SINGAPORE - Some residents in Punggol will be able to enjoy more convenience when retrieving their mail, with a smart letterbox system at one Housing Board block from next Friday (July 23).
The system, also known as PostPal, will allow residents of Block 226B Sumang Lane to be notified of mail delivery through a mobile application.
They will also be able check the number of items pending collection, and authorise others to collect mail on their behalf.
The 96 households in the block will be the second group to trial the system, which was developed by SingPost and PBA Group, a robotics and automation firm based in Singapore.
Said Ms Sun Xueling, MP for Punggol West and Minister of State for Education and Social and Family Development: "As one of the youngest and most technologically savvy constituencies in Singapore, our residents frequently shop online and PostPal will be a tremendous asset to them, especially during this time when many are still working from home."
The extension of the trial to Punggol comes after PostPal's success with two blocks in Clementi, where a one-year pilot started last December. More than 80 per cent of households there have signed up, and 20,000 mail items have been delivered through the system.
Some retrofits have been made to the PostPal kiosk after feedback from Clementi residents. The panel that residents had to push down to retrieve their mail has now been replaced with a flap door, making it easier to reach into the machine.
The reader on the machine has also been enhanced to more easily detect QR codes on the residents' smartphones. Residents use these codes to access their mail, by scanning the code against the reader on the machine.
On Friday (July 16), technicians were seen doing onsite testing for the PostPal kiosk at the void deck of Block 226B, and fliers were delivered to the letterboxes of residents for them to register for the system.
The head of SingPost’s domestic post and parcel business, Ms Neo Su Yin, said she believes the adoption rate in Punggol, with its younger demographic, would be higher than in Clementi.
The smart letterboxes will also help SingPost become more productive.
Ms Neo said: "It is also more and more difficult to hire postmen, so we want to see how do we then adjust the productivity gains we can get. One postman can cover a much larger area because the kiosk actually takes on a lot of the work that the postman was previously doing."
PostPal has an autosort function, which means the postman will only need to load all the mail into the machine, instead of having to individually slot items into each letterbox.
She added that SingPost, together with the Infocomm Media Development Authority, will also look at factors such as the demographics and density of the area before deciding if the smart letterboxes should be rolled out to more estates.