Thursday, October 29, 2020

BotswanaPost brings virtual post box to your phone

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 help customers to receive their mail and packages in real time at the comfort of their homes or offices using Google mapping.

Almost a fortnight ago, during a BotswanaPost press conference on the impact of COVID 19 on the organisation, the CEO announced the company would introduce virtual post office boxes which is being developed internally. 

The virtual post boxes will allow Batswana to use their phone numbers as part of their addresses which will in turn make it unnecessary for people to visit postal boxes and have their mail come to them.

An online PO box is a virtual PO box at a mailbox store or at 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 postal mail and packages from anywhere with an app or online. A virtual Post Office gives customers control over where, when and how they receive their mail and packages and it also enables user to have an alternative address instead of their residential address.

The big advantage that has attracted some companies to virtual postal boxes is that they validate the identity of users for merchants and in peer to peer sales, while concealing home address and personal information of users. Virtual post boxes will enable small business to possess a vanity address and use the virtual Post Office Box as a micro warehouse.

Asked what assurances Botswana Post can give so that customers 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.”

Furthermore Plaatjie said: “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 (ICT) companies will have to wait on the side lines for now. Plaatjies revealed “in a case where BotswanaPost sees the need of engaging 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.”

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