E-postage, Address and Presort Software Head up Product News at Postal Forum

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SAN ANTONIO -- Despite the USPS budget woes, it was business as usual at the Spring '99 Postal Forum here, where a variety of vendors -- from presort service bureaus to software vendors to postage stamp companies -- highlighted their wares and offered new versions of their products and several important announcements. Highlights included:

* Group I Software, Lanham, MD, announced that its flagship presort software program, MailStream Plus, is Presort Accuracy and Validation (PAVE)-certified by the USPS to support Package Reallocations, commonly referred to as Reverse Presort.

Reverse Presort is a new optional presort preparation method recommended by the USPS that allows for new pallet combinations and better mail delivery. For example, specific Standard A Mail pallets can be combined with Bulk Mail Center Pallets and Mixed BMC pallets, allowing mailers to deliver more pallets directly to Sectional Center Facilities, which are better equipped to handle packaged mail. In addition, Reverse Presort is expected to result in an even distribution of palletized mail across the USPS distribution network, thereby enhancing service and delivery. The new rules go into effect on July 29.

* Pitney Bowes Software Systems, Lisle, IL, announced that its new address quality software -- Finalist -- is Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS)-certified by the USPS for the 1999-2000 postal cycle, which is effective Aug. 1. The news comes despite the fact that the USPS has granted a 12-month extension to mailers who have Year 2000 project commitments and cannot implement new CASS-certified software until next year.

* Envelope Manager Software, Palo Alto, CA , announced the release of AlpahMailer, its newest product for mail preparation, which expands Envelope Manager's First Class and bulk mail presort capabilities to include support for extended, customizable databases, periodical mailings and e-mail. The company also announced the release of Turbo Dial-A-ZIP, a service that allows customers to connect directly to the USPS' national address database via the Internet and verify all addresses in the mailing list, free of charge and at speeds comparable to CD-ROMs.

* Stamps.com, Santa Monica, CA, and E-Stamp Corp., San Mateo, CA, electronic postage vendors, announced they have completed their 500 customer phase of beta testing and have received approval from the USPS to begin the third and final phase of market testing for their electronic postage systems.

Under the rules of the USPS multi-vendor Information Based Indicia Program, the companies will increase their user base by 1,000 additional small and home offices across the testing area, including the Washington area and the entire state of California.

After this third phase, these systems can be sold to customers in the United States.

"The U.S. Postal Service is preparing for the national launch of its Information Based Indicia Program and is looking forward to bringing postage to people's homes and businesses through PC postage solutions such as E-Stamp and Stamps.com," said Roy Gordon, USPS program director of IBIP.

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