As far as we know, Posti is the first mail service in the world to use the iBeacon indoor positioning system for postal services. This technology will enable customers to pick up their items quicker. Speed is based on the fact that the customer's smartphone will recognize the Posti application when the customer arrives at the Posti outlet. Items waiting for pickup will be retrieved for pickup, enabling the customers to get them immediately.
Customers will be able to take advantage of the new quick pickup service at five Posti outlets in Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere, and Turku. In the first stage, quick pickup will work on smartphones running Android.
"Positioning technology will activate the customer's Posti application, bringing a new twist to customers' contact with Posti. We want to improve the customers' experience when they are picking up items at Posti outlets, as this is the most frequent reason for people visiting Posti outlets. The Posti application makes people's daily lives easier by enabling them to predict the item arrival time," comments Anna Lehtonen, Director, Retail Network at Posti.
Increasingly diversified means of picking up online shopping items
Posti supports online shopping by developing increasingly easier means of picking up items. Experiences of the positioning technology will be gathered at Posti outlets for six months.
iBeacon is a technology that Apple published in 2013. Posti's partner in the pilot project is CGI, a company developing ICT solutions.
"This in one of the first implementations of iBeacon in Finland that enable consumers to use this technology." I believe that in a few years' time, we will use these applications so routinely that we will not even remember the name of the underlying technology," says Petri Anttila, senior consultant in retailing at CGI, by way of predicting future developments.
By offering additional digital services, Posti will make it easier for people to use Posti's services in a manner that is independent of place and time; for example, it is already possible today to pay for the postage for parcels using the online services. With regard to picking up parcels at Parcel Points, Posti has gained a superior customer experience, and this service receives praise for its ease of use, speed, and accessibility. Renewal of Posti's service point network will bring several Posti outlets to stores and kiosks, enabling the extension of opening hours both on weekday evenings and at weekends.
This is how quick pickup service works:
After customers activate the quick pickup feature of their Posti application, information about their arrival at a Posti outlet will be forwarded to the cashier. The customer's Posti application will request whether he or she has arrived to pick up an item and, if so, the item will be fetched and placed on the quick pickup counter. The customer can then pick up the item without a signature, as they have been identified already at the time they began to use the Posti application.
Positioning technology comprises base stations, installed indoors, and a protocol with which the system communicates with mobile devices, identifies them, and uses it for indoor navigation. For establishing a wireless connection, iBeacon uses Bluetooth technology, thereby making it readily available to smartphones.