The days of snail pace mail delivery service may be coming to an end thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. The BotswanaPost is upgrading its mailing service to online platforms, with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Cornelius Ramatlhakwane saying it will mean customers receiving their mail and packages in real-time delivered in the comfort of their homes or offices using Google mapping.
Over a fortnight ago, during a BotswanaPost press conference on the impact of COVID 19 on the organisation, Ramatlhakwane announced the company would introduce virtual post office boxes, a project that is being developed internally. The virtual post boxes will allow customers to use their phone numbers as part of their addresses without having to visit their postal boxes and instead, have their mail come to them.
An online PO box is a virtual PO box at a mailbox store or a shared workspace in an office building with a real physical mailing address. It uses digital mailbox technology to let you view and manage your mail and parcels from anywhere with an app or online.
A virtual Post Office gives customers control over where, when and how they receive their mail and parcels. It also allows the user to have an alternative address instead of their residential address.
Its main appeal for some companies is the fact that they validate the identity of users for merchants and in peer to peer sales while concealing the user’s home address and personal information. Virtual post boxes will enable small businesses to have a vanity address and use the virtual Post Office Box as a micro warehouse. Asked what assurances BotswanaPost can give that the customer’s privacy will be protected, Acting Chief Operations Officer, Pako Plaatjie said;
“Customer Sensitive Data or Personal Identifiable Information, PII, resides on secured BotswanaPost databases; for processes that require information to be printed on screens, sensitive data is masked during transactional processing to ensure that only the owner of the information presented has knowledge that the information being theirs.”
“This, however, does not mitigate the risk, particularly during mail processing internally, thus the residual risk will be handled by internal processes and procedures; BotswanaPost Conditions of Service, Data & Information Security Policies, and None-Disclosure instruments between BotswanaPost (the Organisation) and its employees.”
Plaatjie further explained;
“BotswanaPost’s approach to Services & Products Development is such that after the normal Applications Development exercises and processes, which entails Development, Quality Assurance Testing, User Acceptance Testing, products are availed on a pilot basis in Gaborone. Thereafter, based on the success of the pilot, a full nation-wide rollout is conducted.
However, we are committed to having this development being a permanent solution, which we believe is a value-add.”
Information Communication Technology companies will have to wait on the sidelines for now. Plaatjies revealed;
“In a case where BotswanaPost sees the need to engage a local company for deliveries, we are open to smart partnerships to augment any shortfalls that we might have, looking at competing priorities and shortage of resources.”