Traditional mail vs. digital communication

It’s certainly not new news that the US postal service is reeling from dramatic financial losses caused by the email and automatic online bill pay. It’s hard not to feel that the US Mail is out of sync with digital communication trends but will it become increasingly irrelevant to future generations?

Because HPG is in the communications business, we were curious about how digital communication may change the way the postal system now operates. This is the first of a series of blogs about the future of “analog” US mail.

Obviously, the present postal business-operating model is not sustainable. There is also a widespread perception that the USPS is rigid and can't change. With that in mind, a group of 150 innovative business thinkers and postal influencers gathered in Arlington, Virginia on June 15th to brainstorm a bold vision for the future of the American postal system.

Federal legislators, postal regulators, and key USPS management were all invited. Unfortunately congressional hearings took precedence, and most legislators were not able to attend. The group gathered nonetheless, and the following ideas and points were considered:

    • “Incubator” joint ventures with private sector vendors with expertise in selective niche applications of digital communications allowing for the integration of digital communication to complement and supplement analog mail services now in existence.
    • The existing array of digital mailbox providers are many including DOXO, Volly (Pitney Bowes), Manilla, Zumbox (oldest in the USA since 2009), ePost (by Canadian Post), NetPost (in Finland with 12% of population signed up), and eBoks.dk (Denmark).
    • Denmark has the strongest digital infrastructure of any national postal service. Many Danish communities have agreed to accept physical mail only once a week because of the increased speed and reliability of their postal digital network and personal digital mailboxes.

What do you think the future holds for the US postal service? Let HPG know your thoughts.