With PostPal, residents will no longer have to check their letterboxes periodically as it will notify them of mail delivery and the number of items that needs to be collected. The app also allows the authorisation of others to do the collection. Image: SingPost
Residents of Block 202 Clementi Avenue 6 are set to be the first to try out Singapore Post Limited’s (SingPost) smart letterbox system from 18 December, reported The Straits Times citing SingPost.
Those living in Block 205 will join them in the following weeks.
Dubbed PostPal, the smart letterboxes will see residents retrieve their mail by scanning a QR code generated by a SingPost app.
With the app, residents will no longer have to check their letterboxes periodically as it will notify them of mail delivery. The app also allows them to check the number of items that needs to be collected as well as authorise others to do the collection for them.
Each PostPal machine can store mail for the whole housing block, with the items auto-sorted into their respective storage slots.
The storage modules within PostPal units could be customised to each individual block’s mail profile, said SingPost.
As such, a block that consistently receive high e-commerce volumes can have smaller modules within its PostPal replaced with bigger ones to accommodate larger postal packages. SingPost explained that this configuration could also be done during year-end peak season of online sales.
With these features, PostPal significantly reduces misdeliveries as well as alleviate the postman’s burden, said the postal service provider.
A newer iteration of SingPost’s smart letterbox prototype unveiled last year, PostPal was developed in collaboration with robotics and automation firm PBA Group.
The two blocks were chosen for the year-long trial since they are representative of Singapore public housing’s average mail profile. Each block serves around 100 households.
SingPost has declined to reveal the pilot’s cost, noted The Straits Times report.
Vincent Phang, SingPost’s Singapore Head and Chief Executive of Postal Services, believes the PostPal trial could transform the letterbox infrastructure within HDB blocks from a “simple, letter-oriented lock-and-key structure to a cutting-edge digital system with capabilities beyond mail delivery”.
He also expects it to significantly alleviate SingPost’s labour constraints.
When asked on accessibility for those who are less tech-savvy, Phang said a one-time password to retrieve mail will be sent via SMS for those without smartphones.
Meanwhile, SingPost revealed that the PostPal trial will be progressively implemented to more precincts including one in the North, subject to authorities’ approval and the performance of units within Clementi.
It intends to use data and feedback gathered during the trial to finetune the smart letterbox system and inform its next phase of transformation plans.