Today, what3words introduced the what3words skill for Amazon Alexa. The skill enables Alexa users to discover where a 3-word address is and ask to be navigated there by any Alexa-enabled device. The announcement enables Alexa devices of all types to recognize an addressing system built for voice, paving the way for new opportunities for both developers and consumers.
what3words is changing the way that people use and interact with location. They’ve divided the world up into a grid of 3m x 3m (10ft x 10ft) squares and assigned each a unique identifier made up of 3 dictionary words; a 3-word address. The system is currently available in 36 languages, including all of those supported by Alexa. From the entrance to the volleyball courts in Central Park, which can be found at ///zips.pops.soccer, to a beautiful view of Cold Mountain, Yosemite, ///notion.mindset.pulling — everywhere and anywhere has a 3-word address.
Unlike street addresses, what3words is specifically designed for voice input. Street addressing has a voice problem and speaking a street address into a voice interface can be lengthy and frustrating. Saying ‘Take me to 241st Street’ can sound exactly the same as ‘Take me to 2, 41st Street’. And, of course, street addresses don’t cover everywhere.
Street names also aren’t unique — take the 10,000+ ‘Second Street’s in the USA or the 14 Church Roads in London. When it comes to postal and zip codes, mistakes are too easy to make when ‘N’s get mistaken for ‘M’s and ‘A’s for ‘8’s, and ’15’s for 50’s.’
As each 3-word address is unique and with similar sounding combinations placed very far apart, errors are easy to detect and correct, an essential feature in a screen-less interface. what3words also allows consumers to talk about a specific part of an address — something before that has been impossible.
The what3words skill will enable users to ask questions like, “Alexa, ask what3words to navigate me to filled count soap,” prompting the device to start navigation. The skill will be available on Alexa-enabled vehicles and automotive accessories like Echo Auto, with the goal of enabling drivers to arrive at the correct location, first time, every time.
The what3words skill is also for the curious. Users can ask, “Alexa, ask what3words where is filled count soap?”, or “Alexa, ask what3words how long it will take me to get to index home raft?’ The what3words skill also takes advantage of the Alexa Presentation Language (APL) — meaning it will incorporate imagery and visuals in addition to voice feedback on screen-based devices like the Echo Show. By adding this interaction, users are able to explore what it means to talk about specific locations.
The Alexa skill follows what3words projects with automotive companies like Mercedes-Benz and Ford, who have also put the what3words functionality in their vehicles, and travel companies including Lonely Planet and Airbnb who are adding 3-word addresses to listings and points of interest.
“In a voice-first, screenless world getting the right address, first time, every time, is essential,” says Chris Sheldrick, Co-founder & CEO, what3words. “While speech recognition will get better and better, it won’t solve the underlying issue of addressing systems that aren’t fit for the task. With the launch of this skill, we’re paving the way for a less frustrating and more efficient experience for all.”
With voice input fast becoming consumers’ favorite way to communicate with their devices, a new, digital-first approach to addressing is needed. Using traditional addresses that were developed hundreds of years ago aren’t compatible with the way consumers are using them now. With its new skill for Alexa, what3words broadens out its offering to improve customer experience, drive efficiencies and prioritize a more convenient and smoother exchange with the voice service.
The skill will be previewed at the Voice Summit in Newark from July 22-25th, in the Amazon booth. what3words will also host a talk during the event at 2:15 pm on Wed., July 24th at the Kupfrian Jim Wise Theater in Newark, NJ.
Find your 3-word address here.
Co-founded in London in 2013 by Chris Sheldrick, what3words is the simplest way to talk about location. A 3-word address is a human-friendly way to share precise locations with other people or to input them into platforms and machines. The system is fixed, so never needs updating and it works offline.
what3words is available in over 36 languages and has been easily integrated by more than 1,000 businesses, governments and NGOs in over 170 countries, with just a few lines of code using online APIs or SDKs. A broad spectrum of industries are benefiting from the technology, including those operating in logistics, mobility, travel, emergency services, navigation and events.
what3words’ customer base includes Mercedes-Benz, who recently launched the world’s first car with built-in what3words voice navigation, Domino’s Pizza, who is optimizing deliveries with 3-word addresses, and the United Nations and the British Emergency Services who are using the technology to provide disaster relief.