On August 28, 2023, the city of Da Nang announced the integration of a new location technology, what3words, into its public app, Hành Trình Số. what3words gives emergency callers an easier way to communicate exact locations, and allows 115 emergency operators to identify where help is needed more precisely. They can then dispatch ambulances faster and more accurately.

what3words is revolutionising the way the world communicates location. It has divided the globe into a grid of 3m x 3m squares, and given each one a unique combination of three words, known as a what3words address. For example, ///traffic.mousy.beautician is the what3words address for a precise viewpoint on the Golden Hands Bridge in Da Nang. The app is free to download for iOS and Android and works offline, making it an ideal tool for people who need help in areas with poor data connection such as beaches, hiking trails, or national parks. It is available in over 50 languages to date, including Vietnamese.

With what3words addresses, the city is providing an easy way to talk about residential areas, alleys, unaddressed places like forests, beaches, stadiums and parks, enabling faster incident response times for people in emergency situations.

what3words is simple to use: in an emergency, people can open the Hành Trình Số app to see the what3words address for their current location, then call or text 115 to share the three words with them. The operator can then identify that exact location and send help where it’s needed. Since its first year of implementation, over 15,000 ambulance dispatches have been made and managed on the Hành Trình Số app.

Da Nang’s Hành Trình Số app displays the phone’s current what3words address when opened

It’s important to act quickly in an emergency, but figuring out a caller’s exact location often takes time. Describing where help is needed can be difficult and stressful, particularly in unfamiliar or remote, unaddressed areas. This is the issue what3words is designed to solve.

Correct positioning via the city’s Hành trình số platform (115 operator interface)

To enable the implementation, what3words is providing its fundamental technology and Phenikaa MaaS is sending a team to fully support Da Nang city’s digital transformation as part of its smart city development plan.

In the near future, the city’s Department of Information and Communication plans to deploy what3words technology for people to use during natural disasters and epidemics. It will also be used in the Smart Monitoring and Operations Center’s digital map to help inform city leaders in emergencies, natural disasters and epidemics outbreaks.

CEO of Phenikaa MaaS, Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2022, Le Yen Thanh says: “With what3words’ technology, ambulance service quality, monitoring, and management will be better, simpler and easier. We wish to provide practical values to our community based on our core technologies.”

Co-Founder and CEO of what3words, Chris Sheldrick, adds: “In emergency situations, it is absolutely critical to be able to describe exactly where help is needed. But often, that’s not as easy as it sounds, particularly in such a dynamic country like Vietnam with so much beautiful, remote, and unaddressed land. what3words is reliable, accurate, and easy-to-use, which is the reason why emergency services all over the world, and members of the public are using it everyday. It comes in handy in so many ways, whether you need to find the start of a path to a remote beach, or navigate to somewhere without an address, but crucially, it could play a part in saving a life. Da Nang City has been actively and effectively adopting digital technology to serve its people and communities. It is the first city in Vietnam where our location technology will be provided and used for emergency services, and we look forward to serving people and communities in other regions following Da Nang.”