How far is it when the summer holidays lasted three months and we sent letters to each other with friends and lovers of the summer season! Technology has generated an important change in the way we communicate and now the WhatsApp and email they smoke daily. Today, October 9, the World Mail Day -date established by the Universal Postal Union – and the anniversary cannot be seen with the same eyes 135 years later after the evolution of the internet, social networks or mobile phones. All this makes us live in a more connected and above all immediate world.
Ordinary mail continues its life and many are requesting these days your vote this way for 10N. However, most of our personal and professional communications are currently carried out electronically.
“The world has changed a lot in the last 135 years due to digitization, and the evolution of mail is one of the best examples of this,” explained Miguel Ángel Barrio, Head of Entelgy Digital. “For example, communications are no longer done on paper and electronic commerce has created a new way of buying and sending products, which has created a new life in the mail and parcel business model. “They are two perfect samples of how users have changed their habits, which forces companies to adapt their business models and transform as quickly as possible.”
In this way, the Entelgy team, The BusinessTech Consultancy, reviews the main historical milestones, the impact of digitization in the communications sector and, more specifically, postal mail:
The origin of ordinary mail
The origin of the exchange of communications via paper dates back to ancient Egypt, but if we look at the most recent history of our country, the first data on the establishment of the mail correspond to the time of the Catholic Monarchs. Since then the mail has only increased its importance on a commercial level, personal and institutional being closely linked to the economy and history of Spain. In Spain, the Sociedad Estatal Correos y Telégrafos, commonly known as Correos, was founded in 1716.
The first email
The arrival of the ‘other’ email, the email, had its origin in 1971 when an engineer, Ray Tomlinson, was given the task of modify an operating system that the military used to send communications to be compatible with the rest. Not only did it succeed, but it brought with it a new symbol, the at (@). This was the origin that changed everything: today, more than 2,630 million emails are sent and received worldwide, making it one of the most widely used communication channels.
In 1988 Microsoft’s first commercial email software was released, Microsoft Mail. In that same year, half a million email accounts created worldwide were reached. Four years later the figure was already five million, in 1996 they were over 25 and in 1999 they were already 400. In 2007 there were 1 billion email addresses worldwide.
This exponential increase in the use of electronic mail supposed a cultural change on the part of the workers, in the first place, and of the final consumer. Communication became totally instantaneous through a computer and later through the smartphone.
The popularization of email
Email became popular with all users as the internet grew. Hotmail started operating in 1996 and in the first three months it already had 100,000 users. In 1997, the creators sold it to Microsoft and there it began its growth until becoming the most popular supplier. Only seven years later, the Google search engine launched its email service, Gmail, who at the end of 2018 had 1,500 million users worldwide; that is to say, one account for every five people. In this way, Gmail has become the most used email service worldwide since 2012.
The rise of instant messaging
The rise of instant messaging: the origin of instant messaging is found in the IRC technology (Internet Relay Chat), a real-time communication protocol born in 1988. However, it was not until 1999 when the program with which these systems would become popular was born: Microsoft’s MSN Messenger. With 330 million users per month, this system was losing popularity with the arrival of smartphones and disappeared in 2012, when other applications such as WhatsApp were already popular. In fact, Whatsapp was born in 2009, It was acquired by Facebook, and currently has more than 1,500 million users (in 2018 it had 1,300 million). At the business level, collaborative tools that go beyond messaging have also had a great impact. This is the case of Slack, an application that offers chat rooms organized by topic, as well as private groups and direct messages.
The second life of the postal service
Despite what it may seem, postal services are not experiencing their worst moment. Despite the fact that we communicate more and more electronically, the truth is that with the emergence of the internet and online stores, Spanish consumption habits have also evolved And what we used to look for in a store, now is sent by mail or courier. And it is that only in the last quarter of 2018, the turnover of electronic commerce reached more than 10 million euros and reached 40 million annually. Thus, currently they process and deliver each year around 368,000 million letters and 6,400 million packages. I mean, you can say that although digitization has affected and changed the original business model of postal mail, responsible for living a “new youth” and postal services are evolving and digitally transforming their business.