Metra is an European manufacturer and a global pioneer and leader in smart electronic locking systems for lockers, with over 30 years of experience in the electronic smart locker access field. Interview with Gregor Jenčič, Marketing Manager at Metra. Easy Engineering: A brief description of the company and its activities. Gregor Jenčič: In its beginnings, the Metra smart locker and access control systems, renowned for their reliability in harsh environments, were used by well-known waterparks, ski resorts and other leisure facilities worldwide looking for a flexible, maintenance-free, and an easily manageable all-in-one solution for access control, ticketing, cashless vending and smart lockers. The company wanted to offer a unique and frictionless experience to their visitors and guest for their visitors and guests. Gradually, other industries took notice of the importance (benefits) of safe and easily accessible personal storage on the operational costs and business success of the organization. While Metra is still a very sought-after solution of smart access and smart lockers in the leisure industry due to its unique Entry 2 Exit solution, more and more successful, future-oriented and user-centric global and local organizations from other markets, like corporate, healthcare, educational etc. are incorporating Metra smart locking solutions into their workplace lockers to enable hybrid work, improve the visual appeal of the workplace with clean-line locker design, modernize the user experience and improve the overall wellbeing of the employees and else. E.E: What are the main areas of activity of the company? G.J: Metra manufactures all its products at its HQ facility in Europe. The Metra smart locking systems are used for personal, parcel, rental and other locker solutions. They are distributed to over 60 countries worldwide. Successful organizations from corporate, industrial, educational, healthcare, leisure and other industries are using Metra smart systems to ensure their locker provides user-centric, maintenance-free and future-ready locker use and experience to their employees, students, visitors, customers and others. E.E: What’s the news about new products? G.J: The Metra smart electronic locking systems for lockers are continuously improved to provide a more individualized and user-centric experience to locker users and a flexible, sustainable, maintenance-free and easily manageable solution in real-time which optimizes facility management and reduces maintenance costs. E.E: What are the ranges of products? G.J: Metra provides the most versatile range of fully electronic smart locking products for lockers on the market, combined into easily tailored solutions for Workplace, Delivery, Daily and Rental Lockers. Depending on the client’s wishes and requirements, a Metra smart locker can be unlocked with a PIN code, RFID badge or mobile phone on either a central RFID reader, directly on locker doors or entirely remotely. Or combine the options to support different locker users and their individual work dynamics and preferences. Each Metra solution is fully tailored to customers’ wishes and integrated with their access control, security, HR and other systems to enable a more complete facility solution within an enclosed, secure environment and offer a modern and frictionless experience to the new groups of users with higher expectations. E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active? G.J: Smart locking system market is on the rise, which is why many new companies and startups in the last years are trying to impact the market with their smart locker product or solutions. Many focus on the software part or aspect of the smart locker market, as it is much faster and easier to enter than the hardware. E.E: What can you tell us about market trends? G.J: Smart locker trends, especially the ones that address the corporate, healthcare, educational, leisure and commercial segments, started to gain a lot of traction and expanded in the last 5 years. Since the previous year, due to reasons related to Covid situation, people and businesses are re-evaluating the importance of hygiene, health, flexible work in workplace environments, their time management and expectations concerning each of them. More and more manufacturers of business furniture and lockers worldwide are increasingly adding various battery-operated smart locks and electricity-powered smart locking systems to their products to offer “smart lockers” to their customers. Companies and organizations have noticed and are implementing user-oriented and future-ready solutions for various storage needs of their employees or students. The End-of-Trip lockers (for eco-commuters who use bicycles to come to work), delivery and pickup lockers for different usages, etc., are some of the solutions they are including in their newly built or refurbished workplaces, office buildings or other facilities. E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed? G.J: Currently, many modern, market-leading corporate and educational organizations are upgrading their lockers, and also their locker experience, with Metra smart systems, so their users will be able to access and manage their personal smart lockers with their smartphones and smartwatches instead of physical RFIDs cards/fobs and PIN Codes. The innovations go toward a frictionless, user-oriented and fully individualized personal storage experience, no matter when, where and for how long the need for safe and easily accessible personal storage arises. We will release some fascinating smart locker innovations later this year, making smart locker use an even more versatile, frictionless and fun experience, so stay tuned. E.E: What estimations do you have for 2023? G.J: 2023 looks very promising for the smart locker systems market. More and more organizations and companies are learning, some the hard way, that some economical and fast-implemented solutions for personal storage tend to show with time to be much more costly and stressful to use and maintain for the organization. Smart, flexible and maintenance-free solutions for lockers are the right choice for modern, competitive and future-oriented workplaces and facilities that want to attract and retain high-quality work talent or increase the influx and improve the satisfaction of their customers and visitors.