When I first heard about Zumbox
, the world's first paperless postal service I was both excited and skeptical
. Skeptical not because of the technological achievements requires to pull off such a feat -- essentially a free, secure mailbox for every residential address in the U.S. that somehow emulates the easy and convenience of paper mail.
That was a daunting task which (based on my experience opening my first piece of paperless mail) I believe Zumbox has pulled off brilliantly. Really, my main concern was how they would get people to transition to paperless mail when the habit of postal mail is so deeply ingrained in the American psyche.
9 months later their strategy to transition people to zumboxes is clear. They went for the jugular -- municipal mail.
Municipal mail accounts for a staggering amount of postal transactions. In New York City alone, 15 million pieces of mail from the City are sent out on a typical day. So Zumbox targeted the mayors of some of the biggest cities in the U.S. -- San Francisco, New York and Newark -- and invited them to become the premiere partners of the paperless service.
Now all 3 cities have signed on and are sending correspondence to city residents via Zumbox. Hopefully the strategy will pay off as people realize how easy the software is to use and how much fuel and trees can be saved in the process.
NYC Mayor Bloomberg explains his rationale for joining:
Every day, new technological innovations help make information flow faster, systems work better and our lives a little easier, But often, when it comes to adopting new technology, governments lag behind the private sector and even the casual consumer because they are unwilling or unable to try something new and change the way things have always been done. That’s small-minded thinking. In serving the public, government should constantly be looking for new and better ways to provide information and services. The City’s pilot program with Zumbox will give us yet another means to get information to New Yorkers.
Kudos to Zumbox for moving so quickly into the public sector. While their work in transitioning people onto paperless mail is only just beginning, this is a major step in the creation of what could be the USPS of the 21st century.