UK company what3words wins “Innovation Grand Prix” at Cannes Lions

Revolutionary service helps overcome key hurdle for global economic development by giving the world’s 4 billion “unaddressed” people an address.

Young British company what3words has won the prestigious “Innovation Grand Prix” at the Cannes Lions awards in France, for its revolutionary service that gives every location in the world an easy-to-remember three-word address. The innovative solution tackles a problem that affects about 75% of the world’s population, who have either no address, or an inadequate one. Without an address, people struggle to secure microfinance, run a business or join the global economy.

Wherever people need to pinpoint and easily communicate a location – whether it is a sprawling slum, an earthquake zone, a water point in a remote rural location, or simply a music festival like Glastonbury – what3words guides users to a three-by-three metre square. The solution is universal, multilingual, easy-to-use, instant, and even works offline.

Cannes Festival of Creativity & Innovation

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is a global event for those working in the creative communications, marketing and innovation fields. The seven-day festival, incorporating the awarding of the Lions awards, is held yearly at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, France. 

Out of 40,000 entries only 20 Grand Prix were awarded.

This year speakers included, marc benioff, sir tim berners-lee, al gore, Jefferson Hack, Kim Kardashian West, Marilyn Manson, Mark Ronson, Lars Ulrich as well as the great and the good from advertising and the world's biggest brands.

“A triumph of simplicity„ Pete Blackshaw, Nestle Global Head of Digital and Social Media

what3words works by applying a global grid of 3mx3m squares to the world – a total of 57 trillion squares. Each square in this global grid has a unique, fixed three-word address. By using words instead of long and complex coordinates, non-technical people can find any location accurately and - most importantly - communicate it more quickly, more easily and with less ambiguity than any other system (e.g. street address, postcode, latitude & longitude or mobile short-links).

“What3Words solves a massive problem for humanity with a beautiful touch of simplicity„ Ben Jones, CTO AKQA
“We are on a mission to give everyone and everywhere a simple address, and in doing so improve the lives of billions of people in the world„ Chris Sheldrick, CEO and co-founder of what3words

The what3words solution can be especially useful for humanitarian work, whether it comes to maintaining thousands of water points across Tanzania or helping after a natural disaster like the earthquake in Nepal; what3words helps to pinpoint any location and communicate it clearly to everybody, however fluid and ad hoc the set-up may be.

It’s not just the humanitarian sector that benefits from what3words. Address systems across developing and industrialising countries are haphazard at best - whether it’s in the slums of Mumbai, the favelas of Rio or the townships of Johannesburg, or even rapidly growing economies in the Middle East.

what3words also has the potential to improve global tourism and travel. At this year’s Glastonbury Music Festival, the organisers are using the what3words solution to co-ordinate logistics and direct festival stewards and emergency teams.

Tourists in remote areas, meanwhile, can now let their friends know where exactly to find the best beach in the world... With what3words, even hidden treasures have an address. 

“Cannes is an amazing platform to get our technology into the most creative minds and powerful brands in the world. Together we can address the world„ Giles Rhys Jones, Marketing Director what3words 
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About what3words

what3words is a global grid of 3m x 3m squares where each square has been pre-allocated a fixed and unique 3 word address.

75% of the world suffers from inconsistent, complicated or inadequate addressing systems.

This means that around 4 billion people are invisible; unable to report crime; unable to get deliveries or receive aid; and unable to exercise many of their rights as citizens because they simply have no way to communicate where they live.

It means that in remote locations water facilities can’t be found, monitored and fixed; and schools, refugee camps and informal settlements remain unaddressed. Even in countries with advanced systems, people get lost, packages aren’t delivered and businesses aren’t found.

Poor addressing is costly & annoying in developed countries, but limits growth and threatens lives in developing ones.

Our API is being integrated into businesses, apps & services. It works across all platforms and devices, in multiple languages, offline and with voice recognition.

what3words means everyone and everywhere now has an address.