What3words: A Powerful Tool That’s Solving Problems the World Over

Rhys Pattimore
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While we love to talk about the awesome benefits of using job management software, it’s true that there are other technologies out there that can help your business in amazing ways, too.

After all, we know we’re not the only software company around, and it’d be naïve to think that one single company can do absolutely everything under the sun.

After all, there's no need for us to make maps like Google, social media like Facebook, and develop amazing job management software, all at once. But, just like you, we can make use of these alongside other tools to ensure we make an even greater impact.

What’s wonderful, then, is when we can share some of the awesome technologies that we think are particularly amazing for you to be aware of.graphic_commusoft_lightbulb-02

With that in mind, let's explore what3words!

  1. Who are what3words?
  2. Where do you start with rethinking location?
  3. Innovation and adapting to change
  4. In conversation with what3words

Not only are they a company with an inspiring mission that can change the way we think about location, but the application of their tool is actively having a profound effect on service providers, customers, and even in personal lives the world over!

Before we move on to the main article, I’d like to draw your attention to a special episode of Success in the Field, which you can jump to by clicking here. In the video, you can see Jason, Commusoft’s founder, in conversation with Robert Novakov, from the Business Dev. Team at what3words, as they discuss Rethinking Location.

However, if you’re pressed for time, you can always bookmark the video to watch later. In the meantime, be sure to have a quick read about some of the insights we gleaned below!

1. Who are what3words?

In essence, it’s a web-based technology that allows users to pinpoint an incredibly precise location, thanks to the way their software maps locations around the globe. To quote Google: “What3words is a geocode system for the communication of locations with a resolution of three metres.”

w3w_VerticalLogo_RGB_Fullcolour_ENGTo do this, what3words has divided the entire world map into a grid system that's made up of thousands of squares (measuring 3x3m metres), and where each square is designated by (you guessed it) 3 words that can be used to define that specific, unique location.

Source: what3words

What3words, as their website explains, is ”the simplest way to talk about location” and we’ve certainly seen no reason to argue with that statement.

Pin-point precision:

As an example, let’s take a site in the UK that everyone knows of: Stonehenge.

If you were wanting to stand in the dead centre of Stonehenge, then you could find the what3words location with the following phrase below. (Note: when clicking the links, it can help to view the satellite version of the map for even greater detail):

///ordinary.pedicure.rucksack

These words assigned to a square are completely random, and don’t mean anything in relation to the site they’re assigned, but with them you can find yourself looking at the precise centre of the ancient site.

That being said, it's true that visitors aren't generally allowed to just waltz through the middle of the grounds: instead you must follow the path. So, with that in mind, you could opt to use the following code:

///remotest.frost.overpaid

With this, you can see a specific point along the path. This not only gets you a great view up close, but you could even share the code with a friend. Wit it, they could easily find the exact point you’re looking at so they can come and join you!

It’s a wonderfully simple solution to finding your way, without the faff of longitude and latitude, or long-winded descriptions that'll only get more confusing!

In the video below, Robert discusses the idea with Jason further, saying that one of the goals of what3words is to:

“Help everyone talk about everywhere.”

That's no small feat, but as we dive a little deeper, it should become easy to see how this system can benefit your field service business in the same way that it's already helping others, the world over.

It’s safe to say that there’s a lot of potential underneath an simple idea.

Navigation_Wells fire.cherubs.arrive

Source: what3words

2. Where do you start rethinking location?

You might as well try to reinvent the wheel, right? Well, not quite.

Let’s be honest, for a lot of us, giving directions isn’t always straightforward. Even with the use of digital maps, it can still be all-too-easy to lose our way, especially if you find yourselves outside of a city and working in more rural locations.

In this case, the solution to rethinking, is that less is more. graphic_roadmap-01

After all, a postcode can direct you to a location, but what if it’s a huge complex of flats or warehouses? Whilst numbers and letters can then help refine that process, we’ve all experienced situations where things have still gotten confused!

For example: it’s possible for Flat 25 on my street (which is inside a large complex) to get confused with No. 25, Flat A, which is a split-house on the opposite side of the street. From mistaken deliveries, to incorrect post, to (yes, even an electrician getting the wrong venue), these mistakes are more common than you might expect, especially when road names, postcodes, and other details appear almost identical at a quick glance. With a what3words code, the distinction is more profound and so people can find their way from A to B far more easily.

In all cases, it’s best to avoid mistakes as much as possible. After all: delays, frustration, and costly mistakes will only waste people's time and money.

With a growing global population and even entire neighbourhoods popping up, a more elegant solution is required to help us map locations. This is why what3words considers their tool so important, as it exists as a way to clearly define locations in a simple manner that’s easy to understand, and can work for everyone.

graphic_customer_journey_commusoft_small_version-01

After all, there are almost 8 billion people on this planet and, as Robert points out, 4 billion people live without what many of us would typically consider a formal address. If we consider the UK, he goes on to explain that there are around 3 million properties that are not part of the Royal Mail’s lists. 

The long and short of it? Imprecise locations and unreliable directions will cause problems. I’d be willing to bet good money that problems with addresses, like that above, have led to delays, annoyed customers, or worse: to jobs not going ahead at all.

These days, we live in a world where so many services are on-demand and the expectation is for these services to be provided quickly, efficiently, with convenience in mind. This makes time an incredibly important factor, and in order to be timely, you need precision, which is precisely what what3words provide. In this way, they're changing the way people think about location to adapt it to contemporary demands.

Without such precision—and we’re not just talking about location with this point—you may find your business starts to fall behind, and even lose out to the competition as a result.


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3. Innovation and adapting to change

We’ve spoken a lot before about how using software is all about improving the efficiency and productivity of your services. It’s a similar concept here that applies to using job management software to adapt, grow, and change to the needs of your staff, as well as your customers, all so that you can keep up with (or even overtake) your competitors.

That’s true no matter whether you’re in HVAC, electrical, gas, gardening, and more!

No matter the reason though, innovating and making changes should always be done with the idea of removing inefficiencies and making experiences better.

One way we at Commusoft talk about doing this is by crafting world-class customer journeys: if they’re straightforward, easy to use, but powerful, then these journeys all connect to more likely lead a customer to an overall great experience.

graphic_lightbulb_road-02

Game changing innovations, whether they be simple ones we may take for granted, such as instant messaging and email, or more complex processes, like automated workflows within your software, will allow your business to function faster, smarter, and in a more connected way.

Imagine if you never went paperless? With the solutions you have now, you're far more productive, and by making use of additional external tools (like what3words) you can help to elevate your business even further.

Time saved is often money saved, no doubt about it. Not to mention it can even lead to greater earnings which you can reinvest into more complex tools and tasks, and encourage growth.

Ultimately, a fantastic part of innovating and making changes is how it affects the people around you. From company owners, to employees, to the customers themselves: the way you innovate can add a significant amount of value so that your experiences go above and beyond the core service that you provide.

This, in turn, can help turn customers into powerful advocates, lead your staff to be more productive, and result in consistently great work that leaves everyone happy.

It’s not just about innovating to use tools, but innovating to develop powerful relationships. For what3words, they see their tool as:

“A simple way to add extra value [becoming] another tool in the tool box that you can use to better your customer experience”.

You can view your own services in a similar way, and take action to improve customer journeys and enhance customer experiences.
complete guide to crafting perfect customer journeys - learn more here

4. In conversation with what3words

For even more on the game-changing ways what3words is innovating in the location space, be sure to watch Episode 9 of Success in the Field!

Our web series is a fantastic way to learn not only what Commusoft is doing in the field service industry, but also an opportunity to engage with insights and interesting stories from a variety of expert guests!

Click below to watch, or click here to jump to our channel for even more episodes:

If you enjoyed it, then you’ll be pleased to hear we’re working on even more, so be sure to subscribe, follow, and keep an eye out, and don't forget to reach out with your feedback!

The Takeaway

I first heard of what3words a few years back and even made use of it during travels abroad, but after seeing an article telling of the amazing ways they’ve helped emergency services in the UK (and beyond), it’s clear there’s more to their tech than what you see at first glance! You can find out more about what3words from their website.

What3words is the perfect example of a simple solution to an increasingly complex problem, and one I’m excited to see impacting industries and individuals alike in a way that’s accessible, easy to understand, but powerful as well.

Ultimately, it's innovations like this that align with the same way we often preach about personalised customer journeys here at Commusoft:

“You don’t necessarily create a good customer experience, you refine your customer journeys and that creates a customer experience - ultimately [..] we all want our customers to have great experiences and it’s important to work on those journeys to make sure that all comes together at the end.”  - Jason Morjaria, CEO at Commusoft

To round things out, why not take a look at our infographic below? With it, you can look at some of the ways to personalise customer journeys with these 12 simple steps:

step-by-step infographic, 12 ways to personalise customer experience with software, download here

All external images sourced from what3words press pack.

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