Imagine just going outside your home or office to get a package dropped into your waiting arms. Well, Vistro, a delivery service out of Orange Walk, is doing just that. The company has gone airborne, using drones to deliver off small items via their "Leave at the Door" service. News Five's Duane Moody reports on the advantages-and challenges-of the drone drop.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Living in an era of innovation and technology, electronic devices and even robotics have become a way of life. One company out of Orange Walk Town is doing just that, evolving the way it provides delivery services to the community. Aziel Ku launched Vistro Air in which drones will be used to deliver items to your doorstep.
Aziel Ku, Owner, Vistro
"Vistro is our idea of what's next for delivery. We believe that we want to keep people safe and we want to also provide a better service. And so we believe that providing delivery through this forum would be a good addition as to what will be the next stage in delivery. It's an automated drone delivery service, meaning our drones will now be able to pick up orders and deliver it to customers through automation. So it will be able to cut down delivery time by fifteen minutes, twenty minutes making it easier and safer for deliveries to happen. For the first few months, we will be launching with pharmacy. It's a phase that we want to do. We are still working on several services and implementing it. We have a lot of customers and we don't want to inconvenience anyone so we want to take small steps in this direction to then rollout once we feel comfortable to all our services."
The delivery business was established back in 2019 and provides an income for students and single parents, who have been able to manage their time to deal with school work and the household. While Vistro Air expands the service, there will still be a need for drivers.
"It is more to help and provide a better service. We cannot replace our drivers. There are a lot of deliveries that still happen that we need that human interaction, but there are little orders like picking up from a pharmacy or just delivering a frappe. And sometimes, as busy as we get, you just need a little extra hand to help get us back on track. So that's our vision for those drones to just provide that extra support to our drivers."
Kevin Bernard, Minister of E-Governance
"Vistro has not only done a lot for itself as an organization, as a business, but it has done a lot for a lot of young people - single mothers, young students who both study and work with them, providing an income, giving them some form of stability."
Ku was the recipient of the Department of Youth Services Innovative Entrepreneur Award in 2020. Since then the business has expanded to other districts. It's the type of innovation and e-services that Minister Kevin Bernard says is needed in the country.
"It shows that in Belize we have the talent, we have the capabilities, we have the people who are innovative thinkers and movers. And so it drives the point that we are trying to do in government, in our own public service - we have to do a lot of shaking up because we need to make sure our public service reaches that level of, that technological mindset so we are able to transform our services digitally. So this is a trendsetter for us."
There are certain challenges, including security issues which are being ironed out.
"There are many challenges about keeping the package safe once it is in the air, releasing the packages and that's something that we are working on. So we don't plan to launch fully automated yet; we still plan to have some level of control. Our packages are protected and then we are able to track - like I said - the drones are very complex and these drones' technology is very advanced. They are able to map, they are able to locate a lot of things, infrared, so we use all of that to our benefit so that we can provide the best service. As we keep on growing and the demand keeps on growing, we want to keep people safe. And sometimes, some locations and late hours at night keep our drivers out there and that's what we are trying to help minimise as well with this service. So the demand is growing to provide faster delivery, still affordable and safe."
Vistro Air will be initially offered in Orange Walk and then rolled out to Belize City, San Ignacio, Belmopan and Corozal as fine-tuning and the use of larger drones to carry bigger packages is being finalized.