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INtouch Replaces E-Blueys

06 Apr 2017

Imail INtouch has now replaced E-bluey as the hybrid mail system for the Armed Forces Community.

Introduction

Following the cessation of E-bluey on 31 Mar 17, this article provides information on the imail INtouch hybrid mail communications solution for personnel deployed on overseas operations. Imail INtouch provides a means of communications for deployed personnel without access to return mail, through BFPO, to enable communication with friends and family who do not have access to email.

Imail INtouch provides a free service for friends and family to send physical mail to an entitled British Forces Post Office (BFPO) number; furthermore it allows deployed personnel to send physical mail back to the UK. Imail INtouch allows users to type letters, upload photographs and scan documents. These letters and documents are printed in the UK and then posted using Royal Mail to friends and family in the UK, or through BFPO to personnel deployed overseas.

Imail INtouch.

JFC has contracted Neopost to provide its hybrid mail service, imail INtouch, which transforms digital data into physical mail at print and mailing centres across the UK. This will allow personnel deployed on operations, and their families and friends back home, to open an INtouch account, and send and receive hard copy letters for free.

Registration for the imail INtouch service can be accessed through the following link: www.neopost.co.uk/intouch. Once a user has registered for an account and been verified, individuals will receive their login and password details within 48hrs. Individuals should then go to www.imail.co.uk and login. They will be prompted to change their password, at which point they will have a registered imail account they can use to send hybrid mail.

Imail INtouch will allow individuals deployed on operations, and their families back home, to send letters they have created electronically, with attached pictures or PDF files, of up to 8 pages in length. These letters will be printed in the UK on white paper and posted in an envelope to either a UK address or a BFPO address and will be clearly marked as imail INtouch. These letters will only be free of charge to those on operations and their families back home.

Background

Welfare Communications. Survey evidence highlights that access to welfare communications is the most important element of operational welfare for the majority of people, and for this reason it is the top priority for provision. Deployed personnel receive 30 welfare minutes per week of telephone calls and access to some form of internet connectivity. It is recognised that in some locations internet connectivity can be poor and as such there is a constant review of the communications provision. The need for innovative ways of keeping personnel connected with friends and family is appreciated and imail INtouch is part of that innovation.

Mail Services. BFPO provides at least a one-way postal service to personnel deployed on joint operations. Personnel also benefit from the Enduring Families’ Free Mail Service, which allows family and friends in the UK, and at BFPO locations, to send packets up to 2kg in weight, free of charge, to Service personnel on joint operations. Where practical this capability is enhanced with return mail via a Postal and Courier Service. Imail INtouch enhances this capability by allowing personnel deployed on operations to print letters in the UK. These letters then enter the Royal Mail system, and provide Service personnel without access to return mail a means of sending a letter to their loved ones.

Imail INtouch FAQ

What is the imail INtouch system?
The new service will enable personnel on operations to continue to send and receive letters originally sent via email, but received in hard copy form. Despite the ever-growing use of Wi-Fi and mobile data-based technology, and the increased use of social media networks and apps for personal messaging, (including Whatsapp, Facebook, Skype and iMessage) Service personnel deployed overseas still highly value receiving physical mail. The new imail INtouch system will allow users to send up to eight pages, including high definition photographs and electronic copies of personal documents.

How does imail INtouch work?
Once an account has been registered, Service personnel, their friends and families are able to create a mail message using either a computer or internet enabled personal electronic device at www.imail.co.uk .This can be done anywhere across the globe. Once a document has been composed it is electronically encrypted and sent to the imail server. The server routes the item to the nearest UK Mail print centre, where it is securely printed by state-of-the-art equipment. Letters are machine-enveloped and all mail is sent for onward delivery to BFPO Northolt, (the MODs mail sortation depot) to be dispatched across the globe within the military mail system.

Where do I register for imail INtouch?
Personnel register for an account at www.neopost.co.uk/intouch. Your account information will be provided to you with 48hrs following verification.

Can I send an imail INtouch to an international address that does not have a BFPO number?
No. The imail INtouch service is applicable to BFPO addresses overseas and UK postcode addresses only. No other international service is available.

I noticed on the last line of the imail INtouch address that you need to state the BFPO Postcode rather than the BFPO number – what’s the difference?
Each BFPO number across the globe has an associated Postcode. For example BFPO 759 in Kabul in Afghanistan has the postcode BF1 7DZ. These BFPO postcodes have been devised to allow online services across the internet to recognise overseas military addresses.

Where can I find a list of BFPO Postcodes and corresponding BFPO numbers?
The BFPO indicator list, showing details for BFPO Postcodes and corresponding BFPO numbers across the globe can be found on the BFPO website at the following address:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/british-forces-post-office-locations

Can I send an imail INtouch letter to a civilian Northern Ireland address?
Yes. However, to ensure that the imail INtouch letter does not compromise individuals’ security being connected or associated with the Armed Forces, please do not include rank or role title within the civilian postal address.

What type of device can I use to access imail INtouch?
Imail INtouch can be used on any internet-enabled device, from anywhere in the world, and is compatible with leading internet browsers for PC and Macintosh.

Is there an app for imail INtouch?
No, the service can only be currently accessed via the internet.

Is imail INtouch secure?
Yes. Imail INtouch uses 256-bit SSL security as standard. The password-protected system assigns a user name and password to each user. All documents are securely encrypted before being sent from your PC, laptop or personal electronic device to the imail print centre for fulfillment, complying with security and data protection regulations.

How much does imail INtouch cost?
There is no cost to military personnel, MOD civilians serving overseas and their friends and families to use this service. The MOD’s contract with the imail INtouch provider reinforces its ongoing commitment to the welfare of its people and enshrined in the Armed Forces Covenant in law, (a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly). This service ensures that Britain’s Armed Forces serving overseas will continue to receive hard copy, secure mail, including photos from their loved ones, for free.

How do I access the imail INtouch system?
After you have registered for an account at www.neopost.co.uk/intouch, and received your login, to use imail simply log onto imail.print.co.uk or www.imail.co.uk anywhere in the world. Log in and click on ‘Get started’.

How do I address the imail INtouch letter?
To ensure that the imail INtouch letter is delivered as efficiently as possible, please use the addressing convention recommended by BFPO, this is:
Service Number, Rank, Name Unit/Regiment Operation Name BFPO Postcode
Please do not include town or country in the address. The BFPO postcode should appear on the last line of the address.

What print quality can I expect?
Imail INtouch uses the same high-specification commercial printers in all of its nationwide print centres. These are regularly calibrated, ensuring a quality and consistent print finish that you can rely on, wherever your mail is printed.

What sort of attachment can I add to my imail INtouch?
When creating a letter, you can attach an A4 PDF copy of the insert, which will be printed along with the letter and inserted as one combined mail piece.

Does imail INtouch allow me to keep a contacts database?
Imail INtouch keeps your contacts database securely within your user space. Simply create your mailing, then enter a single address or upload a csv file and the site will save your addresses for future use.

Can I view my mail before posting?
Yes. Imail INtouch provides you with an instant PDF proof of your mailing, showing the body of the document, as well as the positioning of the address block and return barcode. The PDF can be printed locally for a physical copy for your records or it can be stored electronically on your computer.

Can I view my mail once posted?
Imail INtouch stores mail items for 60 days and they are viewable within the ‘My Archive’ section of the Account Admin area.

How do I know that my imail INtouch has been received and posted?
Once you have completed your mail and sent it, you will receive on-screen confirmation. The sent order will also be visible in the My Archive area of your imail INtouch interface. You will also receive notification of posting from the UK Mail print centre. Confirmation of delivery to recipient is not currently available for this service.

With the introduction of this imail INtouch service will I still be able to send traditional stamped letters and parcels to service personnel serving overseas?
BFPO letter and parcel services for service personnel and their families continue as normal. Friends and family will still be able to send hand-written letters free of charge via a Forces Free Air Letter (FFAL) to those deployed on operations.

What role does BFPO play in the delivery of the imail INtouch service?
Imail INtouch is a service delivered on behalf of the MOD. The service has been established and is monitored by the Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood. BFPOs role in the provision of this service is limited to the ‘final mile’ delivery of mail from the BFPO Northolt sortation depot to BFPO addresses across the globe.

Who do I contact if I have a technical or service issue?
Please complete the contact form or email the company directly at imail_enquiries@imailprint.co.uk, making reference to the ‘imail INtouch’ service.