The company improving everyday life, by helping everyone to talk about everywhere
what3words has a simple but ambitious goal - to improve everyday life, by helping everyone to talk about everywhere.
Written by HYER NEWSROOM
The what3words team has built a system that is already changing the world. By dividing the globe into 57 trillion 3m x 3m squares and assigning each with a unique sequence of three words, the technology provides a simple way to communicate very precise locations. The tech is in place, the coding installed, the app is free and available to all - now all that is left is to evolve our own mindsets, adapt our communication and make the use of three word addresses the norm.
Chief Marketing Officer, Giles Rhys Jones says “There is a general acceptance that the way in which we use typical addressing systems is fine. The challenge for us is to break this status quo, to make the world aware that a better system exists.”
Already used by thousands of businesses, what3words is now available in 54 languages, and in daily use across 193 countries. Here in the UK, there is an entire ecosystem of people & businesses using what3words. It is already improving everyday life by removing the seemingly small, yet often painful frustrations caused by inadequate addressing.
For example; finding your new client's office whose address is somehow pinned bang in the middle of a nondescript Pret-a-Manger, losing hours of a day out with friends at a festival - trying to find the big pink flag in a sea of big pink flags or even the process of ordering a taxi, a pizza or an online order to your front door rather than the street next door. what3words is making all of these daily tasks easier and more efficient, and not just for innovative techies - what3words offers solutions for anyone who struggles to describe their location.
Interview with what3words, Chief Marketing Officer, Giles Rhys Jones
what3words was born out of frustration. Previously working in the music industry, Co-Founder & CEO Chris Sheldrick was constantly faced with issues caused by inadequate addresses. Whether he was locating a specific gate at a large arena, the backstage entrance of a theatre, or a remote chateau up in the French Alps, Chris was constantly seeking precise and simple location details.
Unsurprisingly, sixteen-digit latitude & longitude GPS coordinates were neither willingly adopted nor readily remembered by musicians, roadies, and technicians of the trade. By chatting with his mathematician friend, they then came up with the ingenious solution of mapping the world into a grid of three-by-three-meter squares, assigning each with a unique combination of three words. Simple, unique, and with a profoundly powerful impact.
To look at the bigger picture, acceptance, and adoption of this system on a global scale will bring fundamental improvements to global safety, socioeconomic growth, and business efficiency. Services that many people take for granted such as applying for a bank account or a utility or being able to direct an ambulance in an emergency, all require an address. By providing the entire world with a fixed address, more and more people can take that first step onto the socioeconomic ladder. They can be mapped, banked, located, and crucially, connected. Groceries, post, and even pizza are now being delivered to remote parts of the world that had previously been cut off because they lacked an address.
what3words is a business committed to doing good by doing business, and this purpose-led approach will help the team on their mission to shift behaviors and enable the brand to seep further into popular culture. Improved location accuracy brings major upgrades to safety systems; consequentially what3words offers its technology for free to all NGOs, charities, and emergency services.
Giles describes an instrumental moment in the company’s growth being the first time the emergency services used what3words to locate and ultimately save a person's life. “You could hear a pin drop in the office when we got the call, it was such a key moment. To know that our technology had saved someone’s life - even if it only ever served to save just that one person - we knew we had developed something good”.
And the overall mission?
“Our ultimate goal is to make the world a safer, less frustrating, and more efficient place. We have a slightly strange objective at what3words, in the sense that we actually want our app to disappear. We want our technology to be built into the infrastructure of the everyday.”
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