Dubbed the “EirCode” (by happy coincidence, the same name as the consortium), it will be a seven-digit, alpha-numeric reference:
The first three digits (the ‘routing key’) will refer to the postal sorting office closest to the address, of which there are currently approx. 130 in the country. Many properties within the same area will share these first three digits, not unlike the prefix of a land-line telephone number.
The final four digits will be non-sequential, apparently random collection of numbers and letters, and will be unique to a letter-box or property – offices, apartments, domestic houses, institutions, etc.
There is ample capacity to allow for expansion and new developments (all in good time!!!) and a web-site (http://www.eircode.ie/index.html) has already been set up to provide information and help so that organisations, families and individual residents to plan for the roll-out. Call Centre facilities are in the plan, and further information should be forthcoming in the next few weeks.
The seven-digit codes will be finalised in late 2014, and are intended to be available from early 2015. New legislation is being drafted to control the use and distribution of the codes.
The consortium anticipates a steady, early adoption of the new codes by both business and domestic address owners and many companies are already planning the appending of the new code to their existing customer and member databases. Letter-heads, business cards, CRM systems, donor and patient records, payroll lists, even the Christmas card lists and ‘little black books’ – they will all eventually need to be updated.
Value Added Resellers (VAR’s) will be licenced by the consortium to facilitate the delivery of the new codes, as well as to provide address matching and other data analysis services. A register of VAR’s is expected to be published later this year.
Although there will be no mandatory obligation to use the code, we understand that several online retailers and service providers will begin to insist on their use within months of deployment. Distribution and mailing organisations are particularly keen on their use, to avoid delays or errors in home deliveries.
The attraction for the Direct Marketing and Data Analytics sectors is equally obvious, and we gained some valuable insights at the information event from Alex Walshe, a senior member of the UK Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and someone with years of experience using the UK post-codes for such purposes.
Interestingly, we do not, as yet, have a formal position from the Office of the DP Commissioner on the status of the codes – despite the fact that the codes will identify individual properties (and therefore, individual residents in many circumstances), it is not yet clear how the processing of the codes will be interpreted under the legislation.
Any disruptive exercise like this can either be seen as a tremendous hassle, or viewed more constructively, as a timely opportunity to review our current data listing, remove old and duplicate records, and clean up inaccurate or incomplete records. We will, of course, keep you posted, and plan to support further information events by the IDMA once the much-anticipated legislation is published and the picture becomes clearer.