Connected Industries: The Digital Dilemma

Every traditional business may be impacted by digitalisation. Whether a company is directly or indirectly affected by the fourth industrial revolution, the sections What is IIoT – the Industrial Internet of Things? and IoT technology trends offer an introduction to the Industrial Internet of Things including numerous examples of how other companies have created value in this space.

Consider a Scandinavian market leading mailbox manufacturer that has experienced a dramatic decrease in their key market demand and is side-lined in the only segment with growth:


approximate decline in Denmark for traditional mail and letter distribution from 2000 to 2015


of the population has opted out of printed advertisements
– even the business itself is aware the paper ad media is dying


internet package world market cumulative annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2010 and 2014


The dilemma is that the distribution of courier parcels has increased due to booming internet purchases with the additional service of returning unwanted goods, while The Danish Post suffers, with companies like GLS and UPS having captured the increasing demand for deliveries. How does the mailbox manufacturer tap into the digital potential?

Deutsche Post has joined forces with DHL to escape a similar death spiral and have thus created growth from the booming parcel deliveries.

The mailbox manufacturer is aware of the market and technology trends; they wish to stay relevant in the value chain of domestic mail and parcel handling. Several carriers competing to offer door-to-door delivery open a window of opportunity for the mailbox company to integrate with each their systems: access to the box; checking if already occupied; notifying and communicating with the mailbox owner, etc.

What is the future role of the mailbox? What are the (digital) options of this company?

  • Can they mitigate the variation of handling logistics across all delivery suppliers?
  • Will they survive in the future where Amazon has been granted a patent of “Airborne Fulfilment Centres” sending drones directly to the front door?
  • Can they support dairy and food distribution if integrating refrigerating features?
  • Can they exploit the data and knowledge they gather by being the pivotal point of all parcels to and from a significant part of the population, their purchasing habits etc. across postal service and parcel delivery suppliers?

The sections What is IIoT – the Industrial Internet of Things? and IoT technology trends outline trends, processes, business models and technologies that gives a qualified hint of how many businesses can address their digital dilemma.

Next section: What is IIoT – the Industrial Internet of Things?