Postal Service Explores Sensors, Data Collection Via 'Vehicles, Mailboxes, Machines, Letter Carriers'
7:01 AM, Jun 18, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The U.S. Postal Service is seeking a company to help develop a program called the Internet of Postal Things. The Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC), part of the Postal Service's Office of the Inspector General (OIG), is looking for a supplier "who possesses expertise and critical knowledge of the Internet of Things, data strategy and analytics, and the Postal Service’s operations, infrastructure, products and services." The OIG is exploring ways for the Postal Service to benefit from the technology that provides "virtually unlimited opportunities to collect and process data from any device, infrastructure, machine and even human beings."
The idea was first raised at a January 28, 2014 meeting sponsored by the OIG and the Universal Postal Union. The "Internet of Things" concept is defined in the documents accompanying the OIG's solicitation as:
The OIG acknowledges the issue of privacy and asks that respondents have "appropriate knowledge to assess the impact of privacy and transparency policies on the design of data strategies is also requested."
The documents note that the collection of data is nothing new for the Postal Service, and that the new technology will supplement and enhance the information already collected in various ways:
The contract for the research and reporting for the Internet of Postal Things project is expected to be less than $100,000. The timeline calls for the work to be completed with various presentations and possibly a white paper on the subject before the end of 2014.
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