As the need for the United States Postal Service decreases, management and lawmakers are trying to find ways to cut costs and stay relevant. Recently, the Office of the Inspector General suggested that the USPS could benefit from the use of augmented reality glasses. Not only would it make the Postal Service more efficient, but it could also save them millions of dollars every year.
“AR has the potential to improve the Postal Service’s mail processing, equipment maintenance, and delivery operations, as well as enhance the customer experience,” says the inspector general. “It is worth exploring.”
The inspector general’s report lists many possible ways that Postal Service workers and customers could use AR glasses. For instance, AR glasses could assist mail truck drivers with directions on their route. They could also make loading and unloading the mail truck more efficient. The inspector general suggests implementing a facial recognition program as well to guarantee that mailmen are delivering to the right recipients.
Augmented reality technology is a costly investment (the inspector general estimates $400 for basic models and $1500 for more advanced ones). However, it could save the Postal Service more than enough money to make up for it — an estimated $39 million.
USPS has experimented with augmented reality technology since 2012, but only for marketing purposes. Most recently, the Postal Service created augmented reality content for their app during the 2014 holiday season. Also, United States isn’t the first country to use augmented reality for their mailing services. The United Kingdom and Sweden, as well as others, have AR programs in place already.