservations.

According to a further or alternative embodiment, the central management system regularly sends a signal to the unit management system, and/or contrary, a so-called heartbeat signal. The various parts of the management system can then verify if they are still in contact with each other, via that data communication network.

According to a further or alternative embodiment of the method, the central management system comprises one or several unit management systems, in which each unit management system corresponds to a safe unit comprising one or several safes. It is then possible for a central administrator of several safe units at several, various locations, to manage these safe units centrally, and to call up information centrally from these safe units. According to an embodiment, the method also comprises a step for re-opening the selected safe by the user, in which the personal token is validated and the user can choose whether to continue renting the safe or to stop renting it. If the user indicates that the renting should be continued, he/she can continue his/her activities with easy mind after opening, using and closing the safe. Preferably, the period can be extended if necessary, subject to a financial transaction. If the user indicates that the renting of the safe will be ended, the unit management system can preferably take this into account for the future occupation of the safe unit. Hereby, the unit management system can thus assign safes to other users based on a future degree of occupation. This ensures an effective management of the tasks, which results in less concentrations of users at the safes. Nowadays, potential users are often put off by the long queues. Because this disadvantage of the safes of the state of the art is solved by means of the method of the present invention, more of these potential users will effectively rent a safe, resulting in a larger profits for the super-administrators of a safe unit.

The registration of the degree of occupation (both in the unit management system and in the coupled central management system) can also be useful for future similar events. Hereby, one can check which types of safes are more frequently reserved and the safe unit can be adapted to the needs of the users.

According to a preferred embodiment, the request to use the safe comprises restrictions related to a type of safe of the safe unit.

According to another embodiment, the request is received by means of an electronic network, such as the internet. The electronic network offers the user via the central management system a simplified way to reserve safes in the future. The central management system therefore comprises a user platform with a user-friendly user interface, that is accessible via the electronic network and that can be used for example on a computer or a mobile device such as a smart phone. The user platform of the central management system also provides for means for carrying out the transaction or payment via the internet.

According to a preferred embodiment, the safe unit comprises a mobile or fixed safe unit. The choice of the type of mobile safe unit (i.e. type of safes provided in the safe unit) can preferably be adapted to the reservations of users prior to the installation of the safe unit on an event. In this way, the safe unit better meets the specific request of a user.

According to a preferred embodiment, the payment or transaction is carried out by means of cash or a cashless payment system. Such cashless payment systems comprise systems based on bank cards (credit, debit, etc.), systems via electronic networks (in which the transactions comprise transfers, carried out via the internet by means of a computer or a mobile device such as a mobile phone). Preferably, also vouchers (possibly as part of a confidentiality program) can be used for the transaction, in which the vouchers can comprise reductions in the rent price. Preferably, also coins can be used for the transaction, in which such coin can be distributed e.g. hotels or organisers of events. More preferably, transport season tickets, such as a Mobib card, can also be used for the transaction or the use of safes can at regular intervals (e.g. Monthly) be invoiced based on a loyalty card.

In a further or alternative embodiment, the transaction can also indicate the transfer of one or more data, by which it can be indicated that the subject has reserved a safe in advance. Such data can comprise a graphical or numeric code, whether or not in electronic form, and/or a user name and password.

In a preferred embodiment, the transaction must be carried out successfully before the safe is assigned. In this case, non-payment is avoided and a super-administrator can guarantee the corresponding revenues. In an alternative embodiment, the (cash or cashless) payment or transaction can be carried out when ending the use of the safe, in which preferably one must pay before the possessions can be collected.

In a preferred embodiment, an error message is shown if the token is not found in the unit management system. In a preferred embodiment, the token comprises an RFID-based system (Radio Frequency Identification), an NFC-based system (Near-Field Communication), a QR code (or any other code, readable from portable electronic devices such as smart phones, sent by the central management system), a print-out of an on-line reservation and/or a whether or not portable code. Thanks to this diversity of options, the user can choose a token, which improves the user-friendliness of the safe unit. In another embodiment, a user can be identified by means of finger prints, iris scans and/or other biometric characteristics. In another embodiment, the token comprises a client or loyalty card. According to a further or alternative embodiment, the safe unit comprises an RFID reader with an integrated display. Preferably, it communicates directly with a system for opening and/or locking the safes. In particular, no confirmation is hereby required by the payment terminal. Advantageously, the safe can then be opened directly by means of the RFID key. More preferably, and for any type of key, said system can independently open and/or lock the safes. In case of failure of the remaining part of the unit management system, it is then still possible for the users to open their safe by means of their key. Preferably, this system, the so-called central locker controller, is thereto provided with its own battery and its own memory.

In a preferred embodiment, the renting of the safe is linked to a renting contract, comprising a financial engagement for making the payment. In this way, a user can rent a safe for a longer period without having to go through all the steps of the method each time. Moreover, the location of the safe is known, which ensures a more efficient use of time and a more user-friendly safe unit.

In a preferred embodiment, the token provides single or multiple access to the safe. The cost for renting a safe can be set depending on the number of accesses. In another embodiment, the door is opened automatically after validating the token. The safe is hereby in an open, loadable condition. Thanks to this "push-to-open" system, the user must only look at the open safes when looking for the selected safe based on the obtained identification data (such as a safe number). As a result, the user can find the selected safe faster, ensuring an additional user comfort.

In a preferred embodiment, the central management system determines a position of a safe unit, preferably by means of GPS tracking. Mobile safe units can be easily replaced and can consequently also be stolen. Because the position of the safe unit is managed centrally, an administrator knows at any time the positions of the different safe units that are managed by the central management system. This is a further advantage of the present invention. In a further preferred embodiment, the safe unit can send an alert to the central management system when the location of the safe unit has changed. This replacement can be verified in the central management system, in which it can be checked if it is an irregular replacement (i.e. theft).

In a preferred embodiment, the central management system comprises means for monitoring and controlling peripherals of the safe unit. Preferably, these peripherals comprise a dispenser for generating and delivering tokens, a scan system for the tokens, a point-of-payment terminal, a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) and/or solar panels. Furthermore, the management system also checks a status of the energy supply, such as the loading condition of a battery system. In a preferred embodiment, the safe unit is provided with means for offering a battery pack. Said battery pack is an assembly of several reloadable batteries. Users at events often must reload their electronic devices such as smart phones. Such battery packs can be offered via a vendor and/or returning system by means of a safe unit. Preferably, different types of battery packs are offered with different built-in outputs/gates, to ensure maximum compatibility with a range of electronic devices.

In a preferred embodiment, the user can ask a status of a safe (of a particular kind) at a particular time at a particular position via the central management system. In this way, the user can know which safes are still available at an event and the user can estimate the degree of occupation of the safes at the event.

In another embodiment, a user can also ask the period (and the corresponding renting cost) of a rented safe. In this way, a user can at any time know what is the renting cost and what will be the amount of the invoice when ending the renting of the safe. In a preferred embodiment, the user can receive warnings (e.g. in a mobile device, such as a mobile phone, via the central management system) after a particular predetermined time to warm him/her that the safe is still active. In this way, it is avoided that a client forgets that he/she is still renting the safe. In a second aspect, the invention relates to a safe unit comprising one o,r more safes, in which said safe comprises a casing defining an internal room that is accessible via an access opening. The safe comprises a door that can be configured between a closed and an open position. Said door prevents access to the internal room in the closed position and provides access in the open position. The safe further comprises a door lock, in which each door lock can be configured for keeping said door in closed condition. The door lock also comprises an electronic door lock. The safe unit is linked to a unit management system that comprises a payment system. The unit management system is furthermore linked to a data system and is comprised in a central management system, characterized in that the unit management system and the central management system are provided with means for carrying out the above-described method.

According to a preferred embodiment, the safe unit is provided with means for the independent operation of an electricity grid, as a result of which the safe unit is extremely autonomous. Preferably, the safe unit is provided with one or more battery systems and/or sources for renewable energy, such as solar or wind energy. More preferably, the safe unit can also be connected to the electricity grid, although this is not necessary for the operation.

5

In another embodiment, the safe unit is also provided with means for providing a wireless network such as a WIFI network. In this way, the safe unit also functions as a hotspot. Preferably, the user of a safe can also make use of the wireless network during the renting of the safe. Preferably, the wireless network can also be offered to other

10 users not renting a safe, subject to payment. Preferably, such wireless network can be operated at distance by means of the central management system. More preferably, different time implementations can be applied for the WIFI use. For users of a safe going out to the beach of going skiing for one day, a day stops at 24h, and thus the WIFI access stops at midnight. If a safe has been reserved for one day and has been used at

15 14h, the WIFI access to the safe stops at midnight, not at 14h the next day. However, at a festival, the WIFI access can be granted for the effective renting period of the safe. The unit management system disposes of means for automatically generating WIFI codes.

20 In a preferred embodiment, the unit management system comprises a multilingual user interface. For events such as festivals with an international public, it is important that the user interface, that amongst other things can be used for requesting, extending and paying a safe, is accessible in different languages, preferably comprising Dutch, French, English, German and/or any language that is frequently spoken locally.

25

In a preferred embodiment, the safe unit comprises a dispenser provided with means for generating and delivering tokens. Therefore, no staff is needed, which consequently limits personnel costs for running the safe unit.

30 In a further preferred embodiment, the safe unit is provided with a scan system for scanning the tokens.

In a preferred embodiment, the unit management system and the central management system are provided with one or more firewalls, for protecting against attacks at the 35 system from outside. Hereby, the degree of protection and the type of firewall must be set separately for the local unit management system and the central management system. The latter management system clearly needs a more extensive protection. Preferably, a first firewall is provided for the user platform for end users (B2C, i.e. "Business-to-consumer" services) and a second firewall is provided for more critical parts of the software (such as the central management system of the units). More preferably, the WIFI internet connection is divided into a connection for critical basic operation of the units (i.e. the connection between the unit management systems and the central management system) and a connection for the B2C services.

In a preferred embodiment, the management systems are built as modular operational systems (OS) and adapted Data Link Layers (DLLs) are provided for all components of the management systems. The DLLs of the electronic components are adapted to allow for a maximum autonomy of each part of the system and to enable new applications.

In an embodiment, the central management system comprises various parts, comprising :

User management: management of access rights and authorization of the different users (administration, clients (buying/renting a unit), end users

(renting a safe)

Remote management per Unit Operations, comprising (automatic or manual) set-up, (dynamic) price-setting, alerts and assistance, invoicing, opening of safes (e.g. if the possession has not be collected), "killswitch": in case of non-payment : by the client of too many invoices, a safe unit can be made off-line/unusable (although the GPS still remains active).

- Reports to the administration and clients (degree of occupation per region/time frame/unit/..., revenues/turnover/earnings, error messages) The access to the various parts of the central management system depends on the type of user. Below, you will find an overview of the functionalities that are accessible for each type of user in an embodiment of the invention :

An (end) user/renter can rent and reserve a safe in a safe unit.

A partner can consult the turnover of the sale and the use of the safes per unit. A partner can also consult the turnover of the rent via the internet and can look at the turnover of the sale/rent of battery packs (battery systems). A partner can also make graphically attractive reports per hour/day/month/...

A client can make use of the above-said functionalities and can furthermore open and close the safes, individually or together. Via the management system, a client can also print the revenues, including the used discount coupons (or e.g. reductions for regular end users). A client can also read log files (relating to the use and error messages), he/she can restart/close the system and can switch on or off the status of the safes. A client can furthermore switch on or off the option of renting, can consult the general status of the system and can make an overview of the data use/users WIFI. A client can also switch on or off the wireless network (WIFI) and can opt for to offer the renting of WIFI. A client can also read a token, such as a QR coin, of a user and thus consult the safe number, the method of payment (and card number), the period of time. A client also has access to images of a web cam provided at the payment system (the payment terminal). A client can also opt for energy efficiency (e.g. during the night), by e.g. limiting the period that the interface of the safe unit is active and/or by switching on or off the WIFI hotspot. A client can also reset the revenues (e.g. daily).

An administrator can use the above-said functionalities and has also access to the following additional possibilities. An administrator can e.g. adjust the prices and interfaces (user screens) (adding logos, changing methods of payment, adding extra languages, etc.) and can switch on or off particular hardware (e.g. switching off payments by card). A user can also adjust the settings of the wireless network (band width per user, which band, adjusting the name of the network, ...) and making specific user logs of WIFI (data collection relating to which device, operational systems of clients, IP addresses, ...). An administrator can also adjust the status of the locks in non-rented state and determine if push-to-open (automatically opening the door after scanning a token) is active. An administrator can also request an overview of all safe units, comprising a visual display of the status and of on-line and/or critical errors, (such as a payment terminal that is off-line, tokens (QR coins and/or RFID cards/chips) that are exhausted, WIFI off-line, the battery of the safe unit that is only charged for less than 40%, power failure (and thus failure of the operation on the UPS), etc. Furthermore, the administrator can add and/or print voucher codes (with discounts) to the system (possibly based on QR codes) and export these to external partners (hotels, rent jet skis, ...). Furthermore, an administrator can adjust mail addresses in log files and consult GPS location of the safe units.

According to a further or alternative embodiment, each of the above-said vouchers is provided with a means of identification, for example a unique code. This means of identification is communicated after use of the voucher at a safe unit, at the central management system at the next synchronization. The means of identification is subsequently added to a list at the central management system, and/or is transferred to one or more of the other safe units, where it is added to a list. In this way, it can be checked, when scanning each voucher, if this voucher has been used earlier. Said code is preferably encrypted. Preferably, for each safe unit, it is set if such vouchers are accepted or not.

A super-administrator ("ML super admin") of the central management system can make use of above-said functionalities and have further access to the "Kill switch", that can put units out of use (e.g. if a client/administrator failed to pay several invoices). The super-administrator can also request an overview of all units (both those on their own account and these that have been sold, with short visual indication of the status (online/critical errors)). The super-administrator can also consult the percentage of safes of each unit that have been put out of use.

In the following, the invention will be described by means of non-limiting examples illustrating the invention, and not meant to be interpreted as limiting the scope of the invention.

FIGURES

In Fig. 1, an overview is shown of the different process steps in the renting process of a safe, in which the focus is on the interactions between the user 1, the safe unit 2, the unit management system (3 (registering the payment, opening and closing the safes, ...), and the central management system (4 (in the cloud).

In a first step 5, the user 1 requests a safe of a particular type for a particular period. In a subsequent step, the availability of use 6 is checked in the unit management system 3. If affirmative, the user can choose a payment option (cash or cashless) and the user can carry out the payment 8 at a payment system provided for in the safe unit 2. This payment is stored 8 in the unit management system, in which this information is also registered/synchronized 10 with the central management system 4. After payment, the user receives a token 11, that the user can scan 12 with a scan system provided for at the safe unit. Hereby, a safe is assigned 13, which is further approved 14 by the unit management system. After approval, the status of the assigned safe changes, in which that change of status is also registered in the central management system 4. After approval 14, the assigned safe is automatically opened, in which the user can be provided with access 17 to the assigned safe.

In Fig. 2, an overview is shown of the interactions between the user 1, the safe unit 2 and the different management systems 3, 4 when re-opening a safe. At arrival at a safe unit, a user must choose between staying or checking-out 18. In case a user wishes to stay, the safe is opened 19 after validating the token. In an embodiment, the period a safe remains open, can be limited by the unit management system. The central management system registers that the user has opened the safe. Preferably, the central management system also registers the time the user needs for storing the possessions. This collected information can later for example be used for optimizing the renting process. After storing the possessions 20 of the user, the safe is again locked 22 and the user must again take his/her token 23.

In Fig. 3, an overview of an embodiment of different process steps is shown that are followed when returning a safe. In this case, the user thus chooses to check out 24, in which the token is validated 25, 26 by the unit management system 3. Hereby, e.g . it is checked if the term for rental of the safe has not been exceeded. The central management system 4 is also informed 27 of the upcoming departure of the user. After the token has been validated 26 successfully, the user can open 28 the safe, which is registered by the unit management system. The user can now take his stored possessions 30, after which the safe is again locked 32. The elapsed time and other data are registered in the unit management system and synchronized 31 by the central management system. After closure, the user must hand in 34 the token in the safe unit 2.

It will be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above and that some adjustments or changes can be added to the described examples without changing the scope of the enclosed claims.