To meet new postal market challenges. The postal market is changing: operators want more control over final delivery to customers and customers want more flexibility over the time they collect their mail.
New state-of-the-art electronic lockers are increasingly being seen as the solution that meets both these needs. But they will only gain wide-scale acceptance if they can increase service flexibility, and to do this they need to be smart lockers.
At the forefront of the current locker revolution is ByBox, specialising in the development of electronic locker software and the network management support system that postal companies need to meet their goals and new customer demands.
Recognising that most postal companies have their own unique requirements, ByBox offers customers a complete design, test and production cycle for locker application software, including customisation to incorporate different payment systems including credit card payment, along with embedded barcode readers and label printers. Signature caption and biometric interface options are also available.
All requested features are designed into a software module that operates on an embedded Linux PC platform within the locker control console and is accessed via a 34 cm touch-screen interface. At the same time, standard locker software supplied by ByBox provides remote access for diagnostic work, and remote control along with real-time monitoring and reporting of all locker activity and any alarms.
The software gives operators greater control over a number of essential services. They include:
• Direct deliveries to the customer (via registered code or direct external database call)
• Diverted deliveries, which enhance management of 'failed first time at home address' deliveries
• A facility for customer returns to retailers
• The ability for customers to request deliveries to alternative locker sites – including shipping label printing and customer payment systems
• Enabling customer deliveries to postal addresses – including shipping label printing and customer payment systems
A remaining issue facing many postal operators is who will manage the locker network system – specifically the customer database, customer
communication, operational access and reporting, and maintenance.
There are three management options a ByBox customer can choose according to the level of support required:
ByBox Managed: ByBox will operate the user databases, system interfaces and locker network for the customer.
Shared Management: The customer operates the user database and ByBox operates system interfaces and maintain/manages the locker network on their behalf.
Customer Managed: ByBox maintains the network whilst the customer operates the database, the system interfaces and the locker network.
Whilst this takes care of the basic provision, ByBox recognises that other services will often be required to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of a locker network and its links to other areas of the operator's business and service offering.
According to need, ByBox offers many options that can be quickly integrated into any one of its postal locker networks. Customers can choose:
Customer database management
Customer messaging management (Email, SMS and MMS)
Customer loyalty card design and production
Customer locker network data exchange
Customer billing (using Near Field Communication, COD via credit or cash cards)
Customer direct mailing and messaging
Process design services
Network communication management (Ethernet, WiFi, 3G, GPRS)
Extranet data exchange between lockers and customer controlled databases
Web-based reporting for operations
Web-based reporting for customers
Web services interface
Real-time reservation services
Maintenance services (proactive and reactive)
Overall, this equates to the most complete postal locker system and management service currently available to operators, and the one that
provides their customers with the greatest flexibility for mail/parcel delivery and collection.
ByBox makes this possible because it understands that in the modern world, it is now as important to focus on moving data as on moving the mail itself. And that means focusing on putting the most flexible and comprehensive software at the heart of every postal locker network.