SELF-SERVICE: The post office has a humanoid Pepper robot, which, besides offering help to the public, can dance to entertain people while they wait for services
By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter
The nation’s first post office offering automated postal services opened in Taipei yesterday, allowing people to access a variety of around-the-clock digital services.
The digital post office is a part of Jinnan Post Office （金南郵局） on the city’s Aiguo E Road （愛國東路）, and has two sections.
The first is a 24-hour self-service section with automated teller machines, passbook entry machines and i-mailbox kiosks, Chunghwa Post vice president Wu Yuan-jen （吳元仁） said at an opening ceremony.
The second section is reserved for financial services, and allows people to open savings accounts and change or report the loss of stamp seals, Wu said.
People can also withdraw or wire funds from their accounts, and handle business related to life insurance accounts there, he added.
A humanoid robot developed by Japan’s Softbank Robotics, called Pepper, offers help to clients in the financial service section, the company said.
The robot wears a mail carrier uniform and has a tablet computer attached to its chest, it said.
People can tap on the tablet and find instructions for various services, it said, adding that Pepper can also dance to entertain customers while they are waiting.
The post office has interactive TV sets, iPads, desktop computers and other digital devices for people to learn about various postal services, the company said.
Clients can find out online how many people are waiting to use the services and sign up for a number before arriving at the post office, it added.
If people want to withdraw, deposit or wire funds to or from their accounts, and manage their life insurance accounts, they should first fill out the forms online, receiving a barcode for each completed form, the company said.
When a client arrives at the post office, a clerk would scan the barcode to activate procedures for the particular service, it said, adding that this would reduce the processing time by 10 to 15 minutes.
People can also reserve a number and fill out forms online if they want to open a savings account, or change or report the loss of a stamp seal used to verify an account holder’s identity, the company said, adding that a clerk would print out the forms and verify the client’s identification upon their arrival.
The company said it is working to allow people who want to send mail or packages to fill out forms online and reserve a number before coming to the post office, which would expedite the mail process and decrease the number of people waiting in lines.
The company aims to open more post offices offering digital services in Taipei, Banciao, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung before the end of next year, Chunghwa Post chief secretary Chien Liang-lin （簡良璘） said, adding that each one would also have Pepper robots to help clients.
“We are also developing unstaffed post offices, as it is the trend of the future,” she said.
Chunghwa Post vice president Wu Yuan-jen interacts with a Pepper robot at the Jinnan Post Office on Taipei’s Aiguo E Road yesterday. Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times