Royal Mail adds scan codes to stamps offering digital extras | royal mail
Royal Mail is adding special encoding to stamps, allowing people to watch videos, messages and other information.
Tuesday’s move follows a successful trial, with the aim of connecting a letter to the digital world.
Customers can scan the barcodes – which take the form of a two-dimensional QR code – into the Royal Mail app and may be able to watch videos, service information or birthday messages and other greetings from senders.
At this time, a video featuring Shaun the Sheep, created exclusively for Royal Mail by animation studio Aardman, can be viewed.
This is the first in a series of videos planned to be released in 2022 that will allow customers sending stamped mail to choose which one the recipient can see when they receive mail.
Coded stamps will have a ‘digital twin’ and the two will be connected by the Royal Mail app. QR codes (Quick Response Codes) can be machine read laterally or vertically and store more information than the conventional one-way barcode.
The codes correspond to the color of the stamp and are found along the main body of the stamp, separated by a simulated perforation line.
The QR code will be available on ‘definitive’ stamps – ordinary everyday stamps featuring the Queen’s profile. Definitive and Christmas uncoded stamps will remain valid until January 2023.
Nick Landon, Commercial Director of Royal Mail, said: “Introducing unique barcodes to our postage stamps allows us to connect the physical letter to the digital world and opens up the possibilities for a range of innovative new services to the ‘to come up.”