USPS, Motorola Reach Deal on Scanners

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The U.S. Postal Service signed a multi-year deal with a division of Motorola for a new generation of intelligent mail hand-held scanning devices, the agency said this week.


The scanners help the postal service provide customers with end-to-end visibility of mail from processing to delivery.


"Information about the mail is as valued as the mail itself," said Charlie Bravo, USPS senior vice president, intelligent mail and address quality.


Motorola U.S. Federal Government Markets Division, Columbia, MD, agreed to design, manufacture and support hand-held scanners that will support several USPS products and services. Hand-held scanners are used in every USPS facility nationwide.


The new Intelligent Mail Data Acquisition System scanners will provide a standard, integrated method of receiving data from all types of postal facilities and enable the distribution of data to different applications.


Though the devices may consist of several designs, their components will be consistent. They will be able to read both the four-state barcode and two-dimensional codes. The four-state barcode, under testing by the USPS, can hold nearly three times as much data as the POSTNET code the USPS now uses to sort and deliver mail. The 2-D code, used in PC Postage, can contain more data than a barcode in the same amount of space.


During the three-year contract, the USPS will acquire scanners by placing individual delivery orders as programs are approved by the Board of Governors. Estimated spending for the three years is $300 million.


Surface Visibility scanners were expected to be provided to the USPS by the end of July. The Surface Visibility program is part of the postal service's overall transportation visibility strategy. In this phase, systems will track several visibility points from container loading to the unloading of postal service and postal customer trailers.


The new scanners will be used to capture this data. Currently, 12,000 wireless scanners are planned. Future orders, pending approval from the USPS board, will include replacement of the current mobile data collection devices used for Delivery Confirmation and other services.


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