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1849 posts

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#150454 23-Jul-2014 15:56
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Here’s my way to reinvent the postal service. 

QR codes.

A unique QR code is generated for the From: field. It primarily has the unique postal address/business you are wanting to send the goods from. It also has any other details, time, date etc so that it is unique to that package at that time, but is still defined as from a single address. 

The To: field is also a QR code which has the address details and similar unique information embedded into it. 

Each letter then only has two QR codes, no written text, or even stamps on the face. This is because the postal service could provide the back end which generates the QR codes. You pay for one code to an address that isn’t yours and it deducts it from your account. You print/stick it onto your letter and it has all the details on it required. 

As I understand it machines already sort our mail with optical scanners for delivery addresses, and where it’s illegible it gets hand sorted. By removing the manual hand written aspect, there would be no manual processing required. This could even let you track (with limited precision) the progress of your letters. Letters are scanned at the distribution centre and logged as being processed and then again when in the location distribution centre for the delivery area. The post office back end would know who had sent what, and where, and be able to tell you where it had been processed last. 

Because most mail is already optically processed, it could even be integrated into international mail processing facilities without the need for too much extra hardware. 

At some point a written address would need to be added at the processing plant so that it isn’t misplaced when it gets delivered by a human. This could be done instead of printing a postmark over a stamp, though. 

Because the QR codes would be unique, they wouldn’t be able to be used more than once (the backend would retain the history of sent items) but i’m not sure how viable that would be. 

Anywho, that’s all my brain could figure out while lying in bed last night trying to think of sheep and fluffy pillows.

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  #1094302 23-Jul-2014 16:11
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Letter post is a sunset industry, the sending physical dead wood sheets inside physical dead wood envelopes will go the way of the telegram, simply obsolete. There won't be enough demand to sustain the frequency and pricing of the current delivery system and higher prices will hasten the demise.

Effort should really be focused on package delivery, which is an increasing market (due to online shopping), couriers are using QR codes on their stuff these days already but probably not automating to the degree you envision.

They should have been expanding into digital services years ago, eg:

- Providing secure reliable NZ based email services (would be good for a lot of people that rely on ISP provide email).
- Might have been interesting to have some kind of physical address to email address mapping like 99.somestreet.areacode@address.nz, could be used for replacing your physical mailbox but would be a great target for spammers.
- Virtual PO Box (physical to email) like Private Box (http://www.privatebox.co.nz/)
- Cross over into telco services like Fax to email which voip providers are doing etc

They did try with Localist but it wasn't a great idea (yet another online directory), diretories are old school, search needs scale and competing with Google and MS is foolish in the search game. They ended up selling it to management after investing how much in in...?

RealMe is one thing they have done that makes reasonable sense, thought I doubt it makes much money.

Anyway NZ Post already runs at a loss, KiwiBank makes all of the groups profit currently.





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  #1094305 23-Jul-2014 16:14
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So we remove the human readable system and replace it with something that requires machine reading and WAN connectivity at all points?

How does the postie deliver it? With a 3G device that scans EVERY letter? 

Sorry, the human readable aspects far outweigh any benefits at the edge. If they want to use QR codes at the sorting centers for their own bins great.

Also, when assessing if QR codes are the answer:

Step 1: No
Step 2: Go to Step 1





 
 
 
 


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  #1094306 23-Jul-2014 16:14
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How would the postie who actually delivers it know the address if it only has QR codes?




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  #1094307 23-Jul-2014 16:15
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wasabi2k: So we remove the human readable system and replace it with something that requires machine reading and WAN connectivity at all points?

How does the postie deliver it? With a 3G device that scans EVERY letter? 

Sorry, the human readable aspects far outweigh any benefits at the edge. If they want to use QR codes at the sorting centers for their own bins great.

Also, when assessing if QR codes are the answer:

Step 1: No
Step 2: Go to Step 1






Beat me to it.

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  #1094310 23-Jul-2014 16:17
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Disrespective:At some point a written address would need to be added at the processing plant so that it isn’t misplaced when it gets delivered by a human.


Missed that bit on the first read.



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  #1094325 23-Jul-2014 16:32
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*shrug* I never said it was a good idea. 

Parcel delivery is definitely the only foreseeable future for NZPost though. 

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  #1094342 23-Jul-2014 16:37
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Disrespective: *shrug* I never said it was a good idea. 

Parcel delivery is definitely the only foreseeable future for NZPost though. 


Reasonable amount of competition in parcel delivery so can't rely on just that, need to be into other things.

I actually forgot about YouShop, which is another good service they started offering recently.. no idea if it makes money.

 
 
 
 


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  #1094343 23-Jul-2014 16:37
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The thing is something to deliver physical media is always going to be needed. It will just end up being delivered by a courier, and people will have to pay a lot more. If you don't use it, you lose it.
Things such as trademe and google address verification letters are still needed to be sent by the post, and I wonder what they will do if they can't do this cheaply, I suspect it will be user pays. eg $5 per letter via courier bag.

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  #1094399 23-Jul-2014 18:39
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I would love something like nzpost's parcelpod trial to actually work, other courier services won't deliver to them sadly so it's stops it dead in it's tracks.

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  #1094423 23-Jul-2014 19:09
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The major factor here is cost to implement. The payback period would likely be far outside the foreseeable life of the postal service as a whole. It's a priority system, and the supplier charges like a wounded bull to change anything.

Well that and getting buy in from the larger senders.

There's actually nothing really wrong with reading the address as it is. The machines read around 99.9% of machine printed addresses, and 60-80% of hand written addresses (for machinable items).
Of the unreadable machine printed addresses, a reasonable proportion aren't even valid addresses.

Even addresses that are poor can have significant machine involvement. If a machine can read a major locality, it will send it there to be hand sorted.







Location: Dunedin

 


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