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Delayed Volly digital mail service gains print software partner

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Still no sign of a consumer launch for Pitney Bowes’ long-awaited US digital mail platform, Volly, as the world’s largest mail technology firm continues to work on getting more mailers signed up.

Connecticut-based Pitney Bowes first laid out its proposals for a new Internet-based alternative to the physical mail exactly two years ago, with a view to inviting consumers to start using the service from the second half of 2011.

The big consumer opening was then put back a year as the company decided to work on getting more transactional mail volumes flowing through the system, for fear that consumers would merely be presented with empty digital mailboxes.

Last November saw Pitney Bowes quietly telling investors it was now deferring the Volly launch once again, this time to 2013, while it continued to work on its “onboarding” process for mailers.

Now with the project’s two-year anniversary arriving, Pitney Bowes has announced another business partnership for Volly, this time with PageTech, a company that produces printer software.

Collaborating with San Diego-based PageTech should make it easy for small businesses, credit unions and print service providers to access the Volly platform, Pitney Bowes said.

Print to PDF

PageTech’s software allows the conversion of print output into electronic PDF-based documents, which will mean its clients will be able to deliver statements, bills and notices to consumers electronically through Volly, within a PDF format.

Pitney Bowes said PageTech has “extensive presence” in sectors including service bureau, credit union and regional bank industries.

Chuck Cordray, the president of Volly, said: “With this technology from PageTech, Volly will be able to connect with a myriad of businesses and provide them with access to an engaging digital communications channel bringing them directly to their customer.”

Robert Pooley, the president of PageTech, said his company would be “thrilled” to promote the Volly service to current and prospective clients along with its gold-standard enterprise application.

“Our goal is to provide pre-built integration to small businesses in the US, so they can have the opportunity to take advantage of Volly and optimise communications to their consumers,” he said.

Mail density

According to Pitney Bowes, the Volly service has now signed up 60 large third-party mail service providers, who will offer the platform to 6,500 companies and consumer brands. Broadridge Financial Solutions, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and UBS Financial Services were among those pledging support towards the end of 2012.

Executives last year decided, however, that Volly’s long-term value would be improved by delaying its consumer launch once again.

Murray D Martin, the then chairman and CEO of Pitney Bowes, said in November that his company was looking at how to make it quicker and easier to bring businesses on board to use the Volly service.

“If we launch the product without documents [being sent to digital mailbox users], it’s not going to have the reputation that it needs,” he said. “We will launch it when we believe there’s enough documents for positive usage experience.”

Martin, who has since retired to be replaced by Marc B Lautenbach as Pitney Bowes CEO, said in a call with analysts in November that the company had not forecast receiving any “meaningful” revenue from Volly in 2012 or 2013.

A spokesperson for Pitney Bowes could not tell Post&Parcel yesterday at what point during 2013 Volly’s consumer launch is to take place. “Pitney Bowes is committed to getting Volly right and their strategy is focusing on getting the appropriate mailer density to ensure the best experience for their consumer,” said the spokesperson.

Meanwhile, Pitney Bowes is also providing the Volly platform for use by Australia Post as the technology behind its new Digital MailBox service. That service was officially launched back in October, however, technical issues have seen the service put on hold since the launch, with consumers now only able to register their interest. Australia Post has said its Digital MailBox service should now start up in mid-2013.

Source: Post&Parcel/Pitney Bowes

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