Digital Post Australia is planning to introduce a “free online postal service which allows you to receive all your essential postal mail, in one central and secure online location”. I’ve already got one of those; it’s called email.
When I first saw the announcement of the service (which is due to launch later this year), I briefly thought it might be a variant on the notion of 24-hour lockers for delivery, which are a cool concept. But it isn’t. Nor is it a service that scans all your physical mail (there was a failed attempt at that in the form of AllMyBills in the early 2000s). Instead, it will offer the following:
The digital postal mail platform is a closed system, restricted to verified mailers and individually verified consumers linked to a physical mailing address. This means that companies using the service can be confident in the secure delivery of their communications to the right person and users can be assured that only they can access content contained in their digital postbox.
Consumers don’t pay, but vendors will presumably cough up to use the service. That might be cheaper than physical mail, but the reality is that most service providers already offer the option of getting an email bill. Indeed, many charge a fee if you insist on a postal bill. And if you want to consolidate your bills, some banks offer that as part of their online banking platform.
Between email and various social networking services and my mobile phone number, I already have quite enough inboxes. Having to set up a separate one just for my bills isn’t going to help. What do you think?