Digital mailboxes won't take off anytime soon: HP

Digital mailboxes won't take off anytime soon: HP

Summary: People are going to stick with paper billing for some time, which means digital mailboxes are unlikely to experience widespread adoption in the near future, according to Avi Greenfield, HP Exstream portfolio innovation manager.

TOPICS: Australia

Digital mailboxes won't take off anytime soon, because people are still holding onto paper billing, according to HP Exstream portfolio innovation manager Avi Greenfield.

HP Exstream is a software platform that is used by some of Australia's biggest direct mailing companies, including Salmat, to manage and print paper bills. Exstream is also used for electronic billing services.

Greenfield noted that Australia has been proactive in bringing out digital mailbox technology to encourage people to adopt electronic bills. But he has doubts that digital mailboxes, like the one Australia Post has introduced, will experience a mass take-up.

"If you look at Canada, it has had a digital mailbox service, sponsored by Canada Post, for almost 10 years now, and the adoption rate is still at around 15 percent," Greenfield said at the HP World Tour event in Beijing, China. "I was an analyst 10 years ago, and electronic bill presentment and payments was one of the areas I covered. If you had told me back then that we would still be around 15 percent adoption rate today, I would have thought you were crazy; it should be much higher."

Electronic bill adoption is still fairly low in many countries around the world, including Australia, according to Greenfield, despite a number of initiatives to wean people off paper. Companies have tried preaching the environmental benefits of e-bills, and have started charging a premium for printed bills, but to no avail, he said.

"Ultimately, you need a better experience online before you get people to really move away from paper bills," Greenfield said. "Paper is like a security blanket for people; there are a lot of people that still use it as a reminder to pay their bills and have a record of what they are doing.

"Smartphones, and even tablets, are pretty poor PDF readers. Until that online experience is more than just reading a PDF version of a printed page, we won't see electronic bills take off."

That means it will be a while before digital mailbox replaces physical mailboxes, he said.

Spandas Lui attended HP World Tour as a guest of HP.

Topic: Australia

Spandas Lui

About Spandas Lui

Spandas forayed into tech journalism in 2009 as a fresh university graduate spurring her passion for all things tech. Based in Australia, Spandas covers enterprise and business IT.

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  • Uhhh........ 10 years late, methinks????????

    "Digital mailboxes won't take off anytime soon, because people are still holding onto paper billing, according to HP Exstream portfolio innovation manager Avi Greenfield."


    Here in the USA, that's considered to be 10 years out of date news. I do *ALL* of my bills online, no exceptions. If you want a paper check, it'll come from the bill pay feature of my bank, not from my own hands. I don't need to be writing checks manually in my barely legible writing anymore.

    And it's not called a "digital mailbox," it's called email. Everybody in every first world country has it. It doesn't have to come from "Australia Post" - just get a Gmail account!

    Can't they just do online bill pay like they do in the USA? Is that so hard?

    Crazy backwards country.
  • Oi HP!

    One headline is from Whitman saying HP is here to stay, then you read something like this. HP needs some new management that can actually change with times and not trying to convince customers to stay on their antiquated solutions!
  • Are you really in innovation?

    The reality is that many businesses in Australia are actively moving away from the old technology of printing bills and now providing them in other forms such as pdf via email. That is a big change from 10 years ago. The next innovation is a digital mailbox where you can pay your bills automatically from your credit card, bank account or stored value when you choose, and store copies of the bills for as long as you like. Paper bills are on the way out, there is no question. Who knows what type of job Canada Post is doing and what their user experience is like, but the world has moved on. If you are in innovation, and you believe that paper bills are still the only way, then I'd be concerned to be an employee or investor in HP.
  • Unknown with the products core functionallity?

    Exstream and many other composition or multichannel customer communication management solutions core functionallity is to create documents from raw data into multichannel formats. So I would expect a visonal story to be ready for the future as it is unknown which channel is preferred by the individual customer in the next 5 - 10 years. To be ready means separate data in business systems and the end user oriented format and be flexible in the output channel as modifying a business system is extreme expensive, and modifying multiple systems even more. also ERP, HRM, etc are very weak in output functionallity.

    The more channels the better for streamserve, plannet press, gmc inspire and even exstream.

    The next 5 years 50% of the transactional paper volume will move to e-mail delivery, company and branch myportals, digital postal mail.which new company do you know who is sending paper invoices?

    Avi join the conersation...