Addresses sometimes are a tricky thing: they might be not accurate enough, they might not exist at all, or they can be long and very complicated to use in a different langugage. Clare Jones, CCO of what3words, explains in this interview the idea behind the first GPS addressing system designed for voice.
what3words is clearly an idea to change the world. Clare Jones will share her vision as a speaker at #ada18. Join us at Ada Lovelace Festival to understand the potential of what3words and numerous other tech projects.
Interview with Clare Jones (what3words)
Clare, where is your office?
Clare Jones: ///filled.count.soap is the spot you need to route to for the entrance to our office.
What is your favourite spot in your hometown?
Clare Jones: I live in London, so I have so many favourite spots. One place I do love is the Southbank – there’s a beautiful garden bar at the top of one of the galleries there at ///colleague.idea.formal, amazing street food at ///circle.path.calm and pop-up theatre and events at ///grow.solar.making.
Where did you last travel?
Clare Jones: The last few weeks has included San Francisco, Tokyo, Japan and Stuttgart…! I am lucky enough that I get to travel a lot for work, seeing how people, businesses and NGOs are using what3words all over the world. But my favourite place to travel is Mexico. You should all check out the pre-Hispanic vegan street food at ///quench.nearing.crash in the beautiful town of Tepoztlán.
So what did you just do? What is the concept of what3words?
Clare Jones: what3words is the world’s first addressing system designed for voice – every 3m x 3m square in the world has been assigned an address made of just three words from the dictionary. These 3 word addresses can be used to route cars or drones, used as an address when ordering online, or simply given as a meeting point for a picnic in the park. what3words is used in 170 countries and is being adopted by governments all around the world as an official addressing system. You can look up the 3 word address of your house, your favourite spot for yoga on the beach or the particular entrance to a stadium in our free what3words app.
Was there an actual incident that started the idea of what3words?
Clare Jones: Yes! Chris, our co-founder and CEO, ran a music company. He was sending musicians and bands all around the world – and when someone heads to a wedding in a field, or a festival, or a huge music venue, Chris just found that addresses weren’t good enough. They were either not accurate enough to tell his teams which entrance to use, they didn’t exist at all, or they were long, complicated and in a language the musicians couldn’t speak. He tried giving out GPS coordinates, which just didn’t work (who wants to type in a 16-digit number?). Chris decided there had to be a better solution – and what3words was born.
Can you give me some unusual ideas where what3words is/could be used?
Clare Jones: what3words is used in so many different ways around the world – it’s amazing to see what people do with our technology. A developer recently used what3words and Amazon Alexa to route his drone using 3 words (Alexa, fly my drone to ///kicked.invite.pencils…); it was used at a festival in South Africa to point people towards the gin and tonic bar and glamping tents, and in the disaster response efforts in the recent Mexican earthquake; and just recently, a beer-brewing company named a beer after the 3 word address of where it was brewed: ///fear.movie.lions. It was even used by the crew to arrange shoots for the Spielbeg film Ready Player One. There are so many brilliant things people do with our technology all the time – we love hearing about them.
What is on top of the to do list at what3words? As your Tech seems in place, is it now all about partnerships /marketing/PR?
Clare Jones: We’re definitely expanding in partnerships, business development and marketing. We’re actually opening up some new offices – in Berlin and Silicon Valley – and working on new languages, like Chinese. There’s a lot happening around the world so we’re growing our team so that we can keep up.
A company wants to integrate what3words into their already existing product: How does that work?
Clare Jones: We have a simple API for online apps and maps, and an offline SDK for fully offline use – so companies can easily add 3 word address functionality. Whether it’s a Mercedes car or a Pizza Hut checkout page, our code is enabling much more efficient movement of people and things all over the world.
Have you tried what3words? What’s your address? Try it HERE.