Dr. Giuliano Visintini
The deregulation of the postal market in the EU already increases the competitive pressure on logistics companies, and this trend will last for the next few years. Our solution enables a new postal business model allowing new services and more competitive operations. The solution is intended as an online service that can interface with the existing infrastructure of the postal carrier. It is based on two main modules: a tracking platform and a virtual community.
User Tracking Platform: a web based application supporting different types of localisation technology, such as GPS, Galileo, GSM cellular localisation and potentially further near field methods based on WLAN, Bluetooth, Zigbee etc. Additionally, it manages the mobile communication over the supported mobile networks. It can be accessed via a web browser or via different APIs, such as SOAP, HTML, SMS etc. It is connected to the Virtual Community via an internal framework interface.
Virtual Community: a web based application that allows users to register and access the service. It manages the user rights, the level of interconnection between the users, their virtual identities and is capable of requesting their position via the Tracking Platform, as well as the distance to a defined set of other users.
Our solution wants to support a change in the established processes, by following two objectives:
- Actively involve the customer in the delivery process, make him part of the “community” and delegate part of the process to him.
- Allow not just static, permanent addresses, but also virtual, temporary addresses, identified by a “personal ZIP code”, the PZIP. These can be taken from user entries on the web or by mobile positioning technology. The virtual addressing also enables a further range of services because it better preserves the user’s privacy than the current physical address method.
The target markets are postal service companies and parcel and transport companies. We expect the most appropriate focus to be on the parcel and courier market. We estimate there to be around 1.6 million vehicles in Europe and with a conservative assumption of a 5% addressable share of the parcel service customers, i.e. 5% of 50 m users or 2.5 m customers. So the overall potential market in Europe over the next 5 years is around 4 million users. We assume a measurable business advantage of € 2 per user per month. The European market value is expected to reach about € 100 m per year by 2012.
For the customers: The solution allows the customer to keep his personal status updated e.g. for address changes, holiday, travel. Also, community participants can profit from a bonus programme.
For the postal carrier: One objective is the reduction of undelivered returns by re-routing to a temporary address or localising the customer. The delivery cost can be reduced by the community, where members can volunteer to pick-up parcels for their trusted neighbours and 3rd parties can subcontract deliveries.