Catina Aghayan, Qatar Post Quality & Development Consultant
"RFID is a hot topic at the moment for the entire postal community around the globe. Postal companies are either improving existing RFID technology or implementing RFID technology for the first time. This will make us one global, connected network, providing accurate and fast delivery of mail wherever you are, whoever you are and whatever you do."
Catina Aghayan, Qatar Post
In what ways is Qatar Post using RFID?
Qatar Post under the aegis of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) launched a pilot project to test various RFID technologies in live postal services in the Gulf region and on behalf of the 22 Arab countries with the ultimate goal of improving postal services for consumers. It involves a pioneering pilot project conducted over three months in 2008 within the Triangle Matrix: Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The main goal of the pilot was to find out if all various types of RFID technologies could help us measure efficiently and cost effectively our national and international networks. We found that various RFID technologies - passive, semi-active and active - can be a very effective way for improving delivery standards through monitoring and tracing mail flow in the network closely. The Pilot Project, Triangle Matrix, the first of its kind, has been adopted as part of the UPU`s Global Monitoring System, a worldwide project for the postal community.
What is the next step regarding RFID for Qatar Post?
By mid 2009, we will start to track test letters regularly with RFID as part of the GMS Pilot Project. Qatar is one of the first countries to start with this global project, thereby defining delivery standards for national and international bulk mail. This reliable data will be used to help us improve our quality of service for our local, regional and global customers. We will be able to identify accurately gaps in the mail path network, measure, analyse, monitor and consequently resolve those gaps and avoid occurrence in the future.
We believe that the use of RFID will definitely help us meet our local and international standards and of course lower costs and assure reliable accurate systems.
What are the main benefits of your project for public consumers?
We are using RFID to improve delivery accuracy, decrease the number of mis-sorted and lost letters and speed up delivery. In addition, as decided at the 24th Universal Postal Congress held in Geneva in 2008, all postal administrations worldwide will start remunerating each other based on Quality of Service.
Q-Post, as we are often called, is the designated postal operator of Qatar and a member of the UPU together with 190 other countries worldwide. We have various challenges in the local, regional and global market. We understand that in order to improve and keep our customers connected and happy, wherever they are, the global postal network needs to improve. We are using RFID to measure our levels of service so that we can improve them. We achieved D+4 (4 working days) during our latest pilot test in the Gulf in 2008 and we are committed to bring it down to D+3 with the help of RFID.
Are consumers in Qatar worried about privacy? Why or why not?
Q-Post is not tracing the contents of mail, we are tracing actual mail items. We are gathering information only for the purposes of speeding up and improving delivery. The information will give us further network transparency and consequently our customers will feel more confident about their mail being secured, protected, and delivered the way they want it, at the right time to the right place.
Do you believe that someday RFID-tagged mail will be tracked by multiple postal companies around the world?
RFID is a hot topic at the moment for the entire postal community around the globe. Postal companies are either improving existing RFID technology or implementing RFID technology for the first time. This will make us one global, connected network, providing accurate and fast delivery of mail wherever you are, whoever you are and whatever you do.
Catina Aghayan is currently the consultant for Qatar Post Quality & Development. Qatar Post – the Pioneer of Quality in the Region, initiated the RFID Triangle Pilot Project overseen by the Universal Postal Union, a U.N. agency for postal cooperation and development with a focus on quality of service. Qatar will also host the 25th UPU Congress in Doha in 2012. In addition, Q-Post is a member of the Quality GMS Group represented by Ms. Aghayan.