Implications of Electronic Mail and Message Systems for the U.S. Postal Service

30 .Implications of Electronic Mail and Message Systems for the U.S. Postal Service

tent that cost and relative inflexibility contin
ue to limit the advantages of electronic color
printing over conventional printing. Thus, for
the advertising segment (nonhousehold to non
household and nonhousehold to household) a
5 percent market share was forecast for 1995,
with an initial growth rate of 20 percent.
Households will not be able to initiate a sig
nificant volume of Generation II EMS until
home terminals capable of originating text
come into widespread use. About 500,000
home computers had been sold by 1980,'
though many of these were not equipped for
communications. OTA assumed that it will
take several more years before 5 percent of
households, or roughly 4 million homes, are
equipped with communications capable home
computers, and that there will be additional
delays before many of these home computers
are used routinely for correspondence. Thus,
OTA assumed that the EMS market share for
correspondence originating in the home will
not reach 5 percent before 1987. A high initial
growth rate (30 percent) was projected, which
is consistent with growth rates projected by
industry for home computers, as indicated in
table 6.
The requirement for a color capability is ex
pected to put greeting cards in the same posi
tion as advertising, thus delaying a 5 percent
market share for Generation II EMS until
1995.
Generation III Growth and
Timing Estimates
Generation III EMS services between non
household senders and receivers are expected
to be based largely on electronic data process
ing and office automation technologies. There
are strong incentives within this sector for
keeping information in electronic form and for
machine processing by the receiver. As a result
of these incentives, there is a healthy competi
tion among several technologies for this mar
ket, including word processors, computer
'U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Computer
Based National Information Systems: Technology and Public
Policy Issues OTA- CIT-146, September 1981.

based message systems, intelligent communi
cation networks, and store and forward mes
sage systems. Until recently, this competition
has tended to impede the development of
standards among different vendors supporting
each technology, and for information exchange
between systems based on the different tech
nologies. The International Standard Organi
zation, the Consultative Committee for Inter
national Telephone and Telegraph, and the
U.S. standards groups continue to work on
developing standards. The process of agree
ing on and then implementing standards has
been slow but appears to be accelerating. The
time required to achieve and implement stand
ards at a variety of system levels will be a prin
cipal determinant of the rate of growth of Gen
eration III message systems within the non
household sector.
The problem will be easiest to resolve within
individual companies. OTA estimated a 5 per
cent market share for Generation II EMS in
1983, and initial growth at a fast rate (30 per
cent). As shown in table 6, OTA estimated a
75 percent market share for Generation III
EMS intra office correspondence in 1996. A
slower initial growth rate (20 percent) was pro
jected for interoffice correspondence due to in
compatibility and the number of different
standards issues involved. These rates of
growth are generally consistent with industry
projections (listed in table 6) for small business
computers, computer software, and data com-
munications.
The standards problem will begin to be re
solved first for correspondence, which requires
a minimum of content standardization. OTA
estimated a 5 percent market share in this seg
ment in 1984. Generation III will become at
tractive for bills and statements when the re
cipients can automatically process the infor
mation received. This requires considerable
standardization of data elements and formats.
OTA anticipated a slow penetration of these
complex standards to other sectors, in part
due to the software development required to
employ them. Initially, exchanges frequently
are likely to be via hand carried or mailed com-
puter tapes substituting for numerous paper

United States. Congress. Office of Technology Assessment. Implications of Electronic Mail and Message Systems for the U.S. Postal Service. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc39480/. Accessed July 25, 2014.