Tag Archives: BEB

USPS Robotic Arm Patent Approved

In August, the USPS was granted a patent for a sorting robot intended to work inside a delivery truck’s freight bay while making deliveries.

The robot will grasp items and move them between storage bins, grouping mail and packages together to be delivered to the same address and shrink wrapping them.

It is suggested that the robotic arm would be able to pass items through a window from the freight bay into the cab of a delivery vehicle to the driver for delivery, and one or more robotic arms could be used in a single vehicle.

The robot outlined in the patent is not complicated. The arm would have some dexterity, commonly seen in today’s manufacturing environment already, but it could replace some of the work generally performed by humans. Most mail and parcels come to a local post office presorted by zip code but must be further grouped by route and address from there. Performing the final phase of this sorting while driving to the delivery point, could cut down on delivery time and labor.

Just because a patent is granted does not mean a technology will ever see the light of day. However, labor has been a source of financial strain for the USPS, so technological solutions are being considered with more weight than in previous times.

The patent states that current methods of delivery are expensive, at least in part due to labor costs. Methods and systems to reduce the human workload along a delivery route are needed to reduce the cost.

Where is Houston Informed Delivery?

If you’re part of the estimated 800K+ subscribers to the USPS Informed Delivery program in the Houston metropolitan area, or a marketer utilizing it from other parts of the country, you’re probably wondering where it went?!  It’s another casualty of Tropical Storm Imelda, but don’t worry – it will soon be back on track.

The USPS is working on linking the subscribers from the Houston area market to the seven facilities outside of the area that are processing mail since last week after the North Houston facility roof caved in during the storm. (For details on the contingency plan and where your mail is being processed, click here.) We anticipate the uploading of subscribers to be completed by the end of this week.

As soon as the subscribers are linked and Informed Delivery for Houston is fully operational, we’ll be sure to let you know.

Tag 57, Where Are You?

WHAT IS TAG 57?
Tag 57, Political Campaign Mailing is a red container tag designed to provide added visibility to
Political Mail from Postal acceptance to processing operations. It can be placed on trays, sacks,
and pallets.
WHAT IS POLITICAL MAIL?
Political Campaign Mail is any material mailed at First-Class Mail or USPS Marketing Mail prices for political campaign purposes by a registered political candidate, a campaign committee (federal, state, or local), or a committee of a political party (e.g., Democratic National Committee or Republican Congressional Campaign Committee) to promote political candidates, referendums, or political campaigns. Political Message Mail is any material mailed at First-Class Mail or USPS Marketing Mail prices by a PAC, Super PAC, or other organization engaging in issue advocacy or voter mobilization. Political Mail may be sent for any public election—partisan or nonpartisan—for which there is a ballot.
WHAT KIND OF MAILINGS CAN USE TAG 57?
Both Political Campaign Mail and Political Message Mail described above can use Tag 57.
In addition to mailings sent by PACs (Political Action Committee) or Super PACs, etc., lesser known types of Political Message Mail also qualify for Tag 57 use. Here are some examples:

  • An organization mails a monthly newsletter with 10 articles in it. If one article references a
    political topic, the mailing qualifies to have a Tag 57 attached.
  • A hardware store mails a monthly advertisement of hardware specials. The current
    advertisement includes a note that “We support Mary Hill for County Commissioner.”
  •  A grocery store places a note on its flier that says “Vote on November 4th.”

HOW WOULD I USE TAG 57 FOR MY MAILINGS?

  • Affix a Tag 57 to each tray, sack, and pallet of political mail when packaging it for delivery
    to your postal facility.
  • When completing Postage Statement Form 3602 (electronically through Postal Wizard®
    or via hard copy), be sure to mark “Yes” when asked if your mail is Political Mail.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

  • Your mailings will be more easily identifiable.
  • Accepted mailings will be segregated from other mail in the Business Mail Entry Unit.
  •  The tags will provide added visibility as your mail enters the Postal Service™ processing centers.

January 1, 2020 – CCPA

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will be enforced on January 1, 2020. We were nervous when the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) came into play, and that only governs the use of E.U. citizens’ data. The California law applies to personal data on any state resident, regardless of the location of the marketer. Many believe this is only the first of many states to follow.

Companies that are not compliant with CCPA are subject to hefty monetary penalties though a recent study of US Brands reflected that 56% of businesses surveyed don’t believe they will be compliant by the January 1 kick-off.

In the survey, many businesses sited the cost to become compliant as a major obstacle and equal to the price of a full-time employee. Some companies feel their business isn’t big enough to be subject to the law, or don’t think it applies to them.

To comply with CCPA, marketers must be able to respond to Californians’ requests about their personal data which include:
• Knowing what personal data is being collected
• Can request details on how their data is being processed
• Can access their personal data
• Can request to have their personal data deleted
• Know whether their personal data is sold or disclosed to third parties
• Decline or opt-out of the sale of their personal data

Many believe that the CCPA is complicated, and it is poorly written, leaving a lot of the verbiage open to interpretation.

The main goal of the law is to regulate the collection and sale of Personally Identifiable (PI) consumer data to third parties and service providers. You do not need to get paid for the data. If you disclose it to another party, it is considered a transaction. Using outside vendors to help manage your data is not a problem, because you are the controlling party.

Now, individuals can tell you to stop disclosing their data to others; and you must comply. One cannot deny goods or services to anyone because of their data opt-out and that is making for a slippery slope. In order to know you are not supposed to have data on an individual, you must have that individual in your database. And since it is likely you must have data on an individual in order to do business with him or her, how do you conduct business with data exceptions? One writer compared it to The Eagles Hotel California tune, “you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”

 

 

 

BEB at The National Postal Forum

We are so excited that our very own Joy Z was invited to speak at this year’s National Postal Forum (NPF) Learning Lab, hosted by industry giant, Mailers Hub.

The NPF  is the mailing and shipping industry’s premier educational venue, trade show and networking event. Held every spring, the four-day NPF is the only event that works directly with USPS managers to provide the most comprehensive educational and networking platform possible for meeting the needs of the industry and postal customers.

The NPF is a not-for-profit educational company, established in 1968 by a group of major postal customers/mailers who were committed to an ongoing partnership with the USPS. The Forum’s goal has always been to provide education to business mailers, along with communication and feedback between the USPS and its business customers for a more responsive and efficient mail communications system.

Click Here  to review the presentation.

 

Machines That Read Your Mind

In the 1980’s, the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) made the human brain visible in ways never seen before. Doctors were able to see brain structure and the soft brain tissue of a living object. This type of detail was only seen previously during autopsies.

During the 90’s, the fMRI (functional MRI) came into its own. The fMRI detects blood flow revealing brain activity which makes it possible to identify which parts of the brain react to scent, visual recognition or even sound.

The fMRI is in transition once again. Though still in development, the fMRI will soon allow scientists to track the condition of our mind with more precision. As researchers analyze the vast amount of data generated by brain scans coupled with the latest computational techniques including Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, scientists are beginning to resolve how our physical brains form our mind.

The research may have a significant impact on marketing, police work and computer interfacing and may even allow the preservation of memories even after an individual has passed.

Some mental functions activate several parts of the brain at the same time. The fMRI can detect that activation and machine learning deciphers patterns into specific descriptions that include what a subject is thinking or doing. In an article published in the WSJ by Jerry Kapalan, Kaplan said’ “It’s like going from identifying individual letters to reading words and sentences.” That’s big!

Studies show that people’s brains organize and process the same information in similar ways. Collaborators in a 2011 study were able to correctly identify which of eight mental tasks a subject was performing 80% of the time, based solely on looking at their brain scans.

The evolution of brain reading continues with Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS). This emerging functional neuroimaging technology offers a relatively non-invasive, safe, and low-cost method of monitoring brain activity. fNIRS is the measurement of near infrared (NIR) light that takes advantage of the optical window in which skin, tissue, and bone are mostly transparent while blood flow is a stronger absorber of light allowing for a more in depth reading of brain functionality.

The ability to decipher this type of technology raises questions about the privacy of our thoughts. It may lead to a world where our mind is subject to a search warrant or become a matter of public record leaving the ever pressing question of who should have access to those thoughts, and how they should be used.

Computer Education

Global spending on Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to reach $35.8 billion this year. That’s up 44% from last year. It’s expected to double to over $79.2 billion by 2022.

Below are some terms that will help you to better understand this exploding and learned  technology.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) –A subfield of computer science, information engineering, and AI focused on interactions between computers and human language.  When text or speech is input and it can be read or extract meaning.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)- Sometimes called machine intelligence, AI is intelligence demonstrated by machines. These machines mimic “cognitive” functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as “learning” and “problem solving”.

Deep Learning -Sometimes referred to as deep structured learning or hierarchical learning, it is part of a broader family of machine learning methods based on artificial neural networks.

This powerful statistical technique is used for classifying patterns using large data sets and ANNs (Artificial Neural Networks). Deep learning neural networks have been applied to fields including natural language processing, social network filtering, drug design, medical image analysis, and game programs. They have produced results comparable to and in some cases superior to human experts.

Machine learning (ML) -The scientific study of algorithms and statistical models that computer systems use to effectively perform a specific task without using explicit instructions, relying on patterns and inference instead. Machine learning algorithms build a mathematical model based on sample data, known as “training data”, in order to make predictions or decisions without being explicitly programmed to perform the task. Machine learning is closely related to computational statistics, which focuses on making predictions using computers. The study of mathematical optimization delivers methods, theory and application domains to the field of machine learning. Data mining is a field of study within machine learning, and focuses on exploratory data analysis through unsupervised learning. In its application across business problems, machine learning is also referred to as predictive analytics.

 

 

BEB Wins Hermes Creative Award

We are so excited to share the news that BEB has been awarded a 2019 Hermes Creative Award. The Hermes is an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional and emerging media. Hermes recognizes outstanding work in the industry while promoting the philanthropic nature of marketing and communication professionals.

This year there were over 6,000 entries from throughout the United States, Canada and
dozens of other countries. Entries came from corporporate marketing and communication departments, advertising agencies, PR firms, design shops, production companies and freelancers.

The Hermes competition is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and
Communication Professionals (www.amcpros.com). The international organization consists of
several thousand marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, media production and free-lance professionals.

As part of its mission, AMCP fosters and supports the efforts of creative professionals who
contribute their unique talents to public service and charitable organizations. Hermes entrants are not charged entry fees to enter work they produced pro bona. In addition, the efforts of generous marketing and communication professionals are acknowledged through grants and special recognition.

Judges are industry professionals who look for companies and individuals whose talent
exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.
Winners were selected from categories grouped under advertising, publications,
marketing/branding, integrated marketing, public relations/communications, electronic media
and pro bona.

This marks our third award for the work done on a project so near and dear to all of the BEB family; The Run for Rama.

Informed Address Where There’s No Address At All!

The Postal Service has put an emphasis on enhancing the customer experience by evolving the marketing in the digital world. The USPS is now piloting a new technology platform called Informed Address (IA).

The concept will enable mail to be sent and delivered without a physical address. Instead, Informed Address allows recipients to use identifiers that include email, social media handles, or a custom name for mail processing and delivery functions.

Informed Address will replace the delivery point with a unique code where the usual IMB (Intelligent Mail Barcode) is substituted with an “Informed Address IMB”, which contains the physical address information. This allows customers the enhanced privacy and identity protection, as marketers will no longer need to obtain or hold a physical address for their mail communications.

During the testing period, the USPS will assess consumer engagement, gauge mailer interest, and determine technical feasibility. This new technology provides the opportunity for marketers to provide additional services, including vanity address development and enhanced targeting for B2B and B2C marketing.

The Urban FF Center

What is larger than 14 football fields, has twice as many robots as human workers, and handles 50% more inventory than traditional warehouses? – Amazon’s first New York City distribution center.

Located in Staten Island, this urban fulfillment center can package more than one million items a day during its busiest period even though the site is 20% smaller than a typical Amazon fulfillment center.

In urban settings, space must be used with military precision combined with automation that allows for building up rather than spreading out. Computerized pickers that are approximately the size of a robotic vacuum, pick up inventory that is stored on shelves and then deliver the items to a human associate at a workstation. This limits the number of steps an individual has to take and allows storage of more goods in a robot-only section of the fulfillment center.

Smaller warehouse and fulfillment sites is a good example of how online sales are reshaping logistics in the US.