If you order Domino’s pizza, your days of relaying special delivery instructions to the driver could soon be over. The pizza chain-turned tech company just announced via a press release it has expanded its partnership with location-technology company what3words to Saudi Arabia.
Domino’s has already been delivering to geographic locations called Hotspots like parks and street corners. The partnership with what3words is a separate initiative (that doesn’t power the Hotspots), and brings a new level of precision to location services and food delivery.
What3words is a global addressing platform that divides the entire world up into a grid of 3m x 3m squares. Its algorithm converts GPS coordinates (the squares) into unique three-word addresses. For example, I typed in an old address of mine and got “fuzzy.data.news.” When I moved the map a few squares over, to be on the street outside, the address became “august.cones.wanted.” According to what3words’ site, every single 3×3 square on earth has a unique three-word name. The algorithm determines the words, so it’s not like a password where companies tell you to choose something you’ll be able to quickly remember. But I doubt I’ll be forgetting “august.cones.wanted” anytime soon.
Saudi Arabia makes sense as a testing ground for this partnership: home and street addresses have historically not been used there. The what3words app instead lets a driver locate the customer’s home by locating the three-word address on a map. This only applies to orders placed over the phone; it’s as-yet not applicable to the Domino’s app.
Domino’s already uses the technology in Sint Maarten, a Caribbean island with notoriously bad traffic and an equally confusing system for house addresses. Previously, Domino’s delivery drivers had to call the customer and ask for turn-by-turn instructions that used mango trees as landmarks.
On the upside, this kind of technology saves both driver and customer time. More time spent looking for an address means fewer deliveries, (h)angrier customers and, for the driver, less money in tips at the end of the day. And for the customer, it broadens the options in terms of where you can get a pizza delivered (park, beach, abandoned warehouse).
Saudi Arabia’s been using what3words for businesses, logistics, and taxis since last year. And what3words is also in London, with courier service Quiqup, and Mercedes-Benz built an in-car navigation system using the technology.
Stateside, Domino’s dropped another announcement on Wednesday: It will track how much pizza you eat and reward you for eating more. And it’s not just Domino’s pizza, it’s all pizza, including those from competitors. Customers download the latest Domino’s app and scan their pizza. Each scan earns 10 points; when a customer reaches 60 points, they get a free medium-sized pizza from Domino’s.
The program, which starts February 2, is an obvious ploy to sell pizzas during the Super Bowl (and collect more data on user preferences and behaviors).
Meanwhile, it seems like only a matter of time before Domino’s brings it what3words partnership to the U.S.