Addressing around the world simply isn’t good enough. 75% of countries suffer from poor or non-existent addressing. And for the 25% who do have a reliable address, packages still go astray, couriers get lost and local businesses can’t be found.

Something needs to be done to make addressing better.

A 3 word solution

what3words is a precise yet simple addressing system. It uses a global grid of 3x3m squares, assigning each one a unique 3 word address.

It’s more accurate than a postal address and more memorable than GPS coordinates. It means people can pinpoint a specific location on the planet and communicate it more quickly and easily than any other method. The system is helping to optimise business, drive social and economic development, and ultimately save lives.

Putting patients on the map

Having an address isn’t just a nice-to-have. Without it, individuals can feel like they’re off the grid. Living like they don’t exist. Delivery to their door is virtually impossible. And when individuals are too sick to leave their home, that can become a life threatening issue.

In the townships of South Africa, where virtually none of the homes are properly addressed, this is an everyday problem. Iyeza Express is a bike courier service that operates in the sprawling urban settlement of Khayelitsha. They collect essential medicines from hospitals and clinics and deliver them to the homes of patients too sick to make the journey themselves.

Until recently, the only way to navigate the mazes of roads in the township was to draw maps and annotate landmarks along the way. However, just as a route was drawn up, a street would change, a landmark would disappear and a house would be pulled down and rebuilt. The map became worthless and the courier had to start again from scratch.

Iyeza Express now uses the native what3words app to locate customer addresses and deliver direct to their doorstep. It not only provides an accurate 3x3m point on the map, showing precisely where the customer lives, but can also help the bike couriers find the shortest routes between each drop off point. As a result, it has become an essential tool for delivery success and business efficiency.

When a 3 word address is discovered, the team can also save the location for future deliveries. It means that, even if the roads shift or the landmarks disappear, the couriers will always know where they’re going. And customers can always depend on essential medicine reaching their homes.

what3words and you

Without a precise addressing infrastructure, delivery and logistics becomes both challenging and costly. Every extra minute spent searching for a residential address, a pick up point or a specific location is time and money that will hit your bottom line.

For affected individuals, the lack of a reliable address can stop them from registering to vote, get a passport, open a bank account, or even buy something online.

Our partnership with Iyeza Express is just one of the many ways we’re helping logistics and delivery companies – at a local, national and international level – optimise their operations.