The rise of the Internet has been bad news for post offices around the world, who are trying to fight back in various ways. Canada Post, for example, bought Purolator and has decided to cut back on home delivery.

The U.S Postal Service is trying another angle: The Internet of Things. Last week it posted a brief notice looking for a company with ideas on how the post office the IoT, data strategy and analytics.

As Computerworld U.S. put it, the post office is fishing for ideas. Its approach is something many organizations should be thinking about.

The USPO scans letters and parcels up to 11 times as they make their way through its system with special codes put on them linked to postal codes. We do the same in this country. With sensors becoming ever smaller and less expensive, there’s the potential for putting them on many things that pour through the system — think of sensors on stamps, for example — and, perhaps, on mailboxes as well.

The post office is funding a small study, which may not lead to anything. A public already leery of government and police agencies able to monitor the movements of people through their smart phones may not like the idea of a wireless sensor being added to a letter.

But at least the idea of adding sensors to a supply chain has reached the USPO. Many organizations should be looking at the potential was well.

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Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]