Are email and PDF putting couriers out of business?
When I first worked in the city in the early-90s, there were heaps of bike couriers around the place. You’d see them speeding around the streets, grabbing hold of trams and trucks to go up hills, zooming through lights, dodging pedestrians and cars alike.
Back then the technology for moving documents around electronically was somewhat lacking in reliability, and I vaguely remember hearing that people at one workplace had been told that if something was urgent, you didn’t email it, you’d fax it. And if it was really critical, you should send it by courier.
There don’t seem to be so many bike couriers around nowadays, nor do so many people send faxes. I suspect we only resort to these for documents when someone’s genuine analogue signature (or a crude digital representation of it) is required on the dotted line — otherwise email will suffice.
Strangely enough, the post office are apparently doing okay in this new world of electronic delivery. Australia Post reports parcels are up, citing eBay as one of the main causes. And probably helped by diversifying into all those things that make the queues so long when you just want to buy a stamp.