Since it’s official public introduction in 1635 (by Charles I for those of you interested) the Royal Mail has been the forefront of ‘intra’ and ‘inter’ national communication here in the UK. However, with the rise of the telephone and email its popularity has pretty much collapsed, but this week in an attempt to rekindle some interest in the possible dying company they have released the world’s first ‘intelligent stamps’.
Actually this is really a little bit of false advertising: there is nothing intelligent about the stamps at all (unless you include the intricate printing method, but that’s nothing new) rather the software that can be downloaded onto smartphones that allows you to access additional content using the phone’s camera.
Firstly one has to download the Junaio software from either iTunes for the iPhone, or Android Market for mobile phones such as the HTC Desire and then point the phones camera at the special stamps which will start up the image recognition software and launch up the additional content relevant to the image on the stamp.
Somewhat ironically the first subject of these stamps is another dying breed the steam train with the stamps celebrating the 50th anniversary of British Rail’s last steam train: the 9F Class “Evening Star”… yet again stamp collectors and trainspotters united, the excitement!
The interesting part of this is of course the content from the image recognition software and in this case we are treated to a video of W H Auden’s “The Night Mail” poem which was written for an identically named documentary film released back in 1936 about the London to Glasgow mail train,Â and is read by comedic actor Bernard Cribbins due to his part in the remake of “The Railway Children”.
“Intelligent stamps mark the next step in the evolution of our stamps, bringing them firmly into the 21st century,” said a Royal Mail Stamps spokesperson. “Royal Mail’s special stamps [will] mark key events and anniversaries in the UK’s heritage, through a programme which aims to be both educational and informative.”
Now I am aware that that will probably appeal to a very small number of people, but the idea of these intelligent stamps is one that could prove to be a bit of gold for Royal Mail; whilst at the moment they are little more than good collectors’ items, a nice novelty and fun for children they pave the way for a whole new thinking with regards to stamps.
I’m sure that in a few years it would be possible to have stamps from certain areas showing small videos of the highlights of the areas, or amusing videos or simply a nice message… or maybe slightly further in the future still we could be seeing personalised stamps which you can record at home and send to friends, much like a video message but in a solid form, something that would make collecting and saving your stamps even more worthwhile.
In fact it may even bring a new field to the world of junk mail, and could we see companies putting time and money into special stamps to get people to look at them and thus reap the rewards from a more successful marketing scheme? We’ll see, but the possibilities are most certainly there, and hopefully this is only the start! What direction would you like to see this postage stamp technology go in?
Via — IT Pro