23 March 2014

Smart Postal Services

Postal services are becoming quite antiquated in their approach. It is also for many a struggling business not to mention the extra level of care they have to maintain these days for mail security. There has to be better and more effective ways for postal services. In a matter of speaking the role of a postal service has to evolve drastically to meet the pressures and demands of a digital age both for individuals as well as businesses. Digital mail is seen as an alternative to standard postal mail. However, how much can one digitize in form of mail is another story of data protection. Postal splits into two streams of courier and general postal services. For mail sorting, they could use more robotics into specific functions and gradually phase them in the process. For postal deliveries, they can apply the travelling salesman problem as a form of effective route planning which goes further than just a simple shortest path problem. They could also enable bar codes and GPS tracking on standard mail for a more effective means of streamlining sorting and delivery. Another, alternative is to use RFID tags. Even semantic web and linked data approaches could be applied here to harness the web using geonames. There is also a need to reduce the time required for deliveries as well as an increase in reliability. Postal services also need to incorporate themselves towards the option of emails for standard letter parcels in a digitized form. There also needs to be an automated way of allowing users to scan and register their own postage as well as more flexible ways of mailing services. Amazon is using an interesting option of providing in-store delivery boxes for customers, which is quite a good idea. Something similar could be applied to the general postal services as well. In process, ecommerce companies, like Amazon would not need to create their own services. Perhaps, this is an indication that postal services are not effective enough for ecommerce. It also seems that drones should be applied for local postal systems based on their specific districts enabling them to geotrack senders and recipients. Even personalized services for pickup should be made available. Postal services could also incorporate advertising into their system of delivery. This on its own could add a significant portion of revenues. Most postal service sites also lack responsiveness in their interfaces. They also provide very limited mobile alternatives. Analytics is another options that could add further optimizations. In general, postal services need to incorporate the digital age in their business objectives and harness the web towards diversification of services. There is much that can be improved in the postal services and not just for delivery but also for all their standard mail functions.