United Parcel Service, Atlanta, formed an alliance yesterday with Air2Web, a wireless application service provider, to offer domestic UPS customers two-way, interactive access to UPS services from wireless devices.
Since spring 1999, UPS customers have been able to track packages and find the nearest UPS drop-off location using Palm VII organizers. Along with the tracking and drop-off locator information, UPS customers will be able to calculate rates and find transit times for shipments through any digital wireless device in the United States starting in September. The service will be available to global UPS customers during the first quarter of 2001.
Marty Richter, a UPS spokesman, said direct marketers and e-tailers could use the system while they are on the road to ensure that their packages have been sent to their customers. He also said e-commerce customers could track their packages while they are on the road.
UPS said Atlanta-based Air2Web's platform is compatible across all types of wireless devices and networks, from phones to personal digital assistants to pagers.
UPS also said wireless phones and other mobile digital devices are replacing PCs as the preferred mode of Internet access.
The proportion of individuals among the U.S. Internet population who use cell phones for wireless data applications is expected to rise in the next 12 months to an estimated 78 percent from 3 percent, according to the e-business unit of Cap Gemini, an international information technology consulting company.
“UPS is committed to providing its customers with valuable shipping information where and when they need it to compete in today's digital economy,” said Robert Conner, UPS' director of interactive marketing. “Air2Web's … wireless technology ensures that our shipping services are easily accessible to the growing number of consumers who rely on their wireless devices for business transactions.”
Consumers can access UPS shipping information at www.ups.com by entering their phone number and identifying their wireless device.