The chip is in the mail

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) - the UN arm that coordinates international postal services - has kicked off a project to use RFID chips to track the speed of international mail deliveries.

The UPU began a test phase of the project in 21 countries in August using tag processing systems from Reva Systems. The objective: improve the UPU's ability to monitor the speed of postal deliveries of letters (which in turn determines how much countries can charge each other for delivering international mail).

According to sister website Search SMB Asia, the system uses inexpensive Gen2 RFID tags hidden inside envelopes that will be read automatically as they pass through RFID portals at the international gateway offices. Reva servers will collect the unique tracking number of each tagged letter as it goes through, so that the data can be crunched later into delivery reports.

India and South Korea are among the countries participating in the 21-country trial. The UPU wants to extend the system to 100 countries by 2012.

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