What does the future of postage hold?

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Image via Flickr creative commons from hahatango

Predicting the future is a task which is almost certainly doomed to failure. While many people make big, bold, sweeping predictions of what the future has in store for anyone, or any individual sector of society or business, the actual predictions they make are likely to be either too far-fetched, or at the other extreme, far too conservative.

In the field of communications, for example, how many people would have predicted that the written letter – such an integral part of life for many centuries, and the foundation on which civilisations have been built, and destroyed – would have ever been an endangered species?

But as we sit in front of our computer screens today, with all the ability which these devices give us for instant communication – or at least a means far more prompt than is possible by letter – how many of us think just how far-fetched such concepts would have seemed, even just a few decades ago?

Even given all the advances which the computerised world has brought us, it can be argued that the most fundamental of all is the ability to send a message which we have composed in an instant. The actual composition of the message can be as time-consuming as it has ever been – yet the actual process of sending it is something which we can now do in time which can be equated to the blinking of an eye, or the drawing of a breath.

This massive change has, in a matter of a few years, had a ground-breaking effect on the ways in which we communicate. From being something which we had to take time out to do, and to consider how we did it, communication has become something which is all around us.

This massive technological leap has left those involved in operating services which are losing their importance in the digital era with some fundamental issues to address. Prime among them, if they are primarily letter-carriers, is how they can guarantee to still be able to provide such a service when it is needed – and there are circumstances in which this will remain the case – given that their revenue from doing so is likely to shrink, while the cost of providing the service can only head upwards.

This can’t be considered an isolated problem. Even given that technology in some countries is much less sophisticated and wide-spread than in others, the imperative of retaining a service for written mail to be delivered anywhere within a certain amount of time is one which every civilised nation has to face up to.

One development which is being seen in the field of written mail is the ability of senders to put their essential messages into a email format, and then for these to be printed out at a location close to where they are destined, and then placed in an envelope for delivery over the final few miles. For important legal documents and the like, this could be a way forward.

Meanwhile, for the rest of the postal sector, the key to a prosperous future is likely to lie in the delivery of larger items which can’t fit into a mailbox. After all, sending physical goods is one task which any computer can’t actually do. But its ability to help streamline the process of doing so cannot be in doubt, and is why such cutting-edge services as same day delivery by Parcel2Go are so popular.

Meanwhile, for the future of large consignments, there will always be a need for trustworthy couriers, so FedEx couriers from Parcel2Go are sure to continue to find a ready market – even though that market might become ever-more competitive.

SOURCES:

https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/ensuring-the-future-of-the-universal-postal-service-and-post-office-network-services

http://prospect.org/article/postal-service-faces-future

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