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Concept of Platform
The International Post Corporation (IPC) and the USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) have both recently shown interest in the concept of digital platforms and their applicability to the postal world. Typical examples of digital platforms include desktop operating systems such as UNIX, Mac and Windows; PDAs such as Palm, Psion or Newton; game consoles; payment systems; and mobile devices such as iPhone, Android, Symbian or Blackberry. The success of these platforms has relied on the presence of networks of users and providers, and common components that create sustainable ecosystems.
Private participation in postal solutions
Posts around the world are confronted with significant challenges caused by the decline in traditional mail volumes and competition from private operators. Posts need to develop strategies that create new sources of revenue, yet maintain the essential role of the post in society. Posts already operate platforms, mainly physical distribution platforms. The challenge is to gain access to new platforms and to new sources of revenue. We believe that opening the postal infrastructure to privately sponsored and operated solutions would represent a significant opportunity for posts, introducing the private sector to support a strategy that will be less risky, more innovative, and more successful.
- Less risky: By opening up the postal platform to the private sector, posts will limit the amount of capital required to develop new solutions and new services that may sometimes bring disappointing results. This frees them to use their capital and resources for critical network infrastructure and platform investments.
- More innovative. Private participation will bring more innovation and experimentation. Control of the platform by postal operators will ensure a public sector orientation, while opening it to the private sector will bring in innovation and drive. This will bring new thinking, new domain expertise (for instance, in depth knowledge of specific growing markets such as health care) and new experiences and qualifications.
- More successful. This strategy, which reduces risk and increases innovation, will ultimately result in new value added services that com-plement the primary mission of the post, and, ideally, create network effects that bring more users and solution providers to the platform, thus increasing revenue.
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