IPC enters partnership with MIT Center for Digital Business

The International Post Corporation (IPC) has confirmed a partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Digital Business to explore the role of postal operators in the provision of digital business platforms. The agreement was made during the IPC’s annual conference, which saw leading postal CEOs meet to discuss the future of digital business for the postal industry.

The event – operating under the theme ‘Digital Business: Opportunities to Create Value’ – was held in Rome last week.

With the decline of letter mail volumes posts are placing greater emphasis on the integration of physical and electronic systems, including the development of digital postal services.

By leveraging their strong national brand recognition and trusted position, posts are uniquely positioned to carry out the role of intermediaries in commerce, communication and payments, and boast extensive retail networks which provide nationwide reach to consumers, the IPC said.

More than 60 delegates from global postal organisations attended the conference, along with leading figures from academia and industry.

Massimo Sarmi, CEO of Poste Italiane, Jukka Alho, CEO of Itella Corporation, and Frank Appel CEO of Deutsche Post DHL participated in a moderated panel discussion, and were joined by three external speakers: Jim Hagemann Snabe, Co-CEO of SAP, Stephen McGibbon, chief technology officer of Microsoft EMEA, and Professor Marshall Van Alstyne, of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

It provided perspectives on changing consumer behaviour, advancements in technology and the role of posts, followed by an open discussion on integrating network capability and digital opportunities to maximise value through creative collaboration.

Another conclusion of discussions was that posts should not develop standalone products, rather focus on designing integrated platforms on which multiple products can exist. To that end, one of the main issues facing posts in developing further in digital services is creating scale of uptake that will make these business lines viable.

In examining how these platforms could evolve, conference delegates addressed the issue of interoperability and the extent to which individual postal operators should work together to develop common solutions even though a single common interoperable platform across all posts would not be necessary. This type of cooperation will enable posts to find the best possible solution for each market and create the stronger network effects needed to increase overall market power, the IPC added.

Commenting on the conference, IPC chairman of the Board, Dag Mejdell, said: “The speakers highlighted that posts are trusted partners, and now we need to work together in smart way to develop solutions that fit both business and consumer needs.”

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