Capita plc has integrated location finding app what3words into its ControlWorks solution to enable emergency services – such as police and fire & rescue services - to respond to incidents when callers are unable to describe their exact location.

This completes the integration of what3words into Capita’s control room solutions portfolio enabling all clients globally to access this additional capability. Capita provides ControlWorks to a range of emergency services and critical response clients to help them with all aspects of public safety contact management and incident response.

what3words works by converting GPS coordinates into three-word ‘addresses’. Where an emergency involves a location that is difficult to find, callers can access the what3words app on their mobile phone, and based on their exact location, it will provide a unique combination of three words, such as ‘popped.slurping.trim’, that corresponds exactly to where they are. That address can then be used by the control room operators to identify their precise location and direct responders exactly to where help is needed.

Postcodes, for example, can apply to areas over one square mile and addresses are rarely unique. Rural areas pose a totally unique set of challenges; someone might be in trouble in the countryside with no roads or visible landmarks, meaning providing location information is incredibly difficult.

The integration of ControlWorks and what3words allows call operators to enter the three words given by the caller directly into the incident reporting page and also the mapping feature to pinpoint their exact location. Call operators can also discover a what3words address for any location by selecting a point on the integrated map.

The integration makes it easy for the operator to convert between traditional mapping of latitude and longitude coordinates and the corresponding what3words address. With what3words now live in ControlWorks, operators will be able to dispatch responders exactly where help is needed faster. It means services can respond more quickly, and with the right level of resources, helping to save lives and reduce inefficiency.

It’s also useful for services passing the address between different communications platforms – like radios and mobiles – or between teams and other emergency services. Once a caller has shared their what3word address, control room operators can use it to give location details to respondents.

Paul Eggleton, managing director of Capita’s Secure Solutions and Services, said: “what3words’ integration into ControlWorks represents our continual drive to provide our clients access to the latest innovations that enhance decision making and enable quicker responses to incidents. It is also a clear demonstration of Capita’s commitment to working with the best digital partners to deliver the best software solutions for our clients.”

Chris Sheldrick, Co-founder and CEO, what3words, said: “We know that being able to use what3words to identify locations for emergency situations is proving incredibly effective for most services around the UK. It is therefore fantastic to be working with Capita again, who many of these services use and rely upon already, building in what3words as a native feature within their ControlWorks solution. This means that many more police services can now use what3words as efficiently and effectively as possible in a control room environment.”

The what3words app is free to download for both iOS and Android, or by browser, and works offline – making it ideal for use in areas with an unreliable data connection.

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