Finland’s national postal operator, Posti, has collaborated with Swedish telecoms company Telia to develop a new smart letterbox that leverages Narrowband (NB) IoT technology to report when letters have been deposited and when the letterbox is full.
Sami Reponen (above), chief process officer, Posti, said, “With a billion addressed mail items sent each year, this information conserves the environment and saves costs.
“For instance, if the time needed to process each item sent via Posti would take just a second longer than today, annual expenses would increase by 13m (US$16m). If we are able to save even 30 seconds of working time on unnecessary letterbox visits, the total benefit is significant.
“The goal is that each mail carrier and driver receives the necessary information on a continuous basis and that we are able to centrally monitor the movements of mail in real time.”
Mikael Sundholm, project coordinator at Telia, said, “We installed the first sensor just before Christmas, and the results have been promising. Posti’s test group is also able to continuously monitor the use of the letterboxes with mobile phones.”
NB-IoT is an international network technology that can be used to affordably connect a large number of devices. The smart letterbox provides information in real time on its use and possible vandalism.
During the three-month pilot project, Posti and Telia will boost the intelligence of five letterboxes in Helsinki and Oulu, Finland. If the trial proves successful, the next goal is to turn all 5,000 boxes nationwide into smart letterboxes.
Real-time data is particularly useful to Posti during peak seasons, such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day, during which the smart letterboxes can be emptied when necessary. Going forward, data from the smart letterbox sensors will be connected directly to Posti’s internal reporting system.
January 29, 2018