British Royal Mail moves to barcodes

Following a national trial as part of its ongoing “modernization drive,” the Royal Mail will soon add barcodes to all of its definitive and Christmas stamps, allowing people to watch videos, read messages and other digital activities.

Each barcoded stamp will have a “digital twin” connected via the Royal Mail app, according to the postal service, which added the new system will “facilitate operational efficiencies, enable the introduction of added security features and pave the way for innovative services for our customers.”

The Royal Mail began a pilot project to add barcodes to about 20 million second-class stamps last March. The barcodes match the stamp colour and sit alongside the main design separated by simulated perforations.

“The new barcode is an integral part of the stamp and must remain intact for the stamp to be valid,” added the postal service, which will phase out non-barcoded stamps through next January, after which time they will be unusable.

People can also exchange non-barcoded stamps for new barcoded versions starting on March 31. “We need postage stamps to adapt to new technology,” said Vancouver dealer and auctioneer Brian Grant Duff, the owner of All Nations Stamp and Coin.

“Other than becoming self-adhesive, stamps haven’t changed greatly in 182 years.” The Royal Mail’s commemorative “Special Stamps,” launched in 1965, will remain without barcodes.

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