The "Letter on the Internet" - the best of two worlds
Deutsche Post DHL brings the letter into the internet.
For more than 500 years, letters have been the most important form of written communication. Deutsche Post DHL now brings the letter into the internet. As from mid 2010, the company will offer its customers a "Letter on the Internet" as a binding, confidential and reliable form of written electronic communications.
The online letter is a milestone in the development of digital communications. For Deutsche Post DHL, it is an essential part of the future strategy of its MAIL Division. By introducing the online letter and further innovations tailored to its customers' needs, the Group transfers its expertise in traditional communications into the electronic form - and unlocks further business potential.
Secure and binding
Due to security reasons and its binding nature, there has not yet been an alternative for the physical letter when it comes to letters of termination or contracts. Nevertheless, customers with great mail volumes often have to deal with complex and time consuming administration work. In contrary, e-mail requires little administration and sending is fast and simple via mouse click. However, unlike a letter, an e-mail is neither binding nor confidential. As a result of the current discussion about hackers, spam and viruses, people's awareness about internet security and data protection has risen tremendously.
The Deutsche Post DHL "Letter on the Internet" therefore combines the best of both worlds. It offers the benefits of an e-mail as it is fast and simple and can be sent at any time from any place. Additionally, it has the key characteristics of the traditional paper letter: a binding nature, confidentiality and reliability.
The online letter is secure: sender and recipient know exactly with whom they are communicating. The identity of all customers is verified in the course of the initial registration process. After having registered, users receive their online letter address and are able to send and receive electronic letters.
Cutting-edge encryption technology
The online letter is also confidential: cutting-edge encryption technology ensures that the communications cannot be viewed or altered by an unauthorized third party. The online letter is reliably delivered: the path of every document can be tracked from sender to recipient. The letter will also reach the recipient even if he or she is not registered with an online letter account. In such cases, Deutsche Post will print the online letter, put it into an envelope and have it delivered by post.
A further benefit: The "Letter on the Internet" can be quickly and easily integrated into the current IT systems of government agencies and companies, who still use the letter as the most frequent form of communication with citizens and customers.
Together with public sector partners, Deutsche Post has also developed a concept for the electronic mail room. This concept integrates the online letter as a new medium into the communication systems of government agencies and forms an interface with document management as well as with e-mail, fax and work-flow systems. Companies are connected through a high-security gateway.
Electronic communications for companies and government
In business communications, the binding online letter provides legal certainty for contracts, invoices and payment authorizations. Processing times are considerably reduced by the electronic postal service, noticeably raising the cost effectiveness of processes. With the new service being offered by Deutsche Post, companies and government agencies are able to accomplish the transition to electronic communications in one step and - if desired - completely.
Politicians have also picked up the issue and are working on a so-called De-Mail law to introduce standards for binding written electronic communications. The law should become effective this year. Deutsche Post DHL explicitly supports this political initiative. Together with other providers, the Group seeks to actively establish this standard and has already integrated De-Mail standards into the "Letter on the Internet".
As a member of the Universal Postal Union, the company is also working to develop international standards for the electronic letter. Deutsche Post DHL did not participate in a pilot project conducted by the German Ministry of the Interior within the context of the De-Mail initiative. As an advancement of one of the Group's main revenue drivers, the company project "Letter on the Internet" is classified a core strategic project. For this reason, the transformation of the letter to the electronic world can only be carried out within the context of the company's own planning and responsibility.
Communication interfaces with retail customers
In addition to ADAC and LOTTO, the company has set up five other partnerships with major customers. In the area of business customers, Deutsche Post is focusing on large companies in the banking, insurance and communication industries due to the high number of communication interfaces with retail customers. Moreover, the focus lies on the public sector. Based on recent survey results, the company expects retail customers to be very interested in the online letter as well, particularly in the area of document transmission to government agencies. According to a study by the IT trade group BIT-KOM, nearly 60 percent of Germans want to communicate electronically with government agencies. Sufficient demand clearly exists.
Jürgen Gerdes, member of the Board of Management responsible for the MAIL Division at Deutsche Post DHL, says: "We are the only ones who can offer secure electronic transmission and hybrid nationwide delivery from a single source. We will provide our customers with a technically superior solution that is reliable, convenient and efficient. We will announce the costs as well as the name of the product when we launch the letter this summer. Adding an online component to our traditional mail business is part of Deutsche Post DHL's 'Strategy 2015'. It will strengthen our core business. We are strongly convinced that the 'Letter on the Internet' will significantly contribute to the position of Deutsche Post DHL as THE postal service for Germany in the future."