SingPost announced today (14 September) that it would be running its first trial of its smart letterboxes with a neighbourhood in the west.
Current letterbox “nests” may be replaced over time, according to Vincent Phang, SingPost’s CEO and head of postal services.
The smart letterbox system has been in the works since 2019 — a prototype was debuted in September during the Home Delivery Asia retail logistics conference and exhibition.
Unlike the current SingPost system, which only dispenses packages, the smart letterbox dispenses both packages and mail through a centralised machine.
During the prototype demonstration, SingPost packages are deposited and collected in individual lockers after a form of identification is provided, which includes a smartphone app, QR code or facial identification.
Like packages, SingPost mail can be collected after a form of authentication is provided via a vending machine that drops your requested mail into the collection box.
Updates to Singapore’s postal services are necessary to save on time and manpower. Door-to-door deliveries take six minutes, whereas drop-offs take just six seconds for a letterbox delivery.
During last year’s demonstration, a smart stamp was also introduced that would enable all mail and packages to be tracked at every stage.
The smart stamps will be embedded with data matrix codes which contains information on both the sender and receiver.
Users may also be notified of their deliveries on a mobile app once they’ve arrived.
The innovation to Singapore’s postal infrastructure comes in a period where e-commerce is accelerating as more people are choosing to shop online during a global pandemic.
According to Global Data, Singapore’s e-commerce market is expected to reach S$9.5 billion in 2020, and has been growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.4 per cent for the past five years.
With the boom in e-commerce, smarter innovations like this is definitely the right step forward.
Featured Image Credit: CGTN / NUS