How big is the world? As big as 57 billion squares of 3×3 metres each. What at first sounds as if it were simply inconceivable for a person’s imagination, is actually relentlessly precise – and rests on the square-shaped globe conceived by what3words. The concept behind the company under CEO Chris Sheldrick is the following: each of the squares is given its own name consisting of a combination of three words from the dictionary. The result is a software-based global address system which is just as precise, but much easier to grasp than any street address or global positioning system. And above all, it is much easier to handle. “We humans are used to thinking in words rather than in numbers“, says Sheldrick, the co-founder of what3words. The entire secret of the company’s success – which now serves more than 600 businesses in 170 countries – is based on this simple realisation.
We have found a way to make the whole world accessible by means of three words only.
The advantage of a semantic address systems is obvious. Or isn’t it easier to remember a word combination, such as „tisch.stuhl.löffel“, rather than a multi-digit coordinate? It is! And in this way it also becomes easier and faster to pass on a location – without ambiguities. “Using this method, we can even give people accurate access to places which until then may not even had an address“, emphasizes Sheldrick. “We have found a way to make the whole world accessible by means of three words only.“ For “tisch.stuhl.löffel“ may stand for a square of 3×3 metres somewhere in the South American jungle or right in the middle of a large city. There is no connection between the combination of words and the corresponding location. Locations are assigned randomly by algorithm, says Sheldrick.
Countless companies from a variety of industries are already concinced of the benefits of what3words. This software is particularly suited to change the nature of motoring – and Mercedes-Benz has recognized this. From 2018 on, the Swabians will include what3words as a voice input in their vehicles. Sheldrick explains the benefits of the system: “It can significantly improve navigation during your journey, especially when it comes to inconclusive street names, or in cases where traditional address search systems would mark a location in the middle of a building complex rather than the entrance.“ From now on, mobility will look like this: you get into your Mercedes-Benz vehicle, say a three word address and the vehicle will – within a square of 3×3 metres – direct the driver exactly where he or she wants to go.