why the 'what three words' TV ad is so annoying?

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Nigel
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Re: why the 'what three words' TV ad is so annoying?

Postby Nigel » 24 Aug 2020, 9:50am

Quite a lot of the mountain rescue teams (who'd probably be involved in a Loch Ericht rescue) use a system called SARLOC, which has been around for about a decade. It was developed by a mountain rescue team member.

It needs a data signal. A SMS is sent to the phone containing a URL to a website (run by the mountain rescue). On clicking the URL, the GPS coordinates of the phone are passed back to the website. If it works (data signal), the rescue team now have the coordinates of the calling phone. The burden on the caller to get coordinates over to the rescue team is minimal: click a link in a text message.


The "three words" system has been around for quite a long time. I guess someone is trying to get some more money out of the idea.


- Nigel

Elizabeth_S
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Re: why the 'what three words' TV ad is so annoying?

Postby Elizabeth_S » 24 Aug 2020, 10:10am

I find it quite useful, groups that I belong to tell us where the car park for events is using wtw, I've told the council exactly where there was fly tipping. I know rescue services use it also. Not sure how much use it would be if you can't get a phone signal, which is most of Scotland out of towns, the main road corridors, and the central belt including parts of my house (depending on the weather, odd I know but true) and the place I go on holidays to in the lake district.

DaveReading
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Re: why the 'what three words' TV ad is so annoying?

Postby DaveReading » 24 Aug 2020, 10:21am

geomannie wrote:
DaveReading wrote:
geomannie wrote:As an amateur GIS user, I get very irritated that I have to pay a license to get access to the most detailed postcode data.

Geocoded postcodes are free to download, or am I missing something ?


Please tell me where. The best I can (have) find (found) for free are the postcode centroids at https://www.doogal.co.uk/ukpostcodes.php. The postcode polygons are licence only.

Sorry, I was referring to centroids, for which I have found the best free source to be https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/busine ... point-open.

Can't help with polygons, I'm afraid.

Will
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Re: why the 'what three words' TV ad is so annoying?

Postby Will » 24 Aug 2020, 10:26am

Nigel wrote:Quite a lot of the mountain rescue teams (who'd probably be involved in a Loch Ericht rescue) use a system called SARLOC, which has been around for about a decade. It was developed by a mountain rescue team member.


Not much use if you are in the middle of the Norfolk Broads and need emergency assistance.

Nigel wrote:It needs a data signal. A SMS is sent to the phone containing a URL to a website (run by the mountain rescue). On clicking the URL, the GPS coordinates of the phone are passed back to the website. If it works (data signal), the rescue team now have the coordinates of the calling phone. The burden on the caller to get coordinates over to the rescue team is minimal: click a link in a text message.


Sounds similar to What3Words - The emergency services send a text message with a URL that takes you to the W3W website and displays your position using the W3W format.

Nigel wrote:The "three words" system has been around for quite a long time. I guess someone is trying to get some more money out of the idea.


What's wrong with making money out of something you have invested a large amount of time and money developing (and for which you continue to incur development and infrastructure costs for)? W3W will only make money from organizations that see the benefit of using it. Courier companies for instance will be able to get much more accurate location information when delivering to remote addresses, thus saving them money - They would pay for an API key and integrate the W3W locations into their own applications. W3W will only be able to make money if it becomes well known and used by the general public - It will only become popular if it is free.

Will

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Mick F
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Re: why the 'what three words' TV ad is so annoying?

Postby Mick F » 24 Aug 2020, 10:49am

It is free.
Long may it remain so.
Mick F. Cornwall

thirdcrank
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Re: why the 'what three words' TV ad is so annoying?

Postby thirdcrank » 24 Aug 2020, 11:21am

Most of my experience of handling emergency calls dates from the days of landlines and it's amazing how many people using one don't know where they are, especially in an emergency.

The West Yorkshire Police command and control system depended on the OS Grid Reference and it may surprise some that not everybody can quote the Grid Reference of their own house.

I'm of a generation who usually have plans A, B, C and D to avoid the risks of not meeting up. I've put the 3 words thing on my mobile just so it's there.

PS We've had a long-running problem with Royal Mail delivering our post at the wrong house. A normal house on a normal street but they still occasionally manage to deliver properly addressed stuff elsewhere, the reason seeming to be there's a relatively new housing estate where the street names begin with the same letter as ours. eg Yet again, we've not received this week's Radio Times.

roberts8
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Re: why the 'what three words' TV ad is so annoying?

Postby roberts8 » 24 Aug 2020, 11:38am

My son responds to incidents on the railway and they have started to us wow and found it useful.

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simonineaston
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Re: why the 'what three words' TV ad is so annoying?

Postby simonineaston » 24 Aug 2020, 11:52am

and it may surprise some that not everybody can quote the Grid Reference of their own house.
I'm not one of the surprised. I would guess the number that know the OS grid ref. of their house is in single figures, as a percent... in fact, I'd probably plump for a fraction of one, as in one in less than a thousand. I've looked up both in the past, although I can only remember one the 3 words (as I'm fond of sea-food) and haven't a scoopy about the OS grid reference...
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Mick F
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Re: why the 'what three words' TV ad is so annoying?

Postby Mick F » 24 Aug 2020, 11:58am

thirdcrank wrote:Most of my experience of handling emergency calls dates from the days of landlines and it's amazing how many people using one don't know where they are, especially in an emergency.
Mrs Mick F was a GPO Telephonist in the 70s working in Liverpool, Blackpool, and Southport ........ and after we married, at Portsmouth.

Did many stints on 999 boards over the years, and I've just asked her if they knew exactly where the calls were coming from.
They would only perhaps know the exchange, but supervisors and/or people behind the scenes could find out. If not, and they only knew the number, the police would be able to look it up to fid it.

If it was a call box, the number and location should have been written on the poster and on the dial of course. In a panic, they might not see them.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Mick F
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Re: why the 'what three words' TV ad is so annoying?

Postby Mick F » 24 Aug 2020, 12:02pm

simonineaston wrote:....... haven't a scoopy about the OS grid reference...
Dunno ours either, and don't really care.
Obviously I can look at the map.

I reckon ........ and maybe I'm going to be shot for this .............. OS grid references are old fashioned and pointless to Joe Public these days.
Mick F. Cornwall

Richard Fairhurst
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Re: why the 'what three words' TV ad is so annoying?

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 24 Aug 2020, 12:03pm

flat tyre wrote:Someone has had the bright idea of commercialising something that is free I.e. latitude and longitude, so if we all start using w3w instead they will become the next Facebook, Google etc.


I suspect the most likely scenario is that w3w will be bought out by Facebook/Google/Amazon/whoever. If you look at the amount of venture capital invested in w3w, there's basically no feasible exit strategy for the investors other than a trade sale. There is a lot of M&A activity in that space - Facebook have recently bought Mapillary, for example, the crowdsourced Street View alternative.

Will wrote:What's wrong with making money out of something you have invested a large amount of time and money developing (and for which you continue to incur development and infrastructure costs for)?


Just for clarification, "developing" here can only be read in the sense of "business development", because w3w's technology is verging on trivial. It's a wordlist and a fairly simple algorithm (which you can verify by looking at the open-source reimplementations which occasionally pop up before getting squashed by w3w's lawyers). There's been a bit of gruntwork to remove dodgy words and nearby synonyms, though not that much.

But we're talking a couple of days' work for the core algorithm, which was written at the start of the project and hasn't been modified since. I'm not saying this in the sense of "my three-year old could do better than this modern art", I'm saying it in the sense of "this is the actual industry I work in" - as in I do consulting on geocoding and route optimisation for courier companies, inter alia - "and I know about this stuff".

w3w have spent a lot of money but the vast majority of it, by far, has gone on sales and marketing. That's fine, it's a perfectly valid business model, but I wouldn't want anyone to think that they've brought some particularly clever technology to market and deserve recompense for it.
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thirdcrank
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Re: why the 'what three words' TV ad is so annoying?

Postby thirdcrank » 24 Aug 2020, 12:18pm

Mick F wrote: ... Mrs Mick F was a GPO Telephonist in the 70s working in Liverpool, Blackpool, and Southport ........ and after we married, at Portsmouth.

Did many stints on 999 boards over the years, and I've just asked her if they knew exactly where the calls were coming from.
They would only perhaps know the exchange, but supervisors and/or people behind the scenes could find out. If not, and they only knew the number, the police would be able to look it up to fid it.

If it was a call box, the number and location should have been written on the poster and on the dial of course. In a panic, they might not see them.


By coincidence, I've recently been in a discussion on a totally different forum about changes at BT and on there I said that the GPO 999 operators were the crack troops of the GPO. My time at Farce Control coincided with the change to digital and far fewer exchanges. We ended up with a digital exchange in Leeds dealing with calls from a vast area of northern England, while the Leeds 999s were still being handled in a small part of ancient paneled room in the basement. Taking 999 calls can be stressful and one of the biggest stressors is being unable locate the incident being reported. IME, the GPO 999 operators were a big help. No doubt the technology has improved vastly over the years. Mobile phones bring different problems, including reducing the number of plan A, B C and Ds people make.

Navara
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Re: why the 'what three words' TV ad is so annoying?

Postby Navara » 24 Aug 2020, 1:05pm

Labrat wrote:Wht 3 words isa great idea for Outer Mongolia. In the UK it’s simply a profit making scam

How so?
I've had it installed on my phone for well over a year and haven't paid a penny.
They're not very good at scams or profit if it is :lol: :lol:

Richard Fairhurst
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Re: why the 'what three words' TV ad is so annoying?

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 24 Aug 2020, 1:14pm

Because the charge is, or will be, made to companies who want to translate between w3w "addresses" and latitude/longitude in bulk.

To put it another way, it's as if Royal Mail had copyrighted every street address in the country, and all street signs had been removed. You could individually download a Royal Mail app for your phone that took a street address and found it on a map (or vice versa), but if Hermes/DHL/DPD/Amazon/etc. would be charged millions every year for the right to do so.

You're right that they're not very good at profit though. As I said above, I think their endgame is to sell out to Facebook, Amazon or similar.
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xerxes
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Re: why the 'what three words' TV ad is so annoying?

Postby xerxes » 24 Aug 2020, 2:01pm

Navara wrote:
I think W3W is initially aimed at those who rely on nothing but a smartphone and the fact that they know someone will come to get them if it all goes wrong.

Exactly. Simply a deterrent to people actually taking responsibility for getting themselves out of trouble.