Digital transformation of Postal Services
Postal services are more digital than we thought. But it’s not true that means the end of the good old vacation postcard. This is what we learned at Deutsche Telekom’s Transformation of Postal Services - Trends Driven Workshop, held with hub:raum in Krakow, Poland from 22–23 May 2018.
Our guests from postal services in Switzerland, Poland, Slovakia, Croatia and Romania highlighted the huge creativity going into bridging the digital and physical postal worlds. For example, the Polish Post has an app that would allow me to send a digital photo to my Grandmother, who has no mobile phone or Internet. How? My digital photo would be converted into a printed photo and delivered to my Gran the way she likes it: by snail mail.
There is a lot of exciting disruption in postal services right now, and many postal companies have started the digitalization journey. Swiss Post, for example, is a leader in pioneering new digital technologies. Through its innovation arm, led by Claudia Pletscher, it develops and tests ideas with customers. One of them is its delivery robot, specially designed for that “last mile” – short distances within local neighbourhoods. Looking rather like a sweet robot dog on a walk, it is especially useful for goods that need to be delivered quickly, flexibly and inexpensively – for example a pizza or bunch of flowers. But Swiss Post does much more: autonomous shuttles, drone parcel delivery, digital ID, e-voting, e-health, and the smart letter box are other examples of innovation tested and implemented by Swiss Post.
But the journey of transformation has only just begun. Ralf Nejedl, SVP B2B Deutsche Telekom Europe, stressed that for a successful digital transformation, postal service leaders must have a digital mindset – because they are the ones driving digital transformation. Mitja Jermol Head of the Center for Knowledge Transfer at the Josef Stefan Institute in Slovenia spoke about the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which opens up completely new opportunities for postal services.
At the event, eight startups presented their solutions: Assay, Eurosender, Lovespace, PaketChef, Pakketmail, ProGlove, Pzartech, Unmanned Life. Let me introduce some of them:
ProGlove: hands-free scanning of goods – enables logistics staff to work faster, safer and eaiser.
Unmanned Life: autonomous sorting for the postal sector using autonomous ground robots, drones and autonomous outdoor drone delivery.
Lovespace: a full–service storage company. They move and store things for consumers and for businesses: convenient, flexible, valuable. They move and store things from boxes to beds.
Paketchef: provide a software solution for automatic and fully dynamic route dispatching and optimization, driver navigation as well as customer communication in real time.
Innovation through collaboration
We experienced the full power of collaboration when CEE national postal services, start-ups and Deutsche Telekom representatives worked together in our trend-driven workshop. The “Design Thinking” workshop provided a cool opportunity to rethink current postal strategies and come up with new ideas to improve postal services.
The workshop highlighted our conviction that innovation comes through collaboration. To be innovative, national companies need to work with startups. Startups need big companies to implement their innovative solutions. And Deutsche Telekom, as a telco provider, is a bridge between both worlds, connecting them with our technology, connectivity services and telco infrastructure.
Igor Vukelic, Head of Corporate Projects from Croatian Post summed up the success of the collaboration this way: “Very inspiring! Fantastic opportunity to meet people with similar challenges, and even better solutions on how to digitalize postal services!”
Now, we look forward to seeing some of the new solutions coming to life in Central and Eastern Europe.
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