The U.S. Postal Service has always been a major creator of large datasets – from mail origin/destination information to quality of service data, and letter mail scans. Recently, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Office of Inspector General has been examining how postal operators and customers could benefit from the big data USPS has access to. In this talk we envision an Internet of Postal Things (IoPT) that embeds sensors and other data collection technologies into physical objects, infrastructures, and the surroundings in which people live and businesses operate. The declining cost of sensors, wireless data connectivity and storage opens up virtually unlimited opportunities to collect and process data from any device, infrastructure, machine and even human beings. The IoPT would transform the postal infrastructure (vehicles, mailboxes, machines, letter carriers etc.) and help the USPS bring data management to the next level. It would create new rich data sources that could help the Postal Service improve operational performance, customer service, create new products and services, and support more efficient decision-making processes. The IoPT could also have a positive effect on non-postal sectors. For example, the use of sensors on postal trucks to collect environmental data could benefit local governments. This talk will describe our exploration of the concept and how it could apply to the Postal Service.
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