What3words is Creating a New Global Addressing Standard


Chris Sheldrick noticed that people were often lost when he started his business organizing live music events. This was frustrating and costly for businesses. Bands and instruments can’t afford to be late to gigs or festivals. He met with a mathematician friend […]

Chris Sheldrick noticed that people were often lost when he started his business organizing live music events. This was frustrating and costly for businesses. Bands and instruments can’t afford to be late to gigs or festivals. He met with a mathematician friend in order to find a solution.

A digital solution to organizing physical presence emerged from daily frustration. It is now a global standard for addressing. Here’s the HTML3words story.

Helping everyone talk about everything

Standard street addresses are not the only way to find physical locations. Chris and his friend created a plan on a napkin. This was a way to identify physical locations without street names or streets. This is what you need:

  • Divise the world into four squares, measuring three by three metres.
  • Randomly assign each square three dictionary words.

So, for example, if you told a friend to meet you at ///ahead.domino.freckles, they’d be able to search a map for those three words, see that exact 3m x 3m, and know exactly where to go.

What3words was created by them. It is a simple, universal, human system that allows everyone to talk about anything. It was a success, winning multiple awards and becoming a product and business. What3words is now free for everyone (download for iOSAndroid) or as an API for businesses to integrate.

Mercedes-Benz and Ford have incorporated the system into their vehicles so that drivers can use it to find exact spots. It is used by emergency services in the UK as well as humanitarian agencies worldwide to locate those in urgent need. Domino’s Sint Maarten delivers pizza faster than ever to customers who provide their exact three-word addresses.

Send me a sign

Many restaurants, hotels, and other places of interest have included their three-word addresses on their websites, social media accounts, confirmation emails, and social media accounts to make it easy for people to find them. They are even displayed on signs.

What3words started out making stickers and three-word address signs that could be easily erased for food trucks. These signs could then be changed as they moved. The three-word address can be read or texted to anyone who asks for directions.

Next came a limited-edition Christmas series of address signs with three words. These signs proved to be very popular. They were requested by people for their front doors, offices and branches, as well as businesses. Hotels and restaurants got theirs to make it easier for employees to provide the three-word address via phone. Customers also have an easy way to leave a location and a recommendation. They’re also a great way to start conversations about cool tech.

What3words then set up an online shop powered by WooCommerce.

You can find outdoor and indoor signs in a variety of finishes and colors at the shop. You can choose the type of sign you want, as well as customize its size and mounting. You can enter your address and see it live on a sign.

Learn more:

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The team was thrilled to see the digital product become a physical product. The system is more visible in the wild, which makes it more appealing to people. They will ask if they don’t know the meaning of the three words on the plaque. Then they will wonder if the address is three-words.

What3words for WooCommerce

WooCommerce store owners have the option to add a three-word field to their checkout page to allow customers to add one to their address information. Deliveries can be made faster with this extra level of accuracy.

The what3words free plugin for WordPress supports WooCommerce. It allows you to:

  1. Add the AutoSuggest feature of what3words to your address field
  2. The three-word address should be saved as part of the customer’s order details.
  3. To assist people in entering their address, display a tooltip. added a 3-word address field to its WooCommerce online checkout

WP Admin can automatically install the what3words plug-in. Navigate to plugins / Add new, search for “what3words autoSuggest”, and then click the “Install now” button. Read more about installation.

Global addressing for the internet and the world

What3words’ goal is to make three-word addresses a worldwide standard. They are working with fans, customers, and ambassadors to place three-word addresses all over the world. These addresses are displayed on signs and made available online. They are being used to help people find them in an emergency faster and navigate their way in the car. Some people have received their first address.

What3words makes the world easier, safer, and more enjoyable by providing a simple system that people can use (in 26+ different languages), machines can convert to coordinates and businesses can integrate.

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