Itella's mail delivery trial to test alternative future mail delivery methods will start on Thursday, April 15, in the Anttila Village of Porvoo. The trial will not be immediately launched on a full scale; instead, it will be gradually expanded as the participants get the necessary training and start using NetPosti. The objective is for the trial to be in full swing within two weeks. The trial will end at the close of 2010.
More than 140 households and companies are voluntarily participating in the trial. They will receive their daily mail in a completely new manner that combines traditional mail delivery and electronic services. The plan is to study which methods the participants find functional and which they do not in order to provide alternative services that are as functional as possible for the customers and which would replace traditional mail deliveries in the future.
- We are prepared for surprising technical or practical problems during the kick-off stage. We may encounter problems we have not anticipated, but we will resolve them. The most important is that we implement the trial as promised to the customers so that we can continue the cooperation, which has started well, says Tommi Tikka, Itella Development Director.
- The people of the village of Anttila have proven themselves to be brave and admirably favorable towards development. They want to develop the services of the Finnish information society and the services provided in sparsely populated areas in a whole new manner.
- Finns need not worry that Itella will force everyone to use this method of mail delivery. It is purely a trial to test which approaches could be functional. The best way of surveying the needs of our customers is testing the available alternatives together with them, says Tikka.
The unique trial has attracted interest not only in Finland but also globally. Plenty of discussion about the trial has also been going on in various social media channels. The public discussion has also included incorrect or defective information about the trial.
Here are some of the actual facts:
- The trial will end at the close of 2010. All the participants have volunteered to participate in the trial. There are some villagers who are not included in the trial, and they will receive their mail in the traditional manner.
- In the trial, mail will be delivered twice a week to the mailbox as usual. Moreover, all mail recipient households and companies have a P.O. box at their local postal outlet, where mail is delivered on other days, and from where the customer may pick up the mail whenever at any time. New mail in the box will be notified by a text message, so that the customers will not have to visit their box unnecessarily.
- In addition to physical mail delivery, the customer's first-class and second-class letters will be scanned as electronic letters which the customer may view on NetPosti using his or her personal codes. The recipients will receive a notification of incoming mail in NetPosti by e-mail or SMS, and the letters are available in an electronic format earlier than those delivered through regular mail, at nine in the morning.
- When the letters have been scanned, they will be placed in envelopes and delivered to the customer's P.O. box or mailbox. This means that the recipients will also receive their actual physical letters. The letters will be scanned separately from other mail handling activities in a unit specializing in scanning by trained personnel. The unit is located in Helsinki. For some years now the Itella Group has scanned physical letters into electronic format for companies and public corporations, such as insurance companies, accounting firms, and the State Treasury. Hundreds of thousands letters are scanned each day. Reliability of the service is of the utmost importance.
- A new pick-up method will also be tested for parcel deliveries. At the local postal outlet, there will be a parcel machine from where customers may pick up parcels themselves. The customer will receive a text message when there is a shipment to pick up. However, large shipments and shipments requiring a signature will be picked up from the local postal outlet as usual.
- When preparing for the trial, Itella has discussed the issue both with the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority that supervises postal activities and the Data Protection Ombudsman. Neither of these authorities were opposed to the trial.
- Each participant in the trial has signed an agreement stating that they have agreed to their mail being opened and scanned. Mail recipients are entitled to allow a third party to open their mail.
- The trial will not compromise the confidentiality of letters. The letters will be scanned in a facility which outsiders cannot access, and the employees have signed strict confidentiality agreements.
The media will have an opportunity to see the trial in action on May. A separate invitation to the event will be sent to representatives of the media.
More information for the media:
Tommi Tikka, Development Director, tel. +358 50 462 7645, email@example.com
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