Software Roadmap: What’s Coming to Your Online Postal Mailbox

July 13, 2011

in News, Tech Talk

The Road Ahead, courtesy of Ryan Cadby

A number of you have offered great suggestions for new features to better view, manage, and process your mail. Your great feedbacks are extremely helpful and most appreciated. They show us exactly where what improvements we should focus on.

We want to take this time to give you an update on what changes are coming to your service and site experience. In-depth details and technical information will follow in future posts.

The First Half of 2011

Our primary strategy for this year is to streamline operations and software improvements. If you have been with us for a while, you will notice how efficient we are when it comes to processing your mail, scanning requests, and customer service support. In fact, due to our continuous improvement process through Kaizen and waste elimination, we are able to process faster, better, and cheaper. For you, this translates to awesome service quality at the same amazing price.

While operations improved dramatically, software development has admittedly been lagging. This was particularly evident when VPM was affected by the huge Amazon Web Service outage back in April. For those of you who may not be aware, the mail management site was taken offline for a day and a half. Although this may not be our fault, we take full responsibility for not creating a more resilient system. As the Internet is our primary backbone and means of survival, outages like this is unacceptable and must be addressed.

Software Roadmap

For this second half of the year, we have redoubled our efforts to make our service more amazing than before. Here’s a glimpse into what’s coming in the near future.

Stage 1: Infrastructure Improvements

We are rebuilding our entire infrastructure foundation to become more tolerant of system and network failures. The new infrastructure also paves way for faster software development cycles. This is all part of our commitment towards continuous process improvement.

At the end of this stage, you can expect to see the following improvements to your service:

  • You will notice lightning-speed loading of your mail images in your browser.
  • Your data will be more secure and reach 99.999999999% durability. This means that if you have 10,000 pieces of scanned mail content, you can on average expect to lose one piece of mail content once every 10,000,000 years.
  • You’ll see new features added quicker with our improved software development process. This means more productivity, faster response to feature requests, and fewer software glitches.

Stage 2: User Interface Improvements

The user interface will be rebuilt from the ground up to support some awesome features we’re adding. Here’s a sample list of features that will be added:

  • Folders, labels, and search functions for your mail.
  • Batch downloading and processing of your mail.
  • Complete support for mobile and tablet devices.
  • Fully integrated Check Deposit Service. No more emails!
  • Improved accessibility for disabled and physically impaired persons.

There are other very amazing features in our new user interface that we will announce later but must keep hush hush for now.

Stage 3: 3rd Party Integration

Warning: Geek Speak Content

We are committed to opening our system for external integration by publishing an API for programmatic access to your data in a secure manner. This means:

  • You can export your mail content into other services that you use.
  • You can use software applications created by 3rd party developers to access your mail.
  • You can automate your mail processing by writing your own code.

There’s a host of other things that can be done once the API becomes available. For those of you who have expressed interest, we will send you more details when it’s time for private beta testing. You can also contact us to get on this list. We plan to start beta testing between stages 1 and 2, which we ingeniously call Stage 1.5.

Current Status (July 12, 2011)

As of today, Stage 1 is 50% complete. We’re in the midst of working on our new image processing system. Once this is done, you will likely see a partial Stage 1 rollout.

Because our goals are ambitious, some of these improvements will require time and effort. We sincerely ask you to be patient with us as we continue making your experience better.

We’re more than happy to hear any feedback from you. Submit your public comment under this article or write us privately via email.

To all a better and more amazing year for everyone!

VPM Tech Team

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Scott August 20, 2011 at 11:19 am

I am very excited about the new features coming. I am a new customer and would like to be ea beta tester.

Scott Risney

Fred Trotter December 2, 2011 at 2:51 am

Hey, how is the API coming along?

Perhaps you can contribute an answer here:

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