Whenever I speak with someone about mail, the post office (in France or around the world), or delivery in general, I like to point out that the Stamp, the main revenue source for most national Post Offices (USPS, La Poste, Deutsche Post, etc.) was invented in the 19th century, and that it likely won’t exist by the end of this century. While the United States Post Office struggles – some predict that they will be acquired by Amazon this year – La Poste has been working to constantly reinvent itself, leveraging its relationship with households. They are a bank (think: loan for your home), a mobile provider (think: family plan), and they even launched their own secure login API that allows users to connect with their Social Security Number safely (an alternative to Facebook).
La Poste hasn’t completely abandoned their delivery service – they are still among the top employers of the country with about 268,000, most of them in the delivery business – however, they are among the top companies testing Drone Delivery today. Reports came out this week (see Clubic[FR]), following announcements earlier this year, that they are testing Drone Delivery in Switzerland currently (Amazon’s doing it in Canada). This would put La Poste in a great position in the coming years, leveraging their existing ‘last mile’ infrastructure in France (which Amazon is sorely lacking, despite their fulfillment centers – hence the USPS acquisition potential), and would solve their overhead issue (we can discuss the disappearing employment another time).
At the same time, La Poste is looking to leverage yet again their relationship with Households by launching their own connected hardware network dedicated to the connected home. They’ve already launched a hub for connected hardware devices, which they’ll be showing off at Connected Conference next month; however, via a partnership with Bouygues Telecom, which has already announced plans to develop its own Lora Network (Low Power Wide Area Network) in France.
I’ve been very impressed by how La Poste looks to piggy back off of its existing infrastructure, which, while it has clearly already seen its hayday, is still a powerful relationship with its users – after all, it’s the Post Office – in order to create a new service around secure delivery to households. The only thing that is changing is that they have enlarged the definition of what they deliver and by whom it is it delivered to include email, telephone calls, data, by drones, telecom networks & via connected hardware.