Coming Soon to a Digital Mailbox Near You?

The concept of a digital mailbox or digital mail delivery is certainly not new. In the enterprise, vendors like Esker, Océ, and Pitney Bowes offer digital mail delivery solutions whereby each piece of mail that comes into the company is scanned and delivered electronically to employee recipients.

Doc has been following the movement by a number of companies to transform the concept of mail delivery. So I was glad to see an update from Bryan Yeager on the concept of digital mail delivery.

The concept of a digital mailbox or digital mail delivery is certainly not new. In the enterprise, vendors like Esker, Océ, and Pitney Bowes offer digital mail delivery solutions whereby each piece of mail that comes into the company is scanned and delivered electronically to employee recipients. EarthClassMail is an early service for smaller businesses and consumers that also scans and manages mail. With a mix of new entrants and existing players, there is aggressive development of digital mailbox services for consumers, designed to reach every household in the United States, just like the USPS. There are a number of key players to watch in this space:

  • Accenture, the worldwide consulting and outsourcing firm, is taking the approach of partnering directly with national postal services to help them develop digital mailbox services. It has clearly stated it is aiming to help global posts design their own services to compete directly against some of the independent digital mailbox services listed below.

  • doxo is a technology start-up that takes a broad approach to the digital mailbox, enabling users to not only import electronic bills and statements, but also many other types of documents that can either be uploaded or scanned in via its mobile phone application.

  • Manilla, started by Hearst Corporation, provides access to over 1,000 companies to enable users to consolidate and manage bills and loyalty programs, including major wireless carriers, cable & satellite TV providers, utilities, financial companies, airlines, and more. Certified Manilla partners can also present targeted advertisements to Manilla users alongside the sender's content, which offers an intriguing TransPromo play.

  • Pitney Bowes announced its Volly digital mailbox offering at the beginning of 2011, although the offering is still in beta. According to my colleague Matt Swain's blog post on the service after its announcement, "Think of Volly as an extension of a conventional consumer bill consolidation model, incorporating other types of mail into the same platform." There is no doubt that PB will be highlighting Volly at Graph Expo this year.

  • Zumbox, another technology start-up, has made waves recently with its million-dollar giveaway contest to get people signed up for its service. The company has a unique twist on its service in that it uses your physical mail address as your digital mailbox address, as well. Like others, its concept is to digitally centralize the management of all mail being sent to a household.

Bryan goes on to discuss a new study on the topic being undertaken by InfoTrends and adds additional information and links. It may be that these companies eventually give the United States Postal Service a run for its money (which, sadly, is in short supply these days).