EghtesadOnline: Iran Post Company, the state-owned corporation responsible for providing postal services in the country, has launched five tech centers to upgrade its services with the help of the local knowledge-based community.
According to the company’s CEO, Ramezanali Sobhanifar, the tech centers were inaugurated in the capital city of Tehran, Khorasan Razavi, Golestan, Yazd and Isfahan Provinces, via videoconference on Tuesday, ISNA reported.
He stated that the centers were established and funded in collaboration with the Vice President's Office of Science and Technology.
Sobhanifar noted that the centers will focus on three areas: smart products, innovation in post-logistic processes and digital economy, with the goal of addressing the sector's technological shortfalls on multiple fronts.
“Smart data input into the company's database, smart parcel tracking via the company's website, troubleshooting the website, upgrading its services and using more ecofriendly ideas in packaging and parcel transfer are among topics on which startups are encouraged to work,” he said.
"Because the centers are preferentially product-oriented, we invite enthusiastic tech teams and startups to join and introduce their related ideas and products. If we want a modern, high-speed and innovative postal system, the adoption of smart technologies should be considered."
Sobhanifar stated that information and communications technologies’ infrastructures for transforming postal services into a smart sector have been expanded by 50% over the last few years.
Mohammad Reza Qaderi, a board member of Iran Post Company, also spoke at the inaugural event and stated that the company has taken significant steps in accordance with decentralization policies.
"During the previous Iranian year [ended March 2021], the company signed 74 collaboration agreements with science and technology parks across the country and outsourced a portion of ICT and tech development operations," he added, stressing that now is the right time to broaden Iran Post Company's horizons in the technology ecosystem.
According to Shahriar Zeini, the head of the vice presidential office's Space Technologies Development Center, the outbreak of Covid-19 since February 2020 has increased the general public's preference for online shopping, wherein postal services play a key role.
"Upgrading and adjusting postal services to meet increasing demand is essential, because the public's demand for postal services is unlikely to decrease in post-Covid times," he added.
Zeini noted that in addition to incorporating cutting-edge technology into the postal infrastructure, the company intends to use electric motorcycles and drones for high-speed, environmentally friendly deliveries.
Post Bank of Iran
In similar efforts to develop Iran’s postal services, especially in less developed areas, the Post Bank of Iran signed an agreement with several state entities in late August to promote the indigenization of technologies with the help of the growing tech ecosystem.
Behzad Shiri, the head of PBI, signed a deal with senior officials from the Vice Presidential Office for Science and Technology, its subsidiary Iran National Innovation Fund, Iran Telecommunications Company and Iran Telecommunications Organization, affiliated with the ICT Ministry.
Based on the deal, all the engaged entities are committed to help PBI boost the speed and cost efficiency of services, upgrade online databases, optimize its systems’ maintenance and curb its reliance on foreign partners.
“This is a five-year contract, based on which, ITC and ITO agreed to fulfill the Post Bank’s communication requirements. The vice presidential office will introduce ICT startups and tech teams with smart solutions for upgrading the PBI services,” Shiri said.
According to the official, PBI has established over 6,000 rural branches and is making efforts to further expand its services in collaboration with state and private tech units.
“PBI centers in villages offer services to over 2.7 million customers. The injection of new technologies into the field can save time and energy both for the staff and customers,” he said.
Last year, former ICT minister, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, urged Post Bank of Iran’s managers to put greater focus on promoting smart services and digital economy by involving fintechs and startups.
Jahromi said PBI is expected to further strengthen the role of ICT and incorporate smart mechanisms in its operations.
He emphasized that PBI should accelerate its progress by giving more opportunities to tech units and knowledge-based companies for buttressing their electronic postal and banking operations.
“The share of tech-based firms in the domestic economy is increasing day by day. Institutions should get involved and use this as an opportunity," he said.