Creative thinking on the Postal Service's financial problems

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Two things that the PostalVision 2020 conference is not lacking are industry soul searching and out-of-the-box thinking.

During an afternoon session at the June 15 event, Google VP and Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf suggested a range of possible services for the financially struggling US Postal Service. He noted, however, that a steady revenue stream from any of the suggested services is far from certain.

One advantage – or disadvantage, depending on who you're talking to – is the Postal Service's universal service requirement, meaning that it must deliver mail to the most difficult points to reach in the nation.

“I can imagine an analyst looking at this and saying, ‘You've got to be kidding,'” said Cerf, adding that it presents the organization an “amazing challenge.”

However, the USPS' reach could come in handy if it decides to launch a third-party verification service. The Postal Service could also start a “legal email service” that would carry the same weight as physically serving another person with legally binding documents, Cerf added.

“I would not mind receiving a lot of my legal notices in my email,” he said.

On a related note, Cerf also said the USPS could launch a third-party service that would verify the identities of an email's sender and receiver.

“However, that doesn't mean that you would have to process 3 billion emails a day,” he added.

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