Posti and Telia pilot world’s first smart mailbox with NB-IoT

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The FINANCIAL — The Finnish postal service Posti and Telia Company have developed a new type of smart mailbox that is first in the world to utilize the new NB-IoT technology.

NB-IoT, Narrowband Internet of Things, is a new network technology that can be used to connect a large number of devices. A connected mailbox will provide information in real time on its use, such as if mail is dropped in the mailbox, if it’s full or empty, or if it has been opened or vandalized, according to Telia.

“With a billion addressed mail items each year, this sort of information will safeguard the environment and save costs,” says Sami Reponen, Chief Process Officer at Posti.
“For example, if the time needed to process each item sent via Posti would take just a second longer than today, annual expenses would increase by 13 million euros. If we are able to save even 30 seconds of working time on unnecessary mailbox visits, the total benefit is significant.

Logistical benefits

Posti operates some 3,300 vehicles in Finland and their daily mileages add up to six times around the world, so the management of logistics flows is a crucial issue, Reponen adds.

From pilot to nationwide implementation

In the three-month pilot project, Posti and Telia will smarten up five postboxes in Helsinki and Oulu. If the trial is successful, the next goal is to turn all 5,000 boxes nationwide into smart postboxes.

“We installed the first sensor just before Christmas, and the results have been promising. Posti’s test group is also able to continuously monitor the use of the postboxes with mobile phones,” says Mikael Sundholm, Project Coordinator at Telia.

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