HP & UPS Offer “E” Alternative to Overnight Delivery

Promising an instantaneous, electronic alternative to the overnight letter, Hewlett-Packard and United Parcel Service have joined to develop a new service that sends and tracks paper documents over the Net.

HP and UPS said it will be the first such service enabling users to send, rather than only receive, e-mail versions of transmitted paper documents with the push of a button. Both companies see a potential goldmine: They cited an Intelliquest study projecting 35 percent of the overnight delivery market will move to the Internet by 2001.

Made for ‘Hyper-Speed’ Environment

“In today’s hyper-speed business environment, secure, efficient and streamlined communications are key,” said Dale Hayes, VP for e-commerce marketing at UPS. “The natural combination of … seamlessly integrated paper-based information and electronic messaging is the closest you can get today to safe and immediate document delivery.”

UPS Document Exchange will rely on the new HP 9100C Digital Sender, which electronically sends paper documents in a single step. The Digital Sender, which sells for about $3,600 ($US), allows companies to delivery in black-and-white or color. The UPS Document Exchange enables users to send and track digital files securely across the Internet and provides delivery confirmation, proof of receipt and a password-protection option.

Cheaper Than Overnight

UPS and HP said users could send documents “at a fraction of the cost” of traditional overnight delivery but did not give a price. UPS said it would provide more details on the new service June 1st.

Along with speeding delivering and reducing the paper avalanche, UPS and HP said, the new service should ease security concerns about transmitting credit card numbers and other sensitive information on the Net. Such fears are widely viewed as major obstacles to e-commerce’s realizing its potential.

Competitive Field

The announcement follows the U.S. Postal Service’s unveiling plans to blend traditional mail services with computer communications. Mailing Online will enable users to create a document on their own computers, e-mail the document and their mailing lists to the post office, and pay the post office to print, stuff and mail the document. The finished pieces are then mailed using any of the post office’s standard mailing options.

Shipping Online will allow businesses to automate their Express Mail and Priority Mail shipping by calculating postage, which can be paid online, preparing shipping labels, scheduling pick-ups and tracking deliveries. The USPS is also working on next-day worldwide delivery of documents sent through its Mailing Online service.

HP, with 123,000 employees worldwide, had total revenue of $47.1 billion in its 1998 fiscal year.

UPS, the world’s largest express carrier and package delivery company, offering fully integrated, web-enabled business-to-business solutions and working with other e-commerce leaders, The Atlanta-based company operates in more than 200 countries and employs more than 330,000 people worldwide. UPS reported 1998 annual revenues of $24.8 billion.

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