The ship may have sailed on digital mail in Australia with major organisations already emailing customers while Australia Post and Digital Post Australia race to introduce their secure alternatives.
Digital mail is intended as a secure email alternative that will be linked to users’ physical addresses and allow them to receive and store sensitive documents from banks, utilities sand government agencies.
Market analysts previously valued the Australian market for secure mailbox services at $138 million but experts now say it may be too late for Digital Post and Australia Post’s Digital Mailbox to take off.
American Express, Optus, AGL and the Department of Immigration are among a growing list of Australian organisations that currently either send statements directly to customers’ email addresses or ask customers to log on to their websites to retrieve a bill.
UNSW computer science researcher Srikumar Venugopal said digital mail may have entered the Australian market too late to attract customers based on the promise of security, but could be useful if customers are able to rely on digital mail providers in the long haul.
“Most of the important concerns about email are not just about security but how long the providers will be around,” he said, explaining that “longevity” could be a key differentiator between the likes of Hotmail and Australia Post’s Digital MailBox.
The race slows
Earlier this month, Digital Post’s majority shareholder Computershare wrote down its investment in the business by 11%.
Computershare owns 80% of Digital Post. It valued its stake in Digital Post at $3 million this month, down from $3.34 million six months ago.
One analyst told Business Insider that investors no longer expected Digital Post to significantly impact Computershare’s profit.
Digital Post declined to comment on the write-down, explaining that details – including uptake figures, usage and feedback – were commercial in confidence.
The firm has also had a recent change in leadership, with former CEO Randy Dean leaving the firm after completing his one-year contract.
Former Salmat innovation and strategy manager Simon Hughes has taken over from Dean as managing director, after serving as Digital Post’s head of operations and finance for almost 2 years.
An Australia Post spokesperson said it had signed on 23,000 active users since its beta launch of Digital MailBox in May.
The government-owned corporation has also lobbied both sides of government to have federal agencies use Digital MailBox.
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