Taking the Postal Platform to the Digital World – New Ideas from the USPS OIG

The USPS OIG has just released an interesting new paper today on positioning USPS for the digital world. Some of the key findings include the following:

Although the digital option has grown as a channel for Americans to communicate, purchase, and store personal information, there are drawbacks that leave a significant portion of the population underserved. To meet the population’s needs and “bind the nation together” in a digital world, the Postal Service must modernize its role.

The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General Risk Analysis Research Center has completed Part 2 of a series on the Postal Service’s role in the digital age. Building on the first white paper which explored the facts and trends impacting communications, The Postal Service Role in the Digital Age – Part 2: Expanding the Postal Platform, presents a strategic positioning framed by three guiding principles:

• Promoting solutions for the communications problems of the digital age

• Using the core competencies and assets of the Postal Service

• Considering the policy implications of the strategy based on the current legal and regulatory environment

Using an “eMailbox” that links a physical address to an electronic mailbox for every citizen and business, the Postal Service could build a digital platform that supports communications and commerce for postal, governmental, and commercial applications.

The paper provides six additional initial applications for consideration, including:

• An eGovernment application that promotes the expansion of government services throughout the postal platform and uses the eMailbox to send and receive secure and official communication with federal agencies.

• Tools for identity validation, privacy protection, and transaction security that allow users to verify the individuals and businesses they are communicating with, the safety of their personal information, and security of their purchases and financial transactions.
• Hybrid and reverse hybrid mail that allow senders and receivers to convert digital documents to physical and physical documents to digital.

• Enhancing services for the shipping and delivery of secure online purchases through flexible pick-up and delivery options, expanded payment choices, and a cost calculation that includes all charges and fees for purchases (even international) at the time of sale.

• Digital concierge services that use the eMailbox to integrate an individual’s physical and digital communications in a single place. These services act as a type of secure “lock box” and help manage the “information overflow,” providing quick access to important communications and other personal documents (such as medical records and wills).

• Develop a network to buy and redeem cash and digital currency at Post Office™ locations and online.

To learn more about the strategy and specific areas the Postal Service should consider, click here to read the paper.

Do you think the Postal Service has a role in the digital age? Would you use any of these applications?

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James E. Evans, MISM, CSM

I see value in the eMailbox idea. The hybrid and reverse hybrid concept is worth an investigation.