Telia Company aiming to deliver NB-IoT benefits to connected postboxes

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Telia Company is hoping to deliver millions of euros in savings to the Finnish postal service, after piloting new NB-IoT connected postboxes.

It is working with Posti on the three month trial, which will connect five postboxes in Helsinki and Oulu. If successful, more than 5,000 postboxes across Finland will then be connected with the technology.

The connected mailboxes will be able to track when mail is dropped into them, whether they are full or empty, or whether they have been opened or damaged.

Customers' privacy is respected as the mail is not scanned or photographed.

Mikael Sundholm, Project Coordinator at Telia, said: "We installed the first sensor just before Christmas, and the results have been promising. Posti's test group is also able to continuously monitor the use of the postboxes with mobile phones."

Initially, notifications will be sent to the smartphones of Posti's five person test group.

Sami Reponen, Chief Process Officer at Posti, said: “I was on a coffee break during a business trip from Varkaus to Helsinki when I received a notice for the first time.

"Admittedly, the situation was quite thrilling, especially when considering the possibilities that this type of real-time monitoring enables for us."

If Posti goes ahead with a wide-scale deployment, its drivers will receive notifications from postboxes to their devices.

Reponen added: "With a billion addressed mail items each year, this sort of information will safeguard the environment and save costs.

“For example, if the time needed to process each item sent via Posti would take just a second longer than today, annual expenses would increase by €13 million.

If we are able to save even 30 seconds of working time on unnecessary mailbox visits, the total benefit is significant."

Last month, Telia held trials of NB-IoT and LTE-M technology in lab conditions with Nokia. It previously used NB-IoT to connect pumping systems at sea and track sheep.