10.5 A Bounty of Benefits
After a little more than a year of development and testing, IDP's Web-enabled hybrid mail system is up and running, and will eventually handle multiple channel delivery protocols, such as SMS, WAP, HTML, XML, and PDF. Several postal operators have already licensed WEB ePOST. "The driving principle behind all our development efforts is interoperability," explains Johnsen. "And it has paid off."
J2EE technology gives IDP flexibility and ease of use. The company expects that licensees will market the solution for direct marketing, business-to-business communications, and other needs. And IDP envisions selling its solution to other ASPs for even greater penetration into corporations, while growing sales revenues outside its core base of postal operators.
"Since WEB ePOST is an Internet application, it can be used in a variety of environments, not just within the postal industry," Donohoe says. "We are on our way to fulfilling our vision of really being an end-to-end electronic messaging systems company."
IDP also wants to leverage the Java applet in WEB ePOST by reusing and customizing an appearance for different service offerings on the Internet. For example, an oil company could conceivably place privately labeled kiosks using IDP's Java applet in its gas stations to offer simple messaging. Vacationing travelers, while pumping gas, could send a quick letter, postcard, or if a digital camera is mounted near the kiosk, even a self-portrait to multiple family members~delivered either electronically or as a paper document. In fact, with the reusability inherent in J2EE technology, IDP anticipates that it can reduce development cycles for future J2EE technology-based applications significantlyso it can get a head start in meeting the needs of a wide range of industries.
At any rate, a postal operator can play the role of message manager, taking these documents and other communications and delivering them using IDP's back-end infrastructure. In turn, this will further solidify the place and importance of postal operators in today's new economy. "An oil company may want this kiosk to be branded with its own brand, which we can easily do with Java technology," explains Donohoe. "But in the back end, there is a postal connection."
Kiosks are not the only interface; IDP engineers are looking at wireless implementations, too. Many J2EE technologybased application servers also support wireless communication forms. All of which has IDP excited. "We could use a lot of our existing components for that application," says Olsen. "Because of this, coupled with the knowledge transfer we received from Sun Professional Services, future development could proceed more quickly."
The hope is that an international business traveler sitting in an airport will be able to make a wireless connection to the Internet and send a hybrid letter to anyone in the world using his or her laptop computer or personal digital assistant. "Our vision includes both wired and wireless connectivity, bringing greater efficiency to the way people do business," explains Donohoe. "And the flexibility of J2EE technology is key to evolving WEB ePOST to meet ever-changing needs of consumers and businesses."
Figure 10.3 The WEB ePOST Value Chain, from Postal Providers to End Users