The speed and immediacy offered by electronic communication has been recognised since the very first email was sent by computer engineer Ray Tomlinson in 1971.
In that particular case it was simply a test message sent to himself, from one computer to another sitting right beside it and it was transmitted via ARPANET, an early version of the Internet.
Tomlinson also introduced the “@” sign as the locator in an email address, something that remains in daily use for the many millions of emails sent each hour.
It is debatable as to whether or not Tomlinson could have foreseen the massive impact his actions would have some forty years later when email communications make up such a large part of business and personal life as a method of choice for communications of all kinds.
When business began to adopt emails as the way of contacting customers and communicating internally, many thought that the days of the physical postal services would be numbered. In fact there have been some interesting and unexpected developments.
The way in which many people now shop online for items large and small has caused something of a revolution in postal delivery services. The UK is one of the most avid adopters of ‘internet shopping’ and actually is responsible for 15% of the global market of online purchases.
This has led to delivery vans for larger items being a familiar sight on most residential streets during the day and also led the Post Office to introduce small hand carts for many of their postmen and woman’s ‘walk’ routes.
In the UK the royal Mail has also just announced record profits, some of it based on the fact that almost 50% of the mail delivered on a daily basis is now marketing material from commercial companies and businesses.
So it is undeniable that using physical post systems still plays a large part in the day to day operations of many different kinds of business. Modern electronic postal scales are not only extremely accurate, meaning that postal costs can be ascertained to the penny, but are also time efficient.
The ability for many models to link with franking machines directly means that errors in postage charges can be eliminated, which can bring significant savings.
Far from being a system that is being consigned to history, the merits of physical mail are lending themselves to a developing marketplace and continuing to give a range of options for all kinds of business operations.