App integration means emergency services can identify caller location in three words

Capita integrates What3words app into its emergency services control centre platform to help respondents identify the exact location of people who need help

Capita has integrated an app with its emergency services control room platform to make it easier for responders to identify the location where help is needed.

Rather than requiring an address or GPS coordinates, the What3words app provides three words which correspond with the exact location of an emergency call.

Capita has integrated the app with its ControlWorks platform, which it provides to emergency services, including police and fire services. The business and IT service provider currently has about 50% coverage of UK fire services and seven out of 44 police forces.

What3words splits the entire world into three-metre square sections, with a unique three-word combination identifying each one.

In isolated areas, it is difficult for people to explain their exact location, but the app will give the caller three words that correspond to the spot where they are using GPS.

Postcodes, for example, can apply to large areas and addresses are not usually unique. In the countryside, someone might be in trouble with no roads or visible landmarks.

If the caller doesn’t have the app, they will be sent a link by the control room. When clicked on, it will give the three-word location.

All Capita’s control room technology customers can now use the functionality if they upgrade to the latest version. Each ControlWorks platform is customer deployed, so customers would have to upgrade to the latest version to get the functionality, which is free.

Ian Hilliar, product manager at ControlWorks, said this is a much more user-friendly way of locating places, rather than trying to decipher long coordinates.

“What3words is a standalone app that the police forces and fire services already had, but what the integration means is that operators can use it within our system without having to go to the What3words website. This allows them to identify the location of an incident easily,” he said.

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“The usual example of problems for emergency services is if a person is in trouble in a field, people can tell where they entered the field, but not where they need help.”

Capita said: “Operators will be able to dispatch responders exactly where help is needed faster. This means services can respond more quickly, and with the right level of resources, helping to save lives and reduce inefficiency.”

The What3words app will be essential for some of Capita’s customers in developing countries where sometimes the streets don’t even have names.

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