Australia Post's mail business may be in decline, but the company is looking to offset the reduction in traditional mail by allowing posties to deliver small parcels for the first time thanks to new parcel scanners to be provided by Telstra and Motorola Solutions.
The move to digitise Australia Post through its "Future Ready" program is critical for the organisation. The government-owned entity is still required to maintain the traditional mail service, its over 4,400 stores, and a 94 percent rate of delivering letters on time or early, despite a 4 percent decline in mail volume in the 2012 financial year, which resulted in the mail business losing AU$148 million.
But while the mail business might be on the decline, the company's parcel and retail business is continuing to boom, reporting AU$546 million in operating profit, with a total profit after tax of AU$281 million. This was a 16 percent jump on the results for the previous financial year.
Providing the posties with some capability to work as part of the parcel business could go a long way to offset the loss from the mail division. The AU$71 million deal announced by Telstra today will see the company provide 26,000 handheld scanners, car chargers, and network connectivity for the service that will be rolled out across the Australia Post fleet, plus the managed IP network and unified communications for the business.
The scanners will let customers know exactly where their parcel is in the Australia Post network from the time it is first registered through its 2D or QR code barcode up until it reaches a customer's premises.
If a customer isn't home, the technology allows a courier to take a photo to show that the parcel has been delivered to the home.
Telstra's group managing director of enterprise and government Paul Geason said that the M2M technology will offer a more reliable service to online shoppers.
"With the huge surge in online retailers and ecommerce-based industries, it's never been more important to have a service of this kind in place. Australia Post is now able to provide an enhanced tracking ability for customers with a more reliable, efficient parcels service," he said in a statement.
"We have worked very closely with Australia Post and their digital team to leverage our NextIP, NextG networks, and M2M technology to deliver superior tracking and monitoring."