It’s been a little over a year since we wrote about the Internet of Postal Things (or IoPT) on our blog. With our smart mailbox now available for pre-order, it’s a good time to take a look at what IoPT looks like in 2017. In this post we’ll focus on the general state of the Internet of Things and how IoPT is progressing.

The General State of the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things refers to internet-connected devices gathering and sharing data with each other to make your life better. A recent example are Sears’ new Alexa-enabled line of appliances that will allow you to do things like turn down the A/C while relaxing on your couch. If you need an IoT crash course, this infographic is a good resource to check out. By the end of the year, it’s projected that there will be 8.4 billion internet-connected devices in use around the world. Trillions of dollars are being invested in IoT over the next five years. IoT is the latest Industrial Revolution – What a time to be alive! The future is going to be a place where your refrigerator is just as smart as your iPhone.

More examples of what IoT looks like in 2017:

  • Smart Cities: “In Louisville, Ky., a coalition of public, private and philanthropic organizations has provided more than 1,000 sensor-equipped inhalers to asthma sufferers to map where in the city poor air quality is triggering breathing problems. The tiny sensors, from Propeller Health, a Madison, Wis., medical-device company, have built-in GPS that collects time and location data with each puff of the inhaler.”
  • Smart Buildings: “The Bullitt Center’s features include net zero energy, net zero water, net zero carbon, composting toilets, toxic-free materials, and over 80% day light using high-performance windows— using only “off-the-shelf products” available to any building project. While the world’s only six-story composting toilet system is impressive, even more impressive: 575 solar panels, proving that it is possible to go net zero energy via solar—even in Seattle!”
  • Smart Cars: “Reuters has seen emails between Tesla and the Nevada DMV where the two sides discussed ‘potential road tests’ of the truck’s self-driving capabilities. The information also apparently describes Tesla’s desire to create long-haul electric semis that can drive themselves in “platoons,” potentially following behind a lead truck piloted by a human driver.”

How the Internet of Postal Things is Progressing

In the fall of 2015, the United States Postal Service released a report on the Internet of Postal Things. Most relevant to our pursuit of overcoming the challenges of the “Last Mile” were the sections on Transportation and Logistics and Neighborhood Services.

In January, USPS added information on cyber security and IoT to their “About” page. This was likely a reflection of consumer interest and possible concerns. And in June, Megan J. Brennan, Postmaster General and CEO of the United States Postal Service, wrote a rebuttal for Politico about a USPS diss piece. She listed some of the USPS’ most recent innovations in her response. According to GCN, the USPS should be an integral part of any up-and-coming Smart City. This infographic shows how the USPS could someday generate revenue by supporting Smart Cities with data.

Of course, offerings like MailHaven’s package tracking app and smart mailbox are all about supporting the forward momentum of IoPT and delivery overall. For example, look at the advances being made in grocery delivery. You’re going to want to know when your pint of Talenti ice cream is showing up and you’re going to want a way to keep it cold if you can’t be home when it arrives (or keep your neighbors from swiping it off your porch!). Another example: Have you ever ordered a packaged and then realized you were going to be out town when it arrives? Instead of that frantic search for someone who can swing by and pick up your package for you or attempting to cancel your order, you’ll rest easy knowing your package will be stored securely in your mailbox until you return from your trip.

What aspect of the Internet of Postal Things is most exciting to you? Tweet us your thoughts and get on the list to be the first to know when our app goes live!