Print 15 comment(s) - last by Tony_R.. on Jan 3 at 1:15 PM

It's meant to make transactions in USPS lobbies quicker

The United States Postal Service (USPS) isn't exactly the face of "tech savvy," as it is still largely thought of as a physical mail-only type of service. But it's making small tech strides, with the most recent being a mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) system. 

According to Postal News, USPS started testing the mPOS system during the holiday season at 50 facilities in the U.S. Over that time period, it processed 102,000 transactions. 

The USPS' new tech consists of a modified iPod device, a receipt printer and a postage printer. The idea is to get customers in USPS lobbies taken care of and out the door faster. Employees simply greet the customers with the handheld device, process their transaction and send them on their way. 

With the new equipment, USPS employees can scan package pickups as delivered, scan and accept prepaid packages and sell Priority Mail flat-rate postage as well as stamps, ReadyPost and other retail products. 

[SOURCE: Postal News]

Customers can pay right on the mPOS system as well, swiping credit cards and non-PIN debit cards right on the iPod device. From there, customers can choose to accept a physical receipt from the mobile printer, or punch in their email address for a digital copy. 

Around this time last year, USPS said it wanted to be more digital-friendly, but noted that this is easier said than done. Paul Vogel, president of digital solutions at USPS, said he had limited resources to work with, including an office like "a San Jose startup," only 15 Android/Apple developers, consultants coming and going, one computer and his BlackBerry smartphone.

Another major obstacle is legislation needed to get permission for new digital products. Also, USPS has a huge instruction manual for just handful of current products. Adding digital products and security certifications would turn that 1,500 page book into something unimaginable. Furthermore, USPS had losses that amounted to $16 billion in 2012, and there are legislative proposals to keep making cuts. It even tried to axe Saturday mail deliveries last year in an attempt to save money, but Congress later killed that idea off

Despite USPS' difficult journey of getting with the digital times, it's at least making efforts with the mPOS system. No one likes a long line at the post office. 

Source: Postal News

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OK its a start
By Dr of crap on 1/2/2014 12:52:43 PM , Rating: 1
When I do go to the post office and there's a line there, it's funny. Usually its the older ones in line.

I go straight the self serve device, and either mail my package and/or get stamps from that thing and am off quicker than the line.
The ones in line don't/cant use that machine.

Canada made HUGH changes to their postal service, yet our stupid govt wont allow stoppage of Saturday delivery. JUST stupid. Kind of like letting the people decide NOT to stop minting the penny.

Make the tough decisions that SAVE everyone money, and STOP worrying about your damn votes!!! Stupid US govt!

RE: OK its a start
By Flunk on 1/2/2014 1:30:03 PM , Rating: 3
The Canadian postal service never delivered on Saturdays and is likely digging their own grave by killing door to door delivery.

RE: OK its a start
By Motoman on 1/2/2014 1:49:07 PM , Rating: 2

I have friends and family in Canada...who have lived in communities with the large, single-drop mailboxes at the ends of the street for many years.

None of them care that they don't get mail on weekends. None of them care that their mailbox is at the end of the street, and not at the end of their driveway. Every other day or so they just stop at the mail unit and pick up their mail as they're driving by...and none of them thinks anything negative about it at all.

RE: OK its a start
By amanojaku on 1/2/2014 2:39:27 PM , Rating: 2
The post office in its current form is dying. We just don't send mail like we used to, so there's no need for the kind of service we used to have. Back in the 80's, you couldn't open your mailbox without it practically exploding from everything inside. These days, you barely even get junk mail, and it's usually from companies you're already doing business with.

Five years ago, I would have recoiled at the idea of eliminating Saturday delivery and reducing the number of postal locations and boxes. Today, thanks to automatic deposit, online banking and bill pay, scanning of checks, electronic forms, etc... paper is finally becoming obsolete. If we don't eliminate weekend delivery and reduce the physical footprint, we will continue to pay a ridiculous amount on postal rates. In fact, postal service may need to go private.
(search for the words "decline", "reduce", and "electronic" to skip to the good stuff).

RE: OK its a start
By CColtManM on 1/3/2014 3:19:00 AM , Rating: 2
You are kidding right? The rate of deliveries is higher than ever because of Amazon, eBay, etc. The problem is, companies are partnering with FedEx, UPS, etc. So, USPS needs to fit in there somewhere.

But eBay saved the Post Office for the past 15 years.

RE: OK its a start
By Flunk on 1/2/2014 2:46:42 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, I didn't realize that you were an expert on Canada. I thought I was the one who lived there and had first-hand knowledge of what annoys me.

But more seriously, if I have to walk over to the post office or a local collection point to pick up my mail I'm just going to switch everything over to email and collect mail once a month. Canada Post's loss.

Up until now only people in far-flung rural areas didn't get door-to-door delivery. 80% of Canada's population did.

Also, you missed my second point. Mail on weekends is totally pointless. They'd be better off reducing delivery to every second weekday that what they are doing.

RE: OK its a start
By Motoman on 1/2/2014 1:50:18 PM , Rating: 2
I'll just point out that at lots of post offices, there are no automated machines.

RE: OK its a start
By Mint on 1/2/2014 10:22:08 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not convinced why people think stoppage of Saturday deliver will cut costs.

Those deliveries will just move to weekdays, increasing the number of machines, mail trucks, time in traffic, tellers, etc needed to handle the higher weekday load. I don't see total man-hours getting reduced.

RE: OK its a start
By p05esto on 1/2/2014 10:36:18 PM , Rating: 2
I would rather wait in line for 10 minutes than use an automated machine. I like human interaction. I like someone waiting on me when i spend money. Like stores with self-checkout... I feel cheated. Someone should bag my groceries and talk nicely to me whne I spend money. Just me, but maybe the old people feel the same way?

RE: OK its a start
By marvdmartian on 1/3/2014 7:38:40 AM , Rating: 1
Nice, if you have the self-service devices available.

For whatever reason, my city's post offices took all the self-serve kiosks out a couple years ago, along with all the vending machines that sold stamps, etc.

I thought it was a bit stupid, as it was nice having the capability to go in after hours, and send a package (albeit, limited to a certain size that would fit in the chute, and nothing going overseas, that would require a customs form).

I always figured it had something to do with the postal workers union, demanding fewer machines, so the humans actually had a reason to be there!

RE: OK its a start
By jeepga on 1/3/2014 10:19:27 AM , Rating: 2
I suspect you're right. My local post office had one for automated postage for envelopes and packages. It was so nice to get it all done and it worked great. Then it was gone.

I mentioned it the next time I went in and had to wait in a long line. The demeanor of the worker changed. It was obvious she felt threatened by the machine. She said it didn't work right and they canceled the program. Funny, it worked for me every time I used it, and I never saw it out of order.

RE: OK its a start
By Tony_R on 1/3/2014 1:15:13 PM , Rating: 2
If the U.S. government went back to a Constitutionally-mandated money, instead of inflating the cr*p out of the Federal Reserve funny money, the penny would still be worth one cent, instead of half a mill. As a member of "The People", that's what I'd rather see, instead of not minting pennies any more. That's the tough decision that would get everyone SAVING money again and put the nation back on the road to prosperity and growth.

The USPS already has digital products
By docinct on 1/2/2014 3:04:05 PM , Rating: 2
Guess the author of the article is unfamiliar with which is a web portal into a wide variety of services. Besides printing paid postage labels for Priority Mail, Express Mail and First Class International Mail, you can track pages (and get e-mail notices), arrange for holds, forwarding etc. on personal mail, buy stamps, etc. Anyone with a credit card or PayPal can create an account for printing postage.

By The Von Matrices on 1/2/2014 3:49:52 PM , Rating: 2
I sell many items on eBay, and I frequently use USPS's online services. However, to my frustration, its online services have actually been reduced recently. USPS has now restricted creating postage for international packages (First Class and Priority) to only a select few countries whereas there were no restrictions before. Now I have to go to the post office counters to ship most of my international items. Plus, with their new focus on Priority Mail, they have eliminated the ability to create cheap first class postage online (useful for packages that are under 13oz.).

I still stick with USPS for its free carrier pickup, which is useful when you have 50lb of packages ready to ship, but they are slowly forcing me toward considering alternatives.

By drycrust3 on 1/2/2014 2:48:44 PM , Rating: 2
It even tried to axe Saturday mail deliveries last year in an attempt to save money, but Congress later killed that idea off.

Not being an American, I guess if the owner of your postal service wants to pay employees to work on Saturday, then that is their choice. The problem you have in America is the same one we have in New Zealand (where I live), which is that the cost of electronic communication isn't just dropping, it is also broadening. Now we have email, texting, cheap long distance phone calls, and internet based social media that have almost dried up what was once a river of paper based communications.
Last year I heard a media report that our government is considering changing the law to enable cutting out Saturday postal delivery and reducing residential deliveries to just a few days per week in an effort to keep the business profitable.
Just like there is something wrong with adding up sums of money and getting a total that doesn't have ".00" on the end, so it just doesn't feel right to pay a bill without having a piece of paper to look at.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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