LAS VEGAS — One of these things is not like the other.
Nestled among drones, audio equipment, and robots on the CES show floor is an organization you wouldn’t expect to find.
Yet, there it was in signature red and blue: a large booth dedicated entirely to showcasing the U.S. Postal Service.
“Innovative,” isn’t the first word that comes to mind when most people think about the USPS, but the organization was determined to leave its mark on the massive electronics expo nevertheless.
The mail carrier was there to show off its new Precious Cargo Box, a funny-looking upgrade to the standard package with polyurethane blobs designed specifically to protect electronics.
The box comes in three sizes, designed to house a smartphone, laptop, or tablet. USPS also demoed some future innovations including a talking blue collection mailbox that can provide info about nearby locations, weigh packages, and more. That technology isn’t going to hit the streets anytime soon, though, according to PR rep Darleen Reid.
USPS members were giving away drones at their booth but Reid told us not to read too much into it.
“Delivery by drone is really not something we’re considering right now,” she said.
Amazon, meanwhile, is investing heavily in Prime Air, a program that uses drones and Amazon-branded airplanes to make deliveries. The company still uses USPS and other delivery services heavily, but Prime Air suggests Amazon would like to own more of its package distribution network.
“We welcome the competition,” said Reid. “Amazon gives a lot of business and we work with them very closely, so the better Amazon does basically the better we do … we go to every single house in the nation six days a week and in some cases seven days a week and there’s no way that they could build that kind of infrastructure in a short amount of time. Why not use us?”