PostNL

undefined logo

We are PostNL. The essential link between senders and receivers of mail and parcels. Whether it is online or through our physical networks, we aim to facilitate a seamless connection. We provide our customers with a reliable, trustworthy service and control over their deliveries, whether they are major e-tailers or consumers. And we are always close by: our deliverers reach every address in the Netherlands, through rain, hail, sleet and snow.

Website

16 Organisation members

  • Anna Paulides's picture
  • David Ramp's picture
  • 📦Peter Koreman's picture
  • Rozemarijn deFeijter's picture
  • Boy van der Velden's picture
  • Rob Key's picture
  • Kariem Said's picture
  • Jesse Keet's picture
  • Jan-Jaap Satter's picture
  • Rogier Havelaar's picture

Activity

  • 23
    Updates
  • 0
    Smarts
  • 9
    Comments
Rogier Havelaar, General Manager City Logistics at PostNL, posted

Interview in Greek Netweek Magazine issue on Smart Cities

Featured image

'Recently, you’ve estimated that nearly one million people are in place to execute smart city activities in Europe. Could you comment upon this?' ASC team member Rogier Havelaar shares this view on the role of the mailman in the smart city.

Recently, you’ve estimated that nearly one million people are in place to execute smart city activities in Europe. Could you comment upon this?

I’ve just made a quick calculation. In the Netherlands, we roughly have one mailman for 350 households. Per household, we have an average of 2,5 people. The population of Europe is 743 million people. Using the estimations of the Netherlands, you come to 850.000 mailmen Europe. Because many areas in Europe are less dense populated then the Netherlands, I adjusted the estimation to ‘near one million’. However, the numbers are just an indication. My central point is that I see an incredible network of people who are every day in every street of Europe. Postal operators are very good organized in international networks. Im dreaming of a combination of near one million mailmen, their local presence, technology used and high organization ratio of the companies they work for is unique and very useful for smart city projects on a European scale.

The Smart City potential of postal networks can only be underestimated

The Smart City potential of postal networks can therefore only be underestimated: we could measure and compare cities as Athens, Rome, Barcelona, London, Berlin and Amsterdam on the same criteria and using the same measurement method within a few days. Postal vehicles can be used for air quality to pavement quality measurement projects.. And they can do so with relatively small investments because most of the required assets are already in place. Additional to the added value the postal networks have in their own markets, I believe that there is a multiplier effect when combining these networks on a European or worldwide scale. Companies as US Post and Japan Post are also investigation comparable opportunities.

Can you point out certain trends that are present in the Smart Cities reality?

In the beginning of my Smart City journey in the Netherlands which started in may 2015, I only saw large technology and connectivity companies on the playing field. Smart City was more about marketing IoT solutions then about creating sustainable cities. Despite some small successes which have been emphasized over and over (such as the smart bin case in Barcelona, which was mentioned at every smart city meeting in the world) and repeating the claim that ‘in 2020, 50 billion things will be connected to the internet” (I think I’ve heard this quote more than 50 billion times) there was not much to report. Companies were protecting their intellectual property and municipalities their budget.

This playing field opened up by governments requesting startups to come up with smart solutions (the city of Amsterdam, for example, opened a tender dedicated for startups), by disruptive startups as the things network and by many public-private cooperation’s with a main focus on learning instead of business.

For the near future, I see two big hurtles which have to be taken. Firstly, we as smart city professionals should focus on execution of ideas and scaling them up instead of a focus on the development of more ideas. We need to do and to act instead of brainstorming and discussing. This will lead to large scale projects within the domain of Smart cities. No longer twenty smart lights and twenty smart bins on a piece of five hundred meter smart roads, but a project of two hundred smart lights and two hundred smart bins on a piece of five kilometer smart road through the historic center, new build neighborhoods and industrial areas of the city. After these medium sized projects, there should be a business case for smart cities where commercial investors, governments, citizens and solution providers all play their role. Summarized: we need to go from idea and MVP phase to scale up projects and define the governance (financially and policy-wise) of the smart city.

What will be the next step towards Smart City initiatives? Are there certain aspects and sectors that will explode / arise?

I think the initiatives with a clear business case will be the smart city blockbusters. Connectivity (city wifi, 4G/5G, long range low band internet such as LoRa or NbIoT), Energy (peak reduction, smart lightning), Mobility (building materials, waste) will be the most visible and largest scale initiatives. However, I think you do not need the Smart City framework for this kind of innovations. The true Smart City initiatives are initiatives that take a multidisciplinary approach to smart city problems. For example, PostNL is involved in a multidisciplinary team of Philips Healthcare, ONVZ health insurance, Nutricia Danone and a local knowledge institute. In this project, we combine technology (the participants receive a sensor measuring all their movement) with nutrition, physiotherapy and social interventions (the PostNL mailmen will have a central role in the project). What I like about this kind of projects is that people play a significant role in it. Of course, we all think that a world of robotics and drones is cool. But I want to live in a city of people, with people.

And I think I’m not the only one who wants that. Therefore, I think that on the long run that only smart city projects aiming at people and the question how people want to live together will be successful. There is no scarcity in technology in the future. The real scarcity will be about real interaction between real humans who want to be seen and recognized as human and want to contribute to society.

How key is knowledge exchange and transfer to the success of Smart City initiatives?

Of course knowledge exchange is key to success. If you can’t share, you can’t multiply. A year ago, I was looking for good quality low cost outdoor air quality sensors, which we place into our letterboxes on the street. I was surprised about the number of NDAs I received related to the number of working sensors I’ve seen. I think it’s better to bundle development power and work together to a good solution. We waste a lot of time with protecting unproven ideas.

Have you got certain “Smart” plans in the pipeline?

Yes absolutely. Within PostNL we have defined four Smart City research areas:

- City Logistics: how can PostNL be the logistics service provider of the city of the future?
- Social domain: how can PostNL help elderly people to live longer in their own home independently and happy?
- Public Spaces: how can PostNL help to keep the streets clean, undamaged and nice?
- Requests of organizations: what specific services can we develop, e.g. taking water meters within houses?

We currently are scaling up these initiatives to medium sized pilots as I described above. In order to do so, we work together with Prime Vision, a daughter company of PostNL with experience in smart city projects worldwide. We develop in small steps but have a clear focus on execution.

Rogier Havelaar's picture News
Rozemarijn deFeijter, Development Manager Smart Living @ PostNL at PostNL, posted

PostNL helps elderly in a pilot to enhance their self-reliance

Featured image

VeiligheidNL, Nutricia, Philips, ONVZ and PostNL work together in a project that aims to help elderly remain living at home independently. Specifically, we want to prevent them from falling. In 2016, every five minutes a 65 + person ended up in the emergency room after a fall and every day nine people decease because of a fall. Therefore, we bundle our forces and offer a solution with project TOM, ‘Thuis Onbezorgd Mobiel’ (Carefree Mobility at Home); a package of proven interventions to support the elderly.

Doing what works
Many elderly value their freedom and would like to remain living at home independently. But not everyone has relatives who can give informal care and the offer of support programs is fragmented. With project TOM, we offer a complete support package with measures that are proven to be effective. There will also be cooperation with trusted local professionals, such as the personal physiotherapist and dietitian.
The participants will not only follow a mobility program, but will also get personal dietary advice and a motion monitor, a device that tracks and analyzes movements. These interventions ensure that preventive measures can be taken if necessary. To reduce the risk of falling, the participants work twice a week on muscle strength, balance and coordination with a physical therapist and receive additional information. This intervention, by VeiligheidNL, is called ‘InBalans’ (in balance). Independent research shows that participants who follow this program are 61% less likely to fall.
Diet is also important when it comes to fall prevention. Especially for vulnerable elderly, it’s challenging to take in all the necessary nutrients on a daily basis, which worsens their overall condition. Therefore, all participants are screened for malnutrition and there’s a personal dietary advice for those who need it.

Personal attention
Personal attention is a key element in project TOM. Because many elderly who live at home independently feel lonely or can use some extra help, there are trained elderly advisors who will visit them and ONVZ Care Consultants of who will regularly call the elderly to hear how they are doing. They offer individual care and participants can contact them if they have any questions.
There’s also a new role for the mailman of PostNL. Within Project TOM, our mailman has contact with the senior and offers support in using the motion monitor.

Start project
Best is the first region where project TOM starts with a pilot. In the course of 2017, spread over The Netherlands, project TOM will start in three other test regions. Check out www.projecttom.nl for more information.
* Source: fact sheet: 65 years and older Fall, October, 2016 * VeiligheidNL
** source: www.stuurgroepondervoeding.nl
* * * source: Effects of exercise programs of falls and mobility in frail and pre-frail older adults: a multicenter randomized controlled trial, Faber 2006

Rozemarijn deFeijter's picture #Citizens&Living
Rogier Havelaar, General Manager City Logistics at PostNL, posted

Nearly one million human smart city nodes in place in Europe!

Featured image

Across Europe, a network of almost one million people (961.529 according to my calculation) is in place to execute smart city activities. This network is present in every street in all European countries almost every day of the week. Ready to measure the quality of the public space, to have an eye on elderly people living alone or to deliver proximity services for companies and consumers.

On November 24, European postal operators gathered together on Cyprus to discuss the potential they can have in the smart city domain. The session was organized by Post Europ, www.posteurop.org. Examples of successful projects from several countries have been presented. PostNL, as a partner of Amsterdam Smart City, presented projects from the Netherlands and explained the added value of the Amsterdam Smart City community.
As a side effect of the meeting, the postal operators realized that their unique networks in their own countries have a huge potential when you combine all those networks on a European scale. A small calculation: Holland has 17 million inhabitants and 22.000 mailmen. Scaling this number up to 743 million inhabitants within the EU brings us to one million mailmen across Europe.

Imagine: a million people with a smartphone measuring the same things across Europe! Wouldn’t that be very interesting – or to put it as I feel it: incredibly awesome?!?

Because the people network is comparable (same kind of work, same kind of people, same kind of technology) it should be easy to scale up smart city initiatives on a European scale. That brings the opportunity to compare, for example, the quality of public spaces in Amsterdam, Paris, Vienna, Berlin and London following the same method and to execute this benchmark in the same period of time.

I’m very enthusiastic to work on this idea. If you have any suggestions or remarks, or examples of Smart City activities of postal operators: please contact me!

Rogier Havelaar's picture #Citizens&Living
Rogier Havelaar, General Manager City Logistics at PostNL, posted

Postal Services and Smart Cities: five pilots, three business models and difficult questions to be answered

Featured image

Last September, the office of inspector general of US post published a report on postal services and smart cities. In a recent podcast, the authors of the report sketch three business models and five pilots for postal operators. The pilots are on using the postal trucks to measure the quality of the road (e.g. pothole detection), bridges (measuring vibrations on the bridge), air quality (sensors on a car) measuring the quality of underground water infrastructure (using long range Bluetooth transmitters) and measuring urban blight (using the local presence of the carrier).

Last September, the office of inspector general of US post published a report on postal services and smart cities. In a recent podcast, the authors of the report sketch three business models and five pilots for postal operators. The pilots are on using the postal trucks to measure the quality of the road (e.g. pothole detection), bridges (measuring vibrations on the bridge), air quality (sensors on a car) measuring the quality of underground water infrastructure (using long range Bluetooth transmitters) and measuring urban blight (using the local presence of the carrier).

There are many opportunities for using the postal networks as data collection networks. Interestingly, I see many postal operators working on the same kind of propositions. Read my earlier blogs for more examples from Spain and Belgium.

Not only the pilots several postal carriers conduct are comparable but also the discussion on business models. The first business model is to rent inches in postal trucks where a customer can place sensors in. The second one is to define what data may be interesting (and to whom) and to actually collect this data. The final business model is a “full service provider” model.

Of course, the full service provider business model is the most interesting, but also the one with the highest risk. If I, as a postal operator, invest my money in turning the network into an air quality measurement platform, who will be paying for this collected data? Questions like this one are the barriers for growth within the smart city domain and not only for postal operators, but also for producers of smart lights, smart parking sensors or smart bins.

Another issue arising from the podcast is how to deal with privacy concerns? Take the urban blight detection pilot for example. In this pilot, the mailman can inform the municipality with early signals of urban blight. The benefit of the postal service is that they are present in every street. The carrier can see when a house becomes vacant e.g. when mail is not picked up. Being able to capture the knowledge of the carrier would be a huge opportunity. You can collect the same kind of information in different cities and compare it. The question is to what extent and for what reason mailmen are willing to share information they have and society is willing the mailman to share this data. If postal operators are the data collectors of the smart city of the future, this question must be addressed in more detail.

Therefore, I’m happy to attend the Smart Cities and the Internet of Things (IoT) summit organized by PostEurop on November 24. As I wrote in an earlier blog, it’s my strong conviction that there is a brigt future for postal organizations. However, their license to operate should come from local neighborhoods, inhabitants and customers and not from government officials. I think there are three main conditions postal operators should have in mind and which I will bring to the summit:

Condition 1: Postal services are part of local communities

Postal operators have to think about their place within the local ecosystem of every neighborhood: we are a part of those communities and not ‘just’ a supplier or ‘just’ a data collector. Most of the postal workers (at least in the Netherlands) live as a neighbor in the area wherein they deliver mail and collect data. In terms of business models, postal organizations should therefore be transparent about their activities, actively involve (opt in) or inform (opt out) consumers in their propositions and ask local communities about their opinions on the services provided.

Condition 2: Trust in the Mailman, his Abilities and in the Corporate he works for

Asking postal workers to execute extra activities may sound attractive in PowerPoint presentations for decision makers, but in practice we have to realize that this ‘logic’ is not automatically seen by others. For example, mailmen checking elderly people need to have the personal trust of the elderly people (“I know you and you are a nice person”), in his abilities (“you are indeed able to have a good conversation with me”) and in the corporate asking him to do the extra job (“this is a brand I trust”). This three levels of trust will give the postal operator the license to operate within the smart city domain, as a trusted, able and nice partner within the local community.

Condition 3: Business Models with Societal Benefits

To be sure not to be detached from the local community and to keep the three levels of trust high, postal organizations should focus on business models with societal benefits. Such as data collection from public spaces in order to keep cities clean, pothole detection, checking health conditions of elderly people. Not surprisingly, it are these kind of models postal operators worldwide are developing. Doing good by doing business should be the motto of postal organizations in the smart city domain. If they do, they will also be a good alternative of criticized “big brother is watching you” projects which we also find in the Smart City domain.

Rogier Havelaar's picture News
Rogier Havelaar, General Manager City Logistics at PostNL, posted

Across Europe, the postman helps to overcome loneliness

Featured image

In a few days the "week against loneliness” ends. The question naturally arises: what's next? The topic loneliness has been a ‘hot topic’ for a long time. Not surprising, because the urbanization on the one hand and the shrinking areas on the other hand cause an increase in loneliness. How can postmen help? European countries know!

In a few days the Week against Loneliness ends. The question naturally arises: what's next? The topic loneliness has been a ‘hot topic’ for a long time. Not surprising, because the urbanization on the one hand and the shrinking areas on the other hand cause an increase in loneliness. Combined with budget cuts taking place in the social domain, you get shocking figures: 3.5 million people in the Netherlands are lonely, more than 1 million are very lonely.

There are many initiatives to find a structural solution to this problem. Consider initiatives of the Red Cross and the National Fund for Elderly People or commercial initiatives such as hiring a student to do a walk or a professional caregiver at home with whom you can play a game of scrabble.

Even large companies are looking at their possible contributions to solve this problem. I zoom in on activities carried out by postal companies in Europe. In France, the postman keeps an eye on the elderly. Many elderly people live remote and the postman is their only social contact. For € 4.40 per week, the French Post offers the elderly a visit of the postman. The German Post has previously developed similar services. The Belgian post offers intake questionnaires at the doorstep so municipalities and institutions get a good picture of the elderly. The Finnish Post offers several "home services" for the elderly because they are often left behind in the countryside while their children move to the cities. In short: Across Europe, the postman helps to overcome loneliness.

Also at PostNL we are working on this theme. We do this for two reasons. First, we see that our postmen play an incredibly important role in the neighborhood. For example, in May this year, a man of seventy was found dead in his home. Both local residents and the postman reported the address to the municipality. Because of situations like this, we participate in Rotterdam in the project "Report Isolation", to allow postmen to report worrisome situations.

Secondly, the postman is a familiar person in the streets. Because the mailman is often working in a district for a longer period of time, he knows the area and its residents. That's why we did a second trial in Rotterdam: mailmen were requested by the municipality of Rotterdam to take interviews with elderly people.

The results of both projects are interesting. Postmen can pass on signals of possible 'unsafe' situations to the social teams of the municipality. Obviously, in compliance with privacy laws. Our extra eyes and ears on the street already reached a number of people in the city of Rotterdam. These people were socially isolated or needed some help. The trial with interviewing seventy-five elderly at home learns us that the elderly were satisfied about the conversations and our deliverers saw the service as a useful addition to their work.

Although we do not know where the two tests will lead us on the long term, we see that the postman can play a valuable role in this type of social activities. In a society where more and more people are lonely and neighbors don’t know each other anymore, the postman can play a role in bringing them together.

Other blogs of Rogier:

Measuring public opinion in the public space

Having a good webcare team is not being a good government

Managing the public space using daily insights: the mailman collects data

How to evaluate Smart City innovation: Wildcard for roundtable on September 14th

Twenty-Seven Pink Potential Smart City Nodes in Amsterdam

Bpost uses cars to measure air quality - Bright future for postal organizations!

Santander City Council and Correos signed an agreement to promote initiatives "Smart City" and encourage innovation

Rogier Havelaar's picture #Citizens&Living
Rogier Havelaar, General Manager City Logistics at PostNL, posted

Measuring public opinion in the public space

Featured image

The knowledge network CROW organized a meeting on measuring public opinion on the public space. How do you ensure that people feel comfortable there? PostNL mail deliverers Geerly and Ton and team leader Albert shared their experiences in the different pilots of PostNL with the participants – all professionals in the work field of public sphere management - in the meeting.

The knowledge network CROW organized a meeting on measuring public opinion in the public space. How do you ensure that people feel comfortable there? PostNL mail deliverers Geerly and Ton and team leader Albert shared their experiences in the different pilots of PostNL with the participants – all professionals in the work field of public sphere management - in the meeting.

What experience?

The meeting participants were particularly interested in the various PostNL projects in managing public space. For example, photographing weeds or litter, or taking interviews with residents. The participants wanted to know what kind of information the postman can give. Geerly: "I see more potential than before I came to this meeting. People were genuinely interested and looking for new resources. The advantage that we already have 22.000 mailmen, every day of the week in every street, is bigger than I imagined before I attended the meeting."

An impression of the conversation

The participants are policy officials of the municipality, representatives of service providers, consultants and designers. They had several questions for Geerly, Ton and Albert:

• How does the mailman combine the added services with delivering the mail? Ton: "It is totally not burdensome to do. We divide the extra work over several postmen and everyone carries out the tasks in his own district, it is a piece of cake..." Team leader Albert: "Postmen respond positively. Of course there are differences, but as soon as the mailmen are involved in a project and start with the extra work, they are very positive about it."

• What are the reactions of local residents when the postmen takes a survey or takes a photo on the street? Geerly: "I run for three years in my neighborhood and I know the people. I ask them simply whether they want to participate in a survey. They are positive, they hope that the municipality does something with the input they give to me. Because I know the people in my district and they know me, it’s easy to ask them some questions." Ton: "For me it is the same. At all spots where I have to take pictures I have been approached by residents. When I tell them that we, for our customer Twente Milieu improve the removal of weeds, people are immediately positive. Moreover, one resident asked me if I could pass on to the message that the road really needs to be improved."

• Would residents be able to reports on the public space? Rogier (yes, that’s me ;-)): "That depends on what the customer wants. I think the mailmen will be capable of having this kind of function, but I can also imagine that municipalities themselves want to have this contact with residents. It is important to know what kind of residents live in a certain district. In districts where residents go to the municipality with their complaints, the added value of the mailman is lower than in districts where residents don't do that.”

Was the meeting useful?

Ton: "This was a very useful meeting. As a mailmen, I now see what issues play a role for municipalities and other agencies. I see that we can be useful in certain subjects, such as the measurement of perception. Furthermore, it was fun and a nice afternoon to have this kind of talks."

This type of reaction also came from the participants of the meeting. When you think about the potential of 22,000 eyes and ears, being on the street for five days a week, with a dedicated smartphone app, then all kinds of ideas come up.

Other blogs of Rogier:

Having a good webcare team is not being a good government

Managing the public space using daily insights: the mailman collects data

How to evaluate Smart City innovation: Wildcard for roundtable on September 14th

Twenty-Seven Pink Potential Smart City Nodes in Amsterdam

Bpost uses cars to measure air quality - Bright future for postal organizations!

Santander City Council and Correos signed an agreement to promote initiatives "Smart City" and encourage innovation

Rogier Havelaar's picture #Citizens&Living
Rogier Havelaar, General Manager City Logistics at PostNL, posted

Having a good webcare team is not being a good government

Featured image

The newspaper Algemeen Dagblad stated that municipalities respond quick and adequate to citizens’ complaints on Twitter. It is no surprise that the number of social media interactions between citizens and the local government increases. However, social media is just one way to connect with a specific kind of citizen and responding on social media is not all the municipality has to do with respect to monitoring the public sphere.

The role of webcare teams is primarily that of a translator: he translates the citizens’ emotional complaint regarding garbage on the street into a well formulated work order in a computer system. Depending on the kind of work order, the maintenance team has a service level agreement to solve the problem within 24 hours or within several days. The social media team tweets back: “Oh yes that’s messy! I have announced in our system. My colleague from maintenance will go after is as soon as possible”. And following on the positive statement of Algemeen Dagblad, I assume that the standard terms to solve a problem are rightly chosen: the social media complaints are not solved faster than ‘regular’ complaints.

Despite the positive experiences, having a good webcare team does not equal being a good government for all inhabitants. Firstly because most social media posts should be perceived as a complaint instead of a dialogue. Second, because people posting complaints on social media represent a limited number of people. Third, because a municipality has an own responsibility in managing the public sphere. Let’s have a closer look at this three remarks to the so-called social media “beep system”.

Complaint rather than a dialogue

As a government you want to communicate in a two-way relation with citizens. However, too often a complaining citizen is confused with a citizen who wants to share his ideas. If the social media relationship between the municipality and the citizen is exclusively about complaints and not on ideas then we miss opportunities to improve. Thus: a social media team should not only translate the complaint into a work order, but should also start the dialogue on continues improvement opportunities. A good example of this approach is the “gardener initiative” of the municipality of Sittard. The dialogue on this Facebook site is moved from demanding for and delivering of solutions to sharing ideas.

Who is complaining

My second remark to the “beep system” is that the type of citizen posting messages is limited. In general, they are citizens who speak up to the government. However, many people (especially from lower social classes) do not. Managing the public sphere at the basis of “beeps” from citizens result in very clean streets in neighborhoods with many posting citizens (mostly higher social classes), and dirty streets in neighborhoods where people do not complain. As an alternative, municipalities should develop tools to measure the quality of neighborhoods. In the one neighborhood the ‘beep system’ is sufficient, in the other it is definitely not.

Own responsibility

Finally, the municipality has an own responsibility which cannot be handed over to citizens. Too often, cost reduction is implemented under the title “enforcing citizen participation”. That citizen participation leads to cost saving does not proof that cost saving is also leading to citizen participation. The challenging task for every municipality is to build a system wherein social media interaction, citizen participation, professional inspection and cost saving go hand-in-hand. Initiatives as the gardener of Sittard are inspiring examples of building this new ecosystems wherein every participant can play its own role.

Check the article in Algemeen Dagblad: http://www.ad.nl/den-haag/steeds-meer-klachten-via-twitter-over-troep-op-straat~a39bb570/

Check the gardener of Sittard on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tuinmansittardgeleen/

Rogier Havelaar's picture #Citizens&Living